Comrades 2010 was a highlight for many and a disappointment for others. Whether you won a silver medal or finished a second before the 12-hour cut off, one thing bound all of us on the 89.2km long road to Durban… and that was the incredible and unique experience of finishing one of the most gruelling ultra races in the world. Six runners share their race day experiences with Modern Athlete.
GREG BARNES, IRENE ROAD RUNNING CLUB
Race Time: 6:10
I had set myself a goal to finish as close to six hours as possible. The day did not get off to a good start. We left for Pietermaritzburg at 3:20 in the morning, only to find many Durban city streets closed. We eventually followed a bus full of Comrades runners and got on the highway at 4:30.
Luckily we could speed down the highway at a record pace, only to find a wall of cars at the toll gate. We crept in behind a truck and were thankfully through in two minutes. The highway was crawling at 100km/hour, so we decided to take the New England turnoff.
My friend, Neville and I decided to abandon our car with 3km to go, enduring lots of comments from fellow runners about how good we looked. A nice girl offered us a ride which we accepted. We progressed a bit only to come to a complete standstill again.
We jumped out again and sped towards the start. I got into the A block and off we went, adrenaline pumping through my veins! Everything was on track and I made my goal times at each point perfectly, right behind the two leading Russian ladies.
I went through Drummond in 2:59. I overtook the twins and it felt great! With the sound of the helicopter following the leading ladies as my guide, I tried to stay ahead of them. I was doing well up to Cowies Hill and at about 9km to go my wheels started coming off. Dehydration! My eyes became blurry and I could hardly see the road.
I started walking at 45th Cutting.
The spectators tried everything just to get me going again. Someone gave me two water sachets. If it wasn’t for him
I might not have recovered to finish.
From 45th Cutting to the finish line was one blur; it felt as if
I had a curtain over my eyes. I made a decision that the twins would not overtake me and that kept me going right to the end.
The encouragement from the Irene supporters was great and that gave me the extra strength to get to the finish. After two bottles of water my eyesight became normal again and
with a sigh of relief I drank my
Comrades 2011 – Let the games begin!