is not the bus that takes you from your home town to Durban. Nor
is this the bus that takes you to the start of the race. This is
the so called “runners bus” that some runners opt to “hop” onto on
route to the finish (not to be confused with the bailer’s bus). A
“bus” is a group of runners who run at a specified pace with the
intention of finishing the race in a specified time. This group
of runners are led by a “bus driver”, who in most instances will carry
a flag indicating the intended finish time of the bus. The bus
driver “calls the shots” so to speak, usually verbally, sometimes using
a whistle to keep the attention of his/her passengers.At Comrades
there are a number of “busses” taking runners through the race.
I’m not too sure about a “silver bus” (sub 7.30 hour) but certainly
there are busses for Bill Rowan (sub 9 hour), bronze (sub 10 and sub 11
hour) and Vic Clapham (sub 12 hour).Basically
how these busses work are as follows. The “driver” should be an
experienced runner who has a very good idea of pacing and time
management. The driver will include some planned “recovery” walks
into the pace. The bigger busses are quite festive with the
driver incorporating count downs and motivational cries and
songs. It is not uncommon to hear the chant “another one bites
the dust” as the bus passes one of the kilometre boards (distance
markers). During the planned walks, the bus driver usually has
runners raising their arms and breathing deeply. He will then
count them down to start running again. Personally,
I don’t run in busses. I prefer to be in complete control of my
race. I also believe that I would NOT make a good bus driver.In my opinion, here are some of the pros and cons of joining a bus.The Pros:
worth joining a bus if you don’t really have a game plan. This
way, you have someone else doing all the thinking for you.
- You should have a good chance of achieving a set goal if you can stick with the bus
- Joining a bus on route may help you get back on track.
- You will meet some interesting people along the way!
- You have a good chance of making it onto TV! The SABC tend to focus on the busses as they come into the stadium.
observation - In some instances, busses pick up many of their
“passengers” in the last 5km or so. I have had many a bus come
past me on route with not many runners on board, yet at the finish, the
same bus comes in with hundreds of runners!The choice is yours. Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to believe in yourself!
there are some very experienced bus drivers (Graham and Vlam come to
mind), there are also one or two with limited experience who perhaps
have not yet been challenged with difficult situations during the
race. I suggest you look up the “pedigree” of your bus driver
beforehand. If I’m not mistaken, Runners World “organise” the
pace setters so I’m sure this will be published online and in their
bus drivers “blow”! I have seen a so-called bus driver, sitting
dejected on the side of the road in Pinetown, his race over!
busses go out too fast which can cause some of the passengers to blow
and fall off the bus, so to speak. In this case, an inexperienced
runner may feel that his/her race is over having fallen off the
bus. It is important to continue to back yourself and keep on running!
some busses can go out too slow resulting in the bus driver having to
up the pace which sees many runners fall off the bus in the process.
spectators make comments like “the 12 hour bus has gone past, you had
better catch it or you won’t make it” – well something to that
effect! Please ignore comments like this – often these busses end
up slowing down considerably towards the finish because if not, they
will finish “too early”.
Internal links: Believe in yourself, Comrades
External links: Official Comrades Marathon