Novice from India
On Comrades day, at 51 k, for
the first time in my life, I got cramps. It hurt so suddenly
and so much that I thought I would fall down. I knew at that
point that Comrades was gone. I somehow distinctly remembered
my son telling me two days ago in the hotel room "papa you must
finish". I exactly recalled his voice, his face, how he stood
as he spoke those words. I just started to cry at that point
on the road.
11:20, I was at 82.5 and had missed the 83 k cut-off, the van came next
to me and a kind lady asked me to get inside. There was only
one seat left inside as the bus was full of other runners, I sat there
and then immediately we picked up another runner who just slept on the
floor, the van had about 9 of us, it was hot inside and stinking of
puke. The smell was so overbearing that I thought I might
faint or throw-up myself, so I asked her for a plastic bag to prepare
myself, luckily I did not throw-up. She then tore off the
bottom half of my bib where my name was written and then put a cross
with a large black marker, she then asked that I bend forward and she
put another cross on the bib on my back.
The guy sitting next to me said
that he had come all the way from Joburg and could not believe that
this was happening to him. I did not tell him that I came all
the way from India.
sweeper van dropped us off at the back entrance of the
stadium. When I entered from the back entrance, I was
momentarily blinded by the light. The first guy I saw as I
entered the green was lying on the grass and was in pain and
agony. There were medics around him and I thought "he must
have not finished" but then I saw the medal around his neck.
Then suddenly I realised that there were thousands of people all with
medals around their neck. I walked around trying to find the
international tent where my family was waiting. I looked
across the barricades and could see the finishing straight where the
finisher would have run over the timing carpets. That
As I entered the international
tent, an older gentleman came up to me and asked where I got the
alluminum blanket from, he was shivering, he had a medal around his
neck. Until that point I had just been thinking only of my
run and that I had missed, I never somehow fathomed that everybody else
had finished. I regret that I did not have the presence of
mind to give him my blanket.
Aryan, my son, came and hugged me, then Namrata, my daughter, and then
Neepa my wife, they all had tears in their eyes.
The day after the Comrades,
everybody in the hotel lobby was wearing Comrades t shirts and limping
legs were hurting a bit but somehow I felt that I did not earn that
right either to wear the t shirt or limp around. I remember
that book I read as a kid, " The red badge of courage", I think one has
to earn that right to "limp" .
want to tell you that although I did not make it that day, I would not
have wanted to be anywhere other than on that road that particular
day. What a fantastic day!! I think if we could
live life as intensely each and every day as I did on that day, we
would get so much more out of life.
on the way to St Lucia bay in the car, I wrote on the phones notes pad:
"the challenge of the distance is like the challenge of life itself,
the struggle to run longer and further and to perform beyond one's zone
of comfort. And there can be no challenge without the
possibility of failure. It is in that moment of time, when
you are running on the road, tired and hurting, when the dice is not
rigged in your favour, when the outcome is unknown and uncertain that
you are really and truly alive".
think that although I was tired and hurting, I was truly alive and I
was never alone. I have a great family and great running
friends. I will crack this next year.
links: Official Comrades Marathon