Sweet Pea’s longing for a Comrades journey
Congratulations on your first year in print. Your magazine is truly a great read. May there be many more years for your great magazine!
I would like to share a photograph with you of one of our Comrades 2010 orphans. My wife Rene and I both took part in the Big C this year. Rene completed her first and this was my second voyage.
We left for Durban on Friday morning and had a hanger-on to one of my tog bags! Her name is Sweet Pea and we adopted her from the SPCA three years ago. She very seldom leaves our side and is forever trying to climb into our bags when we leave the house.
She is one of three daschunds we own. While we were away my mom looked after Sweet Pea, Olivia Rose and Johnny Cash. Sweet Pea stopped eating while we were away and when we returned her appetite went back to normal!
I would especially like to thank every single spectator /supporter this year on the road between Pietermaritzburg and Durban as well as those at home. You guys were awesome. Congratulations to all who completed the run
and for those who did not, don’t give up! – DONOVAN AND
RENE GOULD (AND SWEET PEA), EDGEMEAD RUNNERS
Drop the Two Oceans Half Marathon!
I would like to suggest something controversial: drop the Two Oceans Half Marathon. The full ‘Oceans’ is special. It’s a bigger challenge and achievement than an ordinary marathon and the route has some special sections.
Unfortunately the Two Oceans Half Marathon just doesn’t measure up. Granted it has Southern Cross Drive, but it doesn’t nearly compare with the challenge of climbing Constantia Nek. There really is nothing else about the route that makes it special in its own right. The race has grown in popularity because it’s associated with the main event.
My suggestion is to introduce a Half Oceans. Start at the halfway mark of the main race and do the final 28km. This should hold an extra challenge in that, just like the main race, it’s that little bit further than the usual half marathon. You also get to run up Chapmans Peak and Constantia Nek.
From an administrative point of view, the roads are already closed off for the main race. The start area would only need to accommodate one race. There is the issue of starting in a completely different place to the finish, but that was an issue with the Peninsula Marathon and everyone seemed to handle it.
Realistically the organisers have a very successful, if somewhat crowded, half marathon and I’m sure their view will be ‘don’t fix what is not broken’. Maybe keeping the current half marathon and adding the option of a half Oceans would allow them to gauge interest. – MICHAEL ZABOW
Running with Ghosts
Each year, on Comrades, I run with dead people. As if keeping an annual appointment, they will arrive. In the last few minutes before the start my ghosts are quite clear: “When you get lonely later, we will be right next to you. Don’t worry – you’ll be ok.” I feel my scalp prickle and I bend down to unnecessarily retie my shoes, slightly embarrassed about my tears.
Comrades is not a race. It’s a journey. An average person, with an average amount of training, can finish Comrades. But to merely put one foot in front of the other, oblivious to everything outside and to everything within, is to miss a priceless opportunity to get to know yourself.
The Comrades route is a beast and there are no secrets to this journey. The route will systematically attempt to dismantle you. Despite your best efforts, somewhere between 55 and 65km, you will be stripped down to fundamental components.
For the remainder of the journey, you will attempt to reassemble yourself and I promise you this: you will be a better version. Even if it is for a few days, you will be more at peace, you will be more tolerant, and that random act of kindness will come a little easier.
It’s between 55 and 65km that my scalp prickles and I know they’ve rejoined me. My mother: the ravages of her cancer are not evident; my grandmother: the woman who sacrificed everything to raise me; my father: a man I hardly knew.
We talk about grief, love, kindness and hope. My ghosts know when to arrive and how long to stay and when they see the resolve with which I run past the runner’s rescue van, they drift off again to allow the crowd back in.
I eventually enter the stadium. Left and right I see happy and relieved faces searching for that special person. Eventually I round the last turn to see one final straight. I feel my scalp prickle and
I know my ghosts have come to say goodbye. I look up at the clock and under the digits I read in my mind the immortal words from Ulysses: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” – BRUCE CLARK
I have just received your July issue. What a pleasure to read, you are really producing an amazing magazine. Well done! It also gives us pleasure to see our photographs in your magazine. – Johanna Ginsberg, ACTION PHOTO