That’s the race I dreamt about for the last 5 years.
I was never ready. It was never the right time.
It was so intimidating.
And last year I thought to make myself a birthday gift and I signed up for.
Comrades, 87 hilly km, road race, the oldest road ultra marathon.
The Ultimate human race in South Africa.
Few years back I started to listen to podcast about Ultra Trail and although Comrades Marathon is a road race, it’s been mentioned so often and with such a passion that it became my ultimate goal.
Comrades Marathon is a road race more less 89 km (55 miles) long held annually in KwaZulu -Natal province of South Africa and it was run for the first time in 1921. One year it starts in Durban and finishes in Pietermaritzburg and it’s uphill (like this year), the year after it starts in Pietermaritzburg and ends in Durban (downhill edition). Something that I’d do one day if I was quick enough and injury free. I was constantly injured and slow so Comrades, so challenging and distant (literally) was for me like Boston Marathon for so many other runners.
Did I become faster? A bit but what’s changed was my perception of this goal, not my speed. I just told myself ‘now or never’. So 2019 Comrades Marathon was my ‘now’.
What I expected and what I got in return
The ultimate human race with a rigid cut off time, that’s what I had imagined. From the race reports I knew I could expect a hilly course and hot weather. Even if the race takes place in the middle of the south african winter, it’s still South Africa
At the start line everyone was so chilled I had doubts if it was a competitive race. We were all hugging each other and wishing a great race to one another. We started at 5.30 am, for the first hour we were running in the dark. Still, from the first to the last km I saw (and heard!) people cheering like their lives depended on it. I have never experienced a crowd like that in a race. When you run there are two things that can fail you: your body and your mind. Physically I was ok all the way. Mentally…I was carried by that crowd for the 87 km. I floated on that energy.
I feel like I’m floating now. I feel so full of this experience yet so homeless because I arrived at my summit and what should I do now? So enriched and free but what shouldI do with this freedom? Time will tell, let’s enjoy the ride.