This city must be mad!

2010-01-29 00:00

I LIKE to think of myself as a New Age darkie. You know, I dabble in a bit of golf and in my previous shape I turned the arm over on the cricket field.

I have even been known to tackle the odd California roll, so clearly I am open to new possibilities.

Indeed, I would say I am a bungee-jump short of being labelled as recklessly gung-ho.

Well, that was until the Dusi Canoe Marathon last week.

While perched blissfully on the media convoy bus, I realised that there is something missing from my CV.

Our fine little city seems to be the hotbed of endurance sports, and I am completely stumped as to why this is so.

From the Dusi, through to the Midmar Mile and the Comrades, plus all sorts of other extreme sports such as the Drak Challenge and endless triathlons, we just seem to be a big old flame to these tireless marathon moths.

Are we trying to prove a point to those down the N3?

Or is it that we are simply suckers for punishment?

Perhaps we get bored easily, but I find that hard to believe because all you have to do is hog the fast lane for a minute and you will have enough blue lights flashing around you to make you think you are at Crowded House.

Whatever it is, I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of inadequacy.

Surely I cannot call myself a true Maritzburger if I have never tackled one of our epics?

After all, it seemed like half the city was mucking about in the water last week and most seemed to be rather enjoying the whole thing. So, in a moment of mindless mumbling, I casually suggested that I would endeavour to earn my true Maritzburger-ness (or is that Maritzburger-ticity?) by competing — completing would be a little too optimistic at this stage — in one of the big three.

I thought my days of excess exercise were over, what with having chiselled a “career” out of sitting back and watching others toil and then having the cheek to critique their performances.

Goodness knows what I was thinking, but the deed was done and I am a man of my word.

They tell me that it is all in the mind and after surviving Second Form at Maritzburg College and then plotting my way through honours, I think I have plenty of endurance to speak of.

So all that was left was deciding on which one of the forms of torture I would subject myself to.

Well, we can quite candidly scratch the Mile off the list. Don’t get me wrong, I have all the respect in the world for those who dare cross that stretch of water so briskly.

I, however, am a darkie. New Age, yes, but a darkie nonetheless.

I am still scarred by memories of a primary school gala gone wrong, so attempting to knock off over one-and-a-half kilometres in one gulp would be akin to Bafana Bafana beating Brazil in the World Cup final.

It just ain’t gonna happen.

Besides, we darkies have only recently got used to showers and, if our leader is to be believed, most of us still utilise them only for medicinal purposes.

With all that water out of the way, I considered the Comrades.

The Capital Climb doesn’t count, because I recall running that far while being chased by an overly-zealous German Shepherd.

It’s on land, so the only thing that could go wrong is probably a loss of oxygen and a spectacular collapse somewhere near Hillcrest.

I could live with that.

But, I have neither the torso nor the time to tackle all that training.

And if I really wanted to sweat on a trip between the burg and the beach, I could simply take a Roadlink bus. Sources tell me that it is a trip of a lifetime.

But I digress.

The only option left is the Dusi itself.

Sadly, I can’t even pull out the race card here, because half the men’s podium was populated by darkies.

Clearly, the phuthu in the valley is of much sterner stuff than our fancy fluff up here.

But there are some advantages to doing the Dusi. For one, you will only go swimming if you hit a rock or you and your partner do not paddle as one.

I suppose a way around this is to get into a boat with someone who is a good mate, as Dusi champion Jason Graham suggested.

But I foresee drama, because three days of putting up with one of my buddies is nigh impossible.

We argue about everything and nothing —  and all that is in-between.

We probably wouldn’t make it out of Maritzburg before someone had a paddle stuck up his left ear.

So this is my advert for any potential partners.

If you are willing to put up with whining, gasping, tumbling, screaming and the odd bit of paddling all the way to Blue Lagoon, then I am your man.

If you are not tempted to jump into a crocodile’s gut after two days, then you probably deserve a Noble Peace Prize.

But I am willing to learn — or at least listen  — to everything that you teach me.

I am desperate to join the Maritzburg society of madmen.

They are all over the place, with their bumper stickers of authenticity, and having lived here all my life, I want in.

It is long overdue, but we darkies are always fashionably late with such things.

Maybe then I will finally understand what possesses sane humans to forgo a few relaxing rounds of golf for the very real possibility of injury, illness or perhaps a nibble from one of the Umgeni’s resident crocs.

These whities, hey ...


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