If there’s one thing runners like to do, it’s talk about running. Our PB’s, our running kits, our races, even our niggles and pains. But there’s one topic we never talk about: Portaloos! The ironic thing is that I’m sure we all have our horror stories to tell…
Here are my top 3 portaloo experiences I’m trying to forget:
1. Two Oceans 2011. We had parked the car and I spotted a lonely portaloo standing near to where we had parked. Bonus! I would not need to queue! There wasn’t much light as it was still chilly and dark and I ran in first. The smell hit me. It was putrid! I could hardly breathe. But in my haste, I was already seated and had to get the ‘job’ done. It was only after we had finished the race and made our way back to the car that I saw that the portaloo that I had used was in fact not one for the race but one used by builders on site. In the daylight, I realised just how filthy it was. It looked as if it had stood there for weeks. *no words*
2. Om-Die-Dam 2011. At the 18km mark of the half marathon, I desperately needed the loo so I hopped in to one of the portaloos at the water point. After finishing up, I could not open the door. It was wedged closed and the lock would not open. I pushed and pulled, starting to get quite frantic. I was eventually able to pull it open, but it cut my finger which started to bleed. Without thinking, I put my finger in my mouth to soothe and suck it only to realise a split second later that my hand was most probably full of disgusting germs and I was doomed to get sick. I remember busting out crying.
3. Remax 2012. Sitting on the loo, I thought I’d send a quick early morning tweet to wish my fellow runners good luck with their races (this is not the time to judge me!). I had forgotten to lock the door and a runner pulled the door open, saw me, but then walked off, not closing the door. Here I sat, fully exposed, on the loo, pants down, with my phone in my hand in full view of the queue of runners. I had to then gracefully, stand up, and lean forward to grab the door to close it. I wanted to die. I think a part of me did…
It’s funny that after chatting to marathon runner @tanyakovarsky, I realised that I’m not alone in hating portaloos. In fact, after running x9 Comrades races and recently becoming a Two Oceans 56km blue number, she still hates them and has even shared some of her tips of avoiding the dreaded portaloos with me which I plan to use on my future runs.
Tip number one: Don’t use the portaloo unless it’s a matter of life or death!