Mariam Desai IRONMAN and Two Oceans Ultra Marathon Runner 2017 THE POWER OF TWO

I was told in P.E that most Ironman (IM) finishers suffer from post-depression due to the intense training leading up to the IM event. I decided that I did not want to become another statistic and thus toyed with the idea of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (OMTOM), the Ultra 56km race.

I had never committed myself to a full marathon ever! Could I do it?

The day after the IM event we were having breakfast with our Ameer Saab (Mohammed Motala) and many others. He mentioned that as an IM finisher, I automatically qualified for the Ultra Distance. Having this at the back of my mind, I secretly entered.

My son was persisting that we go down to Durban and I was forced to take a break by the Seaside. Having rested a few days, I started to feel the urge build up and the confidence to participate in the upcoming Ultra Marathon.

I received an email that I qualified and so the first move was to notify my coach that I wanted to run the 56km Marathon. He said “I have no doubt that you could finish this in time although you need to know that your body needs more recovery time or else you may suffer an injury.”

With these words of encouragement, I booked my flights to C.T and secured my accommodation by that afternoon.

I knew my fellow IM Warriors, Moe (Mohammed Bana), Isco (Ismail Ebrahim) and Freddy (Farhad Khan) would take care of me during the run.

Cape Town has always been a place where I have always come to defeat my sporting demons. As a cyclist, I have completed 7 cycle tours and 3 and a half Two Ocean Marathons, therefore, I felt I was at my home away from home.

I was overwhelmed by the support that I received from my fellow Jozi X members. There were members who I had not known before, all congratulating me and wishing me the best. This is what makes Jozi X so special. I believe that the support I received from my fellow Jozi X family got me across to the finish.
From the beginning of the run, I had a Jozi X member run at least 7km with me. We had a great chat about his past IM experiences and my recent race. I left him and still had 49 km to go.

I ran in the company of Moe and Isco and a few others. We were very comfortable running in the H 6:30 bus, savouring the scenery and just running beside thousands of athletes from around the world. I forgot all about the distance.

Moe and Isco ran by my side making sure that I ate punctually and hydrated enough. The support was great and added to a wonderful adventure.

I felt pretty strong after Chappies downhill but the pace setter insisted we abide by her pace or else we would lose our marathon due to having no legs to complete. I stuck closely and we all took a 1 minute stretch break which worked wonders for my body.
I kept within close range with the pace setter just wanting a finish, I realised that we entered into the last 5km. I picked up my pace, feeling cheerful that I was close to the finish.

Stepping over the finish line I realised that I completed the second major event in my life which I’m most proud of. I was always afraid or concerned of incompletion but look at me now, IRONMAN and a Two Oceans Ultra Marathon runner.

Here, today, I stand overwhelmed with delight at all the support I received and my breathtaking experience!

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