Sisters triumph together

2018-06-26 06:01
Well known local runner Patricia Dammann (right) who ran the comrades for the tenth time successively and this year was accompanied by her sister Christina Ahlers, who ran for the first time. PHOTO: supplied

Well known local runner Patricia Dammann (right) who ran the comrades for the tenth time successively and this year was accompanied by her sister Christina Ahlers, who ran for the first time. PHOTO: supplied

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GROWING up watching the Comrades Marathon on television for 12 straight hours every year during the Bruce Fordyce era became the biggest motivation for sisters Patricia Dammann and Christina Ahlers to join the annual running event.

This year, the duo triumphed together as Dammann completed her 10th race and Ahlersto competed her first.

In addition, it was the first race that they completed together. Dammann said her entire life she’s been a runner: “I still have very fond memories of cross country events in my junior and high school days. When I went to university, I started running their time trials and experimenting with slightly longer distances. I used to be at my fittest during exam times — going for a run was a good excuse to get away from the books.”

She further said that she always run for fun and really does enjoy it. “Running allows me to see different places, meet new people, and switch off from the daily hustle of life,” she added.

Dammann said she grew up watching the Comrades Marathon and always had dreams of running it one day.

“That was probably my biggest motivation and now I live within 3km of the Comrades route so I actually have no excuse,” she said.

This year was Dammann’s 10th Comrades and she said it felt fantastic. “Hopefully I will get to see the day that my son or daughter run in my permanent number.”

She also mentioned that this run was particularly special as her sister joined her for her very first Comrades. “We ran together from start to finish. She wasn’t feeling well during the first half, but I tried to remain calm as there was little else I could do for her. She really showed a lot of courage and strength to keep moving forward and we had a much more enjoyable second half. This is what Comrades is all about,” said Dammann.

Ahlers said that having seen her sister having run so many times inspired her to join.

“At first I felt rather uneasy as I didn’t know what to expect but after halfway, and the constant encouragement of my sister, I became more confident and kept running steadily until the finish,” explained Ahlers.

Even though Ahlers complained that getting up very early was a challenge, and also the stomach cramps which developed early on and lasted to about halfway, she’s determined to go back next year to make a back-to-back run.

Dammann differs from her sister as she said she’s not going back next year but she might consider running the 100th edition Comrades Marathon which will be in the year 2025.


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