Cornelia Smuts - Novice
had decided that 2010 would be the year that I would run
comrades. Just thinking about running Comrades made my inner
voice scream out loud that I was a stupid girl and definitely not a
Comrades athlete. But on the first of October I entered comrades
with a running heart and a sense of disbelief. Now I have only
run one marathon so needless to say I thought I was so out of my
league. Not knowing what to do I started reading about Comrades
and started the Runners World sub 11 program. One day in January
I stumbled upon Nikki Campbell's brilliant website and discovered Don
Oliver’s training program. This was definitely a defining moment
in my journey to finish Comrades.
started with Don’s training program and I mailed Nikki whenever I
needed advice, or I asked Don some important questions. I also
had the priviledge to run two ultra distances with Fish Hoek Club and
what a wonderfull experience it was. During those runs you could
just run as slow or as fast as you like with moral and nutritional
support along the way. I must confess that those training runs
really motivated me to run long distances and enjoy it.
three daughters and training for Comrades was not always easy.
But with a patient husband and wonderfull girls who supported me during
my training I managed to run 1300km from January to the start of
down from Cape Town to Durban leaving my kids alone proved to be very
hard and I was in tears. In Durban I registered with no problems
and started the journey to Pietermaritzburg. Driving in Durban
was no picnic and it was rather stressfull. Saturday I really
started to wonder what the hell I was doing. Suddenly I felt as
if I can’t run and the thought of running 89km was overwhelming I had
serious second thoughts.
of Comrades arrived and with the Grace of God I felt totally relaxed
and calm. I ate breakfast, put my club kit on and applied
sunscreen. My husband took me to the starting point. I said my
goodbyes and went to my starting pen. I had a feeling of relief
that this day had eventually came and I could not wait to start
running. I took in the vibe, sang Shoshalosha, the anthem, heard
the cockerel and then I heard Chariots of Fire. Then I stood
still for a few minutes before we could move. Then all of a
sudden I started to jog/walk due to the large crowd. I
concentrated to take it very slowly and to definitely take the
downhills slow and to walk when needed. Running between all those
athelete and seeing all the spectators along the road was
amazing. All of a sudden the kilometers went by without me really
noticing it. At 30km I started feeling stiff but I concentrated
on my nutrition and walk when needed. I even took some chocolates
along the way and gave some to a small boy. The people
encouraging you and bringing some refreshments were amazing. So
far I did not shed any tears but all of a sudden when I saw those kids
in wheelchairs well, it brought tears to my eyes and I felt humble.
50km I started to feel rather good after tiring after 45km.
Although my legs felt stiff my spirit was strong and I told myself my
journey was nearly over. I saw my husband once along the road and
I was thinking the whole time about my kids and family and friends
following me on this special day.
the last 10km I could not believe that I was going to finish Comrades
and that I was actually feeling fine. The last 2 kilometers were
magical. I was excited and so thankful and absorbed the
atmosphere. In a time of 10h32 I finished my first Comrades and
accepted my bronze medal with pride and disbelief.
I phoned my
husband and met him at the finishing line. Walking to the car I
felt faint and had to sit on the road. I could not believe my
eyes when I saw Don Oliver walking past me and I felt that my journey
to do Comrades was complete.
journey to do Comrades starts when you decide yes I am going to do
Comrades. It takes a lot of commitment and a strong willpower to
do. But please remember that everyone can do it and yes it is a
life changing experience. You will realize that you are so much
stronger than what you thought you are and the feeling of finishing is
worth all the pain and effort. Keep your loved ones close to you
because they will also be part of this journey.
Thank you Nikki thank you Don - you were instrumental in me finishing my first Comrades marathon.
External links: Official Comrades Marathon