It always amuses me when I chat to (mostly) non-runners and they ask, “Oh, so do you run the Comrades marathon?” (Runners will know what I’m talking about.)
The ironic thing is that as the Comrades marathon draws closer, I might not be running it, but I still get *goosies* and feel the excitement building. It’s one of the highlights of the year for me.
I’m one of those types of people that wake up at 5am on the morning to watch the start of the race on TV. I migrate to the couch later in the day where I veg with strict instruction that no one is allowed to visit. I follow all the runners I know who are running, every step of the way.
I also confess to being one of those types of people that never miss the excruciating cut off guns. I scream and shout urging runners to hurry up and run faster. I’m a bag of nerves watching the hours count down and in that final 10 minutes, when that last bus of hundreds of runners enters that field, led by the legend, Vlam, I’m overwhelmed with emotion.
In my answer about whether or not I run the race, I do tell people that Comrades blood does actually run in my family. My dad ran the race in the 80’s. How fabulous is this old photograph! I’m so proud of my dad! (He’s the one with the black cap.)
My dad was running the race during the 80’s when Bruce Fordyce was the nation’s hero. I often see Bruce at the races now and wonder how such a tiny man could win such an enormous race 9 times!
I guess, in a way, most South Africans grew up with their own Comrades marathon memories – either as a runner, or a supporter or spending the holiday watching the race on TV. Radio DJ, Ironman and my running friend, Brad Brown (@bigbradbrown), is hoping to capture people’s memories of Comrades in a book. Go check it out at: http://www.mycomradesjourney.co.za/. Maybe you have a story you’d like to share!
21 days to go…. just 21 days! *gulp*