Me? Run Comrades? Are you mad? I know I’m not. (Maybe)

In the days leading up to and after Comrades, quite a few people asked me if I was going to ever run the ultimate race. As all runners do, I’d politely reply ‘yeah, I’d love to!’ But if I had more time, I’d give them my real answer because trust me, I’ve thought about it long and hard. 

Here’s how I’ve broken it down: 

  • I’m a slow runner. Fact! My training with Coach Dave has helped me slice quite a bit of time off my running pace but I’m still averaging 7:44 on my runs. This is me, giving it all I’ve got. To run Comrades, I’d need to run a hell of a lot faster so that when I take on my walk breaks, I’d still be able to average just over 8 mins/km. To slice off another minute and a half off my current pace is a massive task! 
  • I’ve never run a marathon before. This would then need to be another goal to achieve. And to qualify for Comrades I need to run it in under 5 hours which means I need to average 7mins/km. I’m nowhere near this kinda pace now. I’m struggling to get down to even 7:30! Another goal. 
  • To accomplish these goals is a massive task which would most probably take a a few years I’m guessing. Do I honestly want to commit that amount of effort and dedication into my running at this stage of my life? 

So yes, it’ll always remain a dream. But for now, it’s baby steps. My running form is wrong, I still slouch too much, my core needs strengthening. This is what I’m focused on for now. Getting the basics right and focussing on smaller achievable goals. 

So the question again, am I ever going to run Comrades? Highly unlikely. But then again, you never know. 

The entire bit above was written with my head. But here’s what my heart wants to scream out: 

   
 

The goal of Comrades

Most runners will be familiar with the question from non-runners people, “Are you running the Comrades Marathon?” It’s as if all runners just do, right? So when KK decided he was going to attempt to run his first Comrades this year, I didn’t think much of it. I mean, he runs twice a week and we usually enter half marathons on weekends. So how bad can it be? But as his training started, I soon realized there was a lot more to Comrades training than what most people think.

Mornings have been characterised by KK sneaking out of the bedroom at 4am to go and run (while I snuggle deeper under the duvet). The training has been relentless. A typical week involves running two hours on Tuesday, two hours on Thursdays, core training with a personal trainer on Mondays and Wednesdays, then 90 minutes on a Saturday followed by a marathon on Sundays. The next week, it starts again but this time with bursts of hill training and speed work.

Comrades training

His commitment to the training has impressed me the most and is where I have learned the biggest lesson. Firstly, he has a printed out & laminated training schedule of what distances to run and when lying next to his bed as well as in his drawer at work (thanks to his running partner DSM). He has followed each week religiously. By keeping the schedule in front of him at all times, his eyes are set clearly on the goal and he is doing what needs to be done to achieve that goal.

Secondly, when KK talks about the Comrades marathon, it’s always positive. His excitement oozes success. He discusses his race plan with confidence. I can see that in his mind, he envisages that finish line. He talks about the medal and going back next year.  The vision of victory is there!

I think in life, most of us want to go out and do great things, conquer those mountains, be awesome. But it takes hard work, commitment and keeping your eye on the goal. Too many people drop off eating plans; quit hobbies, give up on their dreams because it’s just too hard and too much effort required.

But in actual fact, to achieve big goals in life takes big commitment and lots of dedication. More importantly it’s to believe you can do it! To believe you can win! In my eyes, KK’s already there. He’s my champ!