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