2nd of May 2016 was the last race of the running calendar before comrades 2016. When you come to the last you can’t help but think of the first. The first races of the season, the first of many races to bring us to the final race the ultimate race.
I look back at each race and how far I have come. My first 21km, my first 32km and the most gruelling first 42km marathon. At one point I could conceive of the idea of actually running 42km. At our first Comrades talk in the club we were advised to do 2 marathons and 1 ultramarathon, I thought really am I really going to manage running those distances. When you not a runner and you know that you have to work really hard at this discipline to make your goals come true, it’s even harder. But I took up the challenge of making my childhood dream come true. To run the Comrades once in my life.
I can remember each race so clearly. The early mornings. The nervousness of not knowing what to expect on the day, not knowing how your body is going to handle the days challenge. I have been so touched in so many ways by the camaraderie of runners that show the essence of sportsmanship and the spirit of humankind. To see people running with the blind and only the small piece of fabric as contact and the voice as their constant guiding path of routing the race. People who stop no matter what to offer comforting words and help, to massage a cramp to offer anything they can to ease the pain and lend encouragement when its most needed. And when you at the last km and a stranger says we almost there we at the end. Words needed just at the right time when the race seems it’s never coming to an end.
I have had the privilege to run with such amazing and extraordinary people like my coach and the members from Jozi X. As they X marks the spot and the X factor we as the club definitely have that X factor. Remarkable runners that are not only talented in running but so humble to offer advise and support any time on or off the race. This journey so far could not have been possible without my coaches training programme, patience and support and of course belonging to this amazing club.
Running as a sport surfaces the deepest emotions within us. The sheer joy and ecstasy when we performed better than we thought, when we achieved our PB. The elation that we capable of more than we ever thought. Then the flip side to that coin. The sheer anguish and will to cross that line in time. When you mentally willing your body with all your might to run faster to walk faster as the clock is ticking by and, your body cant and fatigue and de-motivation sets in and you dig deep within in places you never explored before and you find that courageous self that says I CAN I WILL I MUST. And your legs find the strength again and they work tirelessly hard to get you to the finish line even if it’s just 30 secs to cut off, like my first marathon.
I know what I have experienced in the last 8 to 9 months I will experience that magnified hundreds of times all on one day when I set to run the ultimate race. Nobody really knows what that day holds, we have heard and read other people’s experiences and start etching out in our mind what we could possibly experience and undoubtedly we know it’s the most challenging, gruelling, exhausting race we would ever do requiring extreme physical, mental and spiritual effort. Do we have it in us? We hope so! On the 29 May 2016 we will find out when we tap into a side of ourselves we have not discovered as yet, when crossing that line emancipates all the impossibilities we thought we ever had.