alsoran runners Camaraderie

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Camaraderie is what you will lose out on if you choose to go it alone with your Comrades Marathon training and preparation.  I have been fortunate enough to belong to a running club (Fish Hoek Athletic Club) that has a definite plan of action when it comes to the Comrades. 

My page on “buying into the programme” covers the need to belong to a group of ‘like minded’ or ‘same focussed’ individuals. 

Our Comrades training programme at Fish Hoek is supplemented by our monthly Comrades meetings.  These meetings are very informal and are attended by returning and aspirant Comrades runners and their support crews/families.  Each meeting has a specific theme to it, always taking into account at what stage of our training we are at.  Guest speakers are brought in from time to time to share their expert knowledge and advice.  As a club we are very fortunate to have the legendary Don Oliver (former Comrades Marathon coach) as a member and he regularly attends these meetings.  For the most, we run the meetings ourselves and they are very interactive.  These meetings play a vital role in building group Camaraderie.  They are also a great source of “buffet table” information as everyone shares their experiences and stories.  As a novice, one often does not even know the questions, let alone the answers.  Attending these meetings gives the novice runner (and returning runners) the answers to these questions.  What is reassuring about the meetings is that we get to see that we are all on the same track, at the same point in our training and that we are not alone in what we are doing.  Unity is strength!  For me personally, these meetings are the highlight of my month’s training.  Needless to say, all ‘meetings’ continue afterwards at the bar where even more stories are shared!

I see our club’s camaraderie as follows.  At the start of our training period it is like we are standing in a large open cirle holding hands.  With each month (and meeting) that goes by, we all take a step inward.  By the time we get to our final meeting (the Grande Finale Ra-Ra evening) we are grouped in a closed cirle/scrum/group hug. 

We have many traditions at the Fish Hoek Athletic Club with regard to our Comrades build up.  There’ s Bell’s Thursday, 4 Hills for Lindsay bell ringing, the golf day, the Grande Finale Ra-Ra evening and the Port run and breakfast presentation.  These are attended by runners as well as their families and/or support crew.  After all this tradition we are ready to head up to Durban to participate in the world’s greatest ultra marathon, the Comrades!  Our final pre-race Ra-Ra is in the form of a breakfast, the morning before the race.  By this time, we SO have each other’s backs!  I think I will cover these club traditions on a separate page.


Key words: camaraderie, Comrades meetings, Comrades marathon training
Internal links: buying into the programme, club traditions, Don Oliver, buffet table
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website, Fish Hoek Athletic Club




Copyright Nikki Campbell 2008
alsoran@webafrica.org.za