Catching a homeless man is easier said than done

Every runner has their stories: their first race; the day they achieved a PB; injuries, training successes, goals reached, trials, tribulations.

Well there’s one story which is close to my heart…

If you live in the Douglasdale, Bryanston area, you might have seen him. I call him the White Hobo. He’s an incredibly tall, youngish looking man with brown hair. He has a thick bushy beard and is dressed in old, torn brown rags. He is homeless.

He is often seen talking to himself. Once, I noticed him with a spade, cleaning the leaves and sand off the street. He always appears to be on a serious mission.

The thing that stands out the most for me is that he walks fast. Very fast! In fact, when you do see him, it looks as if he is on a mission to get somewhere. He never stops.

So one Sunday, KK and I were running down William Nicol and we happen to bump into him. Let me explain. The White Hobo was walking in front of us, in his usual fast pace. His clothes were so torn, that his bum cheeks were sticking out. As we neared him, the smell was so bad, I could hardly breathe. In my mind, I thought, no problem, we’ll just run passed him.

No such luck! The White Hobo walked at a pace faster than my running and as much as I tried, there was no way I could pass him! The faster I tried to run, the faster he walked. We must’ve done almost 1km behind him, in the smell, with a full view of his bum cheeks. It was torture. I did not want to run on the other side of the road. A part of me did not want him to feel as if he bothered us, even though he did scare me somewhat.

The torture came to an end as he turned down the next road and we carried on straight. Once he was out of sight, both KK and I stopped to breathe and to giggle about it. What a nightmare!

In “Keeping up with the walkers”, no memory reminds me of this more than that day.

I often see my White Hobo walking in my neighbourhood. I always want to stop and say hello but he never makes eye contact and never stops.

Every time I see him, I am reminded of my goals to run faster and in a way, grateful for his help. He reminds me that as a runner, I may not be the fastest, but nothing should get in my way.

I need to just keep going. I need to keep running. I mustn’t stop….

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