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Comrades 2011

Justin Maree

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Justin Maree, 25269

I was very much intimidated by the this year’s run as my first comrades (UP) run in 2002 did not end well.  That year I started cramping just after halfway and cramped all the way to the end, I missed the 11:00 cut off by 4 minutes and back then there was no extra hour so was completely crushed but said I would one day come back and conquer the ultimate Human Race.

I came back last year and ran the down which was an absolutely amazing experience, I finished the race in 10:49 and had the best run of the year with not one cramp to speak of.

So 2011 arrived and I was all rearing to go and achieve me my goal of running a back to back comrades, I ran PB’s in most of my marathons as well as the Two Oceans so my confidence was very high, maybe a bit too high.

I had three plans that I was going to look at and I would look at these at halfway and then access what
The plan of action was going to be for the second half of the race, it would either be a Bill Rowan, a sub 10 or a sub 11.

The race started well, was feeling really good and as I had taken a two week break because of a calf strain.  I couldn’t wait to get going. I must admit that the experience from 2002 was sitting on my shoulders and every now and again I would re-visit that experience in my head but kept on blocking all the negatives and focused on the positives and then it happened, I was about 30km’s into the race when the energy in my legs just seemed to disappear, I had no idea what was going on as I had never experienced this before and it wasn’t like I was running really fast in the beginning stages of the race but I just ran out of steam!  My mind was racing, 60 odd km’s to go feeling the way I was, was not going to be fun and then my worst fears literately join me, the cramps arrived and flash backs reappeared from 2002. I had to dig really deep and keep on moving and not just sit on the side of  the road and give up which is what I really felt like doing.

I had a quick team talk with myself and decided that the best thing to do was move forward. I had to encourage myself  that this race (the UP) would not get me down again, I had trained too hard and sacrificed too much for “It” to break me, I started to laugh every time a cramp struck instead of cursing. And used your advice, (I usually run with an i-pod and sunnies) but took both these off and “stole” energy from every single person I made eye contact with and soaked up all the positive energy I heard around me.

I managed to get into PMB and I finished the run in 10:30:00, not the most pleasurable day out in the sun but worth every single minute of it when I crossed the finish line. 

I just want to thank you and Don for all the support and knowledge you both have shared with me, it was invaluable.

External links: Official Comrades Marathon website



Copyright Nikki Campbell 2011
alsoran@webafrica.org.za