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Comrades 2011

Mandy Burns

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Mandy Burns, 59851
from zero to hero

My story began last year when my sister in law, Charlene, and I decided to run our first ever marathon.

It seemed like a huge feat, but we started training and pinpointed Cape Town Marathon as the one because of the eight hour cut off time.  During this training we bantered about Comrades, but never really took it seriously. We ran Cape Town Marathon in September in a time of 4hours and 59 minutes. We qualified for Comrades!

There was no turning back now and joined by my hubby John and motivated and supported by my brother Bernie we embarked on the journey of a lifetime, to finish our first ever Comrades. Then on 22 November I broke my ankle, a clean undisplaced fracture thank goodness. My Orthopaedic Surgeon said I could heal and still train for Comrades. Challenge accepted!

My cast came off on 1 January, rehab started straight away and training started in February. I was so far behind John and Charlene on training, but that didn’t stop me, I just did my own thing and didn’t let their athletic prowess or my sore ankle get me down.

So it happened that on 29 May the three novices lined up in H seeding, emotional, scared and very excited. The route was so much tougher than we imagined, but we soldiered on. We lost Charlene pretty early on, she went to the toilet and we walked for 20 minutes waiting for her before deciding that we had to push forward. Later we found out that she was ahead of us, with the crowds we must not have seen each other.

I put my rose at Lindsay Weight’s plaque at the wall of honour, I think she deserved it more than Arthur. John started taking strain at about half way and he told me to carry on. I hated doing that, but it made sense. I saw you motoring past me at one point and meeting up with Heather, that brought a smile to my face. Sorry that even though you were right next to me I never had the strength to say a word of greeting even though I wanted to. John says he had a chat with you at some point and was really motivated by what you told him.

We all finished, unfortunately all separately, but we took your advice to each run our own race. John made the cut off by two and a half minutes, I didn’t think he was going to finish and so the highlight of my race was when I was standing near the finish and to my amazement saw him running in, that really made my day. Bernie was at the end to welcome us all in, a welcome beacon of sanity after all the madness.

Thank you for all your wise words and advise, we took it all to heart and it paid off.  

External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Nikki Campbell 2011