I remember running the Jackie Gibson Alan Ferguson half marathon a few years ago. A tough race which starts off very hilly but which ends on the most glorious downhill stretch all the way to the finish line. That’s the route I remember. So when KK decided not to run (manflu), brave little me said I’d still like to race and so off we drove to the South on Sunday morning.
The night before, I had tweeted the Johannesburg Harriers Athletic Club and inquired about the new route. The reply from the Club sounded positive, in fact, it’s what convinced me to run:
There were thousands of runners at the start, thousands! The announcer even commented that almost 3 times the number of runners had pitched to run the marathon and almost twice the numbers of runners for the half. Awesome! This was going to be a goodey!
But what awaited me was nothing I could ever have imagined. The new route shuffled us through some fairly flat roads and I was doing fabulously. I had started the run with my running friends, Carmeni & Kerry and our street pole strategy was working nicely. Until around the 12km mark…
From here, the race started to climb. And climb. And climb. I was hot in the sun, the water tables were spread out too thinly and still… we climbed. The old route had us do most of the hard work at the beginning of the race, this had us working to the end. It was relentless and sapped all my energy.
There were times when I wanted to plonk myself down on the pavement and cry. I came close to quitting many times. If it wasn’t for Carmeni and Kerry pulling me along, I would have!
This year, I’ve run quite a few half marathons and feel I am better trained than in previous years. Physically, maybe. But nothing prepared me for today. Toughest race I think I’ve ever run. I still managed to come in under 3 hours, but mentally, Jackie Gibson, you killed me. Never again. (Well, until next year, maybe…)