Compared to other running races, the Dischem half marathon unnerves me. It’s a tough course. It starts out with 10kms of undulating road before you get hit with a gradual pull which last from around 11kms to 18kms. The next 3kms to the finish line is a massive downhill drop which can be rough on the knees and quads.
Given what I’ve just described, it remains one of the most popular races on the race calendar and sells out pretty quickly with a field of over 6500 runners.
I knew I had to pace myself carefully. Go out too fast and have nothing left for the uphill pull. Go out too slowly and miss the 3-hour cut off. It’s a daunting task! I decided to use the run to get the time on my legs and not overdue it. I had pushed quite hard the week before at the Wits Kudu’s 15km race.
But as a race review, there’s something to Sunday’s race that goes beyond the fantastic organisation, the ice cold water stops, the brilliant marshalling on the busy streets or even the teams of photographers along the route capturing runner’s faces. It’s the vibe that reminded me of what running is all about.
Dischem Half Marathon tweeted a picture of the last lady finishing the race. Alongside her is a crowd of supporters, cheering her on, running the last km with her. That tweet was followed by so many well wishes and words of encouragement from so many people, including one from Jenna Challenor, who finished the race in 2nd position. It touched my heart! What an awesome message! The winning time was 1:06. The last runner finished in 4:07. Both runners would have felt nerves at the start, both would’ve experienced pain heading up those steep hills and both would’ve been absolutely elated crossing the finish line.
It doesn’t matter how fast you run, or what your finishing time is, the race is still the same. The victory just as sweet!
Well done to all runners!
See you next year Dischem.