Pirates 10km race review 

I love the Pirates 10km race in Jo’burg. To me it feels like all the Comrades runners come out of resting and the race is always well supported and organised. I’ve run the race twice before and in my mind, I recognized certain sections of the route but had no idea until Sunday morning, just how hilly those first few kilometers were.


Sharon and I started out, hoping to warm up as quickly as we could. Even with gloves, it was freezing, although not as cold as I remember in 2013. The first few km’s “appeared” deceptively flat but in reality, it was quite a gentle pull. By the time we reached 4kms, I was shattered. My race goal was to try maintain an average pace of 7:41 but I was running the first few kilometers in over 8 minutes per km. Eeeek!


I mentioned to Sharon that I really needed to speed up. I wanted to report back to my Coach better times but in those few moments, all energy was being sapped as I started to doubt myself and be really despondent. I started to plan the conversation I would have with him in my head. “Am I wasting my time? Why can I not pick up my pace? WTF Coach?”

Once we got over the 5km mark, things started to look better (aka downhills arrived). We started to pick up speed. I started to feel better. Stronger. And in that last km, I really pushed myself remembering the key words I’ve learnt at track training: slow poison. 6:41 min/km pace. Niiiice!

As I over-analyse review the race, I see that I’ve improved from previous years. 2011: 78 mins; 2013: 80 mins; 2015: 75 mins. I’m thrilled.

Lessons learned:

  • I know that I start slow. I need to be patient because I’m usually faster once I’ve warmed up near the end of the race.
  • Once I allow my thoughts to control me, my race is over. All strategy goes out the window and I use more energy pulling myself out of that negative dip than concentrating on tackling each kilometer as it comes.

There are some great races coming up and so far, my training though winter is going well! See you next year Pirates!

Run like a Pirate

As with most things in life, once you’ve taken a break, getting back into it takes effort, even with running. I had been itching to start my running again (after going into hibernation for a few weeks) and decided to enter the Pirates 10km race. I was surprised KK decided to run the race because his usual mileage on Sunday is between 15 and 20 kms.

We’ve only run Pirates once before after @tanyakovarsky introduced us to the race when she organised a twunners (runners who tweet) tweetup in 2011. Luckily the race day was not as cold as two years ago but I still wasn’t taking any chances and arrived in three layers, including gloves and a buff. (I kinda look like a running pirate, hey?)

Cold runner

It might be a short distance in KK’s eyes but a lot happens over 10kms…

  • I ‘bumped’ into @CraigBeePee, @RichardAsprey, @Samu_M & @TanyaKovarsky at the start and finally meet @JanetBr in real life. (We ran sprinted the first kilometer together. When she told me her normal pace is just over 6min/km, I nearly died. How do you politely tell someone to run away!)
  • There were loads of dogs participating and marshaling the race. I even out ran a Randburg Harriers runner and her staffie.
  • For my running pace sins, I was unable to out run a woman who was telling her running partner about HR stuffing up resulting in her not getting her dream job. She exhausted me.
  • I managed to catch up to 4 year old Max Kovarsky who decided today was the day to run and not be pushed the entire way in a pram. He still managed to beat me.
  • I chatted to a woman who told me she attended her 37 year high school reunion last night which meant she was running with a ‘moerse’ hangover. Niiiice. #overshare

Be it a Knysna marathon, a Pirates 10km or a 3km jog around the block, there’s something about that sweaty face when you get home. That glow. There’s something quite special about that divine hot shower when you’re done. The afternoon nap. That feeling which is indescribable unless you’ve been there.

It’s what @angelo2711 tweeted me on the morning of the race, “A run is a run – enjoy!”