This race started at 6:30 only because it is getting colder and darker here in Johannesburg. The morning did not disappoint and it was quite chilly when I arrived at the venue. I was surprised at the huge field and there was a long queue for people that still needed to enter the 32km (20 mile) race. The queue for the 15km race was much shorter.
Time always flies before a race and soon I found myself waiting at the start between all the runners.
Staci from She Runs In Sandals spotted me and came to say hi. She also showed me her flag she was running with for the International Running Flag of Friendship.
Yes, she really runs in sandals!
The start was a few minutes late but we were still chatting when we heard the gun and all the watches beeping around us. Another race on the go…
Lots of runners, don't fall!
I was wondering how I’ll feel after last week’s 60km so I was happy that I felt really good when we started. I knew I would feel all the training at some stage but as long as it is just tired legs, I’m happy.
The race doesn't follow a very scenic route and runs through the suburbs with some light industrial and commercial areas as well. The 15km and 32km runners started together and we ran the same route to the 9km mark where the 15km runners turned away. Comrades is clearly getting closer as most runners continued for the 32km.
The race description warned that the second half was really tough and this was certainly no lie. There were some testing hills and I wondered how long before all the long runs will start taking its toll on my legs.
Some testing hills in the second half...
Sure enough, at about 23km, with 9km to go, my legs started telling me they were not 100% happy with the way I was treating them. I think this had a lot to do with the course as many runners said afterwards they suffered the last 8 to 9km.
My camera also decided to take it easy at this stage and wouldn’t work between 22km and 28km. I think something must have been wet because it worked fine again for the last 4km. I, on the other hand, was not working so fine the last 4km.
About 3km to go. Tired and ready to finish...
The last 2km had some nice shade for the tired runners...
Finally I reached the stadium and I was happy this was not a marathon. I turned in at the stadium and ran through the tunnel onto the track.
Then it was round the field on the track to the finish.
People think it’s very funny that I slow down to take a photo before the finish.
Although tired, I was very positive. Pushing through on tired legs is what ultra running is all about. I was doing fine with that and I had only tired legs, no pains or injuries anywhere. This is good for this stage in my training. Only three hard weeks left and then it’s time to cut back for Comrades.
One of our club committee members took this photo of me finishing...thanks Mark!