Runners are not Elephants
Even though the odd runner may strain the springs on a scale or sound like a charging elephant down a hill, and even though some of the shorts they wear may make them resemble the back end of an elephant, runners are definitely not elephants! Why? Because runners don’t have good memories.
How do you explain that races like Comrades and Two Oceans attract thousands of runners back year after year? Just ask a runner the day after Comrades, “How was it?”, and prepare yourself for a 10-minute war story with a 13-year age restriction for violence and bad language. But if you ask the same question six weeks later, you will get the all ages, animated version, with beautiful scenery and singing birds. No wonder they go back for more!
Let’s be honest, these are tough and physically gruelling events, so what other logical explanation could there be, other than that runners have deficient memories? They may be running fit, but they are surely recall-challenged!
Isn’t it interesting how a race’s reputation as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can depend on its last few kilometres? You can have some of the worst heartbreaking hills in the first half of an event, but if the runners finish on a nice flat section, or even a bit of gloriously gentle downhill, they will finish with a broad grin on their faces, and the race is labelled as a “great” run. The opposite is also true: If you start easy and flat, or even downhill, but then turn and make the runners finish on a hill (and the hills with names are the worst), all the easy stuff in the beginning is forgotten and the race is labeled as “tough.”
I think that the sheer bliss of completing and overcoming these great challenges is so amazing that it simply overshadows these other memories. As a matter of fact, I think it is good for us to keep these difficult and unpleasant times in our minds, as a reminder of the price we paid for our achievement, and thus not belittle it.
So with running, as in life, we need to embrace and accept the good and the bad, the difficult and the easy, knowing that it is all part of the experience we call running. – DARREN DUKES
A few years ago my cousin was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The doctors said that she would only have about six months to live and this was a devastating blow to our family. But throughout her ordeal and treatment, she remained positive and upbeat, and never once asked why it happened to her. She had such amazing strength and faith! To cut a long story short, it is about 10 years later, my cousin is in remission, happily married, and living life to the fullest.
My message to everyone out there is that you can do anything you set your mind to. I have never been fit and I am sick more often than not, but I ran my first 10km race on 31 July and it felt wonderful. I believe I can achieve my goals and I would like to thank my cousin for being my inspiration. – GENEVIEVE DE HAAFF, PINETOWN
The Big Occasion
I was introduced to ‘jogging’ about three years ago. Running was never something I considered, as I was never the athletic type. Today, 15kg lighter, having completed more than 30 half marathons, showcasing about 80 medals and training for my first marathon, I’ve never looked back!
Our club was established shortly after I joined and today we are the fastest-growing running club in the Western Province, with about 500 members. A club that caters for all shapes, sizes and ages, including people like me, who never dreamed that they too would become a part of this great sport called running! Every training run and race is made a Big Occasion. I am truly grateful to everyone who has supported me on this wonderful journey. To anyone who thinks “It’s not for me,” think again, it will change your life! – SHIEHAAM DARRIES, LION OF AFRICA ITHEKO SPORT AC