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Here’s a brief rundown of what happens on the morning of the run.

Wake up!
Firstly, you need to wake up!  To do this, you will have needed to set at least 3 different alarms the night before.  I use my cell phone, my running watch, and then of course, Andy, who has hopefully set his alarms as well.  Our friend Gordy also acts as our alarm clock as he gets up earlier than all of us and purposefully makes a racket in the kitchen by banging pots and pans etc.  Thanks Gordy!

Morning motivation:
For me personally, the very first thing I do on waking on the morning of the race is to say “THIS IS THE DAY”.  Everything I have done for the past 6 months has been in preparation for this day. It doesn’t matter what I have done yesterday or what I can do tomorrow, that doesn’t count.  It is what I have to do today.  There are no second chances!

Get dressed: 
Now you should have set out your running kit the day before.  Before you get dressed, don’t forget to lubricate.  That is, Vaseline and sunscreen.  Apply Vaseline to anywhere you could possibly chafe.  My friend Klem maintains the best part of running is the applying of Vaseline!  Don’t forget to apply sunscreen, you are going to be in the sun all day.  If you have opportunity during the run, reapply the sunscreen.
OK, now get dressed and make sure, once again that all your kit is in order.  Double check that you have your championchip attached!  Look out for small threads that could irritate later in the day.  Once I am dressed I put my goody bag around my waist (you don’t want to forget this at home, trust me, I’ve done that before when running the Rhodes Marathon!)

Eat breakfast:  
It’s going to be a long day!  I usually manage a slice of peanut butter toast and a cup of tea.  I also take a banana with me to the start.

Getting to the start:
No doubt you would have made proper arrangements the day before.  Make sure you leave in good time in case of traffic, a breakdown or any other possible mishap.

At the start:
First thing to do is to find the tog bag truck.  This can be a stressful task if you are running late.  Get a sticker for your tog bag.  Attach the sticker stub to the back of your race number.  You will need this to claim your tog bag at the finish.  The CMA now give runners the option of dropping off tog bags at the EXPO in the day's leading up to the race.  I have used this option and can honestly say it takes all the stress out of finding the togbag truck on race day!

Toilet queue:
If you need to, stand in one of the toilet queues.  If you are not feeling up to queues, you are going to need to wait till the race has started so that you can make a pit stop.  The problem before the start of the race is that you will be nervous which means you may feel you need to wee all the time.  Don’t worry, this is normal.  I find my guts take a turn when “Chariots of fire” starts to play.

Seeding pen:
Make sure you get into your seeding pen in good time.  Meet up with your friends (but don’t count on it!)  Enjoy the vibe and the music.  Once “Chariots of fire” has played, listen out for the traditional cock crowing.  Shortly thereafter, the start gun will go off.  Make sure your running watch is in stopwatch mode and has been zeroed so that you can start it on time.

The start:
Don’t stress if you don’t move for a minute or two.  Don has taken this into account in his pacing charts.  Remember, once the gun goes off, you can do something about the run.  Go out there and enjoy the day!


Key words:  Comrades morning, Comrades marathon, alarms, Vaseline, sunscreen, breakfast, tog bag
Internal links: goody bag, the day before, pit stop, running watch, pacing charts
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website



Copyright Nikki Campbell 2008
alsoran@webafrica.org.za