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26 Sep, 2012

I ran Jozi!

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I ran Jozi!

 

The Nike We Run City 10K World Series tour has been held in various cities around the world and this year was a first for South Africa. The series places great emphasis on “Running Free” and “Running where they say you can’t.” Well, we did exactly that!

 

TAKING OVER THE CBD

Standing amongst thousands at the start line on the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge, I realised I was making history. And it wasn’t because I won Comrades or set a new world record time, it was because I was one of 10 000 runners who took to Johannesburg’s CBD to run this inaugural race. As the massive field burst into Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, I knew this was going to be special.

 

Taking a deep breath, off we went into the fiery lights of the CBD to claim the streets as runners. The atmosphere along the route was amazing: Hillbrow’s nightlife and local pub-goers were out on the pavements, cheering and high-fiving runners, while drum players, DJ’s, vuvuzela cheerleaders and locals made music, shouted and sang.

 

I had been struggling with shin splints for a few weeks, which left me a bit nervous about the run, especially as it was my first 10km! But keeping my pace slow and rhythmic at first, the first few kilometres flew by. Then my shins decided to crunch my pace. Around 3km, I met a guy called Charlie, a big man who wore an extra-small neon Nike shirt as a last-minute entry. “You just got to work through the pain. The experience will make this fast and memorable!” With Charlie’s advice, I cruised through the next 7km! I took on Twist Street’s hill and felt my legs getting comfortable, as if I could go on for a few more kilometres before my energy would run out.

 

HEADING FOR THE FINSH LINE

Then I saw the finish line at Mary Fitzgerald Square. Cameras flashed, spectators applauded and I fell in love with the feeling of completing something. I was spent. I was dead. My legs burnt and I was drenched. I knew I’d get up the next day, stiff, sore and happy. Because I have just completed my very first 10km! I crossed the finish just under 1:30 – a time I was proud of for my first race and despite my shin splint injury.

 

With a medal around my neck, I understood the importance of this night. I ran Jozi and it will stick with me for a long time. I celebrated my heritage and freedom, and have a new appreciation for our democracy and unyielding spirit.

 

RESULTS

Men

1. Desmond Mukgobu         30:54

2. Sibusisu Nzima                31:05

3. Lucky Mohale                  31:54

Women

1. Rene Kalmer                    35:43

2. Maxine Heine-Wacker       37:36

3. Nolene Conrad                37:56