Keeto summed it up nicely when he provided his impression of Comrades 2013: "It was like Saving Private Ryan out there."
The day after the Comrades, I woke at 3am with jagged steel gnawing at my legs with the thought that I was still at the bottom of Inchanga. The strains of Vangelis plagued my dreams. I gingerly swung my legs out of the bed and hobbled to the kitchen for a drink of water. My mouth was still full of Berg Wind and cotton wool. The water evaporated before it reached my throat. Once Comrades gets its teeth into you, it never lets go.
One day before the Race
Saturday was a flurry of work and a blur of thank you wishes and email exchanges. Comrades runs deep in the veins of South Africans, and friends and family entwine their emotions with your endeavours to ensure you have complete and unwavering support in completing the Durban to Pietermaritzburg Up Run.
One of the guys we run with at Bedfordview, Andy who stems from Germany and was famous for wearing his pink Dirty Dancing shorts at the club's Christmas pub run, sent me a text on Saturday afternoon to see if we were enjoying our Zombie movie. I had told him about our tradition of catching up on a Zombie movie series in the lead up to the race and texted "Zombie movies are a lot like Comrades towards the end [smiley face]". As I pressed send I felt bad. Andy was a novice doing his first Comrades so there's no need to feed the snake pit of nerves and anxiety. I worried that Andy had this image in his head while the clock counted down to the twelve-hour cut off. The first I'd see of Andy on race day was him running for the finish line making it with five and a half minutes to spare before the gun went off. He left a plow mark down the field. The picture of the man curled up in a fetal position at the bottom of this post is Andy. He took it to the limit. What a legend.
|Andy in the fetal|
|First Watering Point - Cowies Hill|
Alby at this stage had come back from the dead, and his legs were sputtering along. For a while at least, until the cramps clamped onto his hamstrings. Big old bad boys sunk their teeth in there, and Alby groaned and sucked in air until they released their hold. The picture below is taken with about 5k's to the finish. Note how Alby is still clasping his hammies.
|Richard, Alb and me saying howsit to Sean Falconer, commentator extraordinaire from Modern Athlete|
Richard, pictured above between the Riccardi sandwich, finished the run with 15 minutes to cut-off dressed in a woolly Cow suit with a top hat. Rich and I have agreed that I'll be his biographer the moment he is ready to release his memoirs. He's a great friend and one of the most selfless people you'll ever meet. During his run, Richard found a runner lying on the side of the road - semi unconscious and speaking dribble. Most runners were in Everest survival mode and didn't have the strength to do anything about their fallen comrade. Richard spent the next 18 minutes phoning for help and didn't leave the runner's side until assistance had arrived. All this whilst dressed as a cow.
|Alby's Big Bite|
I'm putting my legs up for a bit and having some mandatory down time. A dose of mojo replenishment is in order.
Back to the drawing board,