Don’t drive. Run
It's going to be an expensive week. With petrol prices rising into the sky higher than the Burj Khalifa, morale amongst motorists and eaters of food around South Africa is sure to plummet. That means drowning your sorrows and, with some bars charging up to R25 for a beer, that means empty pockets all round by Friday (naturally, because you’re a good citizen, you’ll call a cab to take you home, further eroding your measly middle-ish of the month bank balance).
In this week of despair, though, we should follow in the words of White Goodman and tell petrol to “Cram it up your cramhole, Petrol”. We need a pick-me-up, and what better positive energy to endorse than the natural high of running or, in my case, walking slowly really fast.
As it happens, this national week of "Here Shell, Have My Entire Salary" coincides with the running of the Two Oceans Half and Ultra Marathon (for fans of religion there's also Easter to look forward to, but judging from last week's – remember last week? It's like soooo last year on social networks - hot cross bun debacle, Easter could also drive you to drink).
Two Oceans time, though, is a weekend of happiness, and if you're coming to Cape Town to do the Two Oceans Trail, Half or Ultra you should feel the rush of enough endorphins - things in your brain that make you feel stoked when you exercise, have sex (orgasm, to be more specific) or eat spicy food (my love for samoosas explained!) - to take your mind off the general decay of your real life for at least eight days (not scientifically guaranteed, mind). Running. It's the only way forward.
See your country
I don't want to sound like some born-again plodder, but I am (minus donations). It's a great sport, the people's sport. Anyone can do it. And it takes you places you'll never go (and usually can't go in an ice-cap melting, polar bear-murdering car).
For instance, up until I started running, I knew nothing about the unspoiled trails and paths on Table Mountain (Table Mountain Challenge), I'd never been to Knysna (Knysna Half Marathon) and was completely unaware that the loud banging noise you hear in Cape Town every day belongs to a cannon (The Gun Run). I thought Darling (Darling 21km) was just another Pieter-Dirk Uys character and steadfastly believed that anyone who lined up to start a half marathon, let alone a full or an ultra, should be escorted to the nearest padded room.
Running is almost as much fun as drinking (certainly more enlightening) ice-cold beer. For example, just last Friday I veered right instead of left on my usual Urban Gentrification 10km (my self-titled loop through my 'burb, sponsorship pending). I ran through a taxi rank, under a train station, past a KFC, through rush-hour traffic and zig-zagged in and out of people making their way home.
It all sounds very similar. But it's not. These are the places, roads that I usually have no reason to drive along filled with people I would never connect with, where running takes you.
See something different
Running can take you over mountains with rock-hopping ascents followed by clenched-teeth, squeaky-bum descents. Or it can take you through townships, like the Gugs 10km, where the smell of a Smiley being braaied at 6am will stay with you forever. I go back to Grahamstown, and I run hitherto unknown trails just one kilometre from the only well-worn paths I followed while studying at Rhodes.
So, when I'm lining up for my first ultra marathon this Saturday, I won't be thinking about torching my car and telling the bank to smoke it's repayments, I'll be thinking of where I've been on my own two feet, and where I'm still going to go...
(Yes, yes, I need my car to get to all these places. But that's not the point. Running makes you happy. And fitter. Which makes you live longer. Which means you have to pay more. And incur more debt. Any pay higher petrol prices. Now running makes me sad. But running is fun. That's the point).
*David is running his first Two Oceans Ultra on Saturday, for no charity and no special cause. He just wants to finish before the sun sets. And then we'll talk sponsorship...
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