by Lihle Khuzwayo
On the 24th February, about 23 runners boarded the bus to East London, in what was going to be the easiest race to qualify for the BIG C – except for one hill towards the end.
Running kits packed, refreshments on ice and a bus full of smiles and excitement for the day ahead. What followed was the longest bus ride of my entire life. One of the runners even said to me (probably only 4 hours into the journey of 9 hours or so), that he doesn’t know what he was thinking. I can tell you that the same runner after a few drinks shouted my name and said: “It’s so nice to travel guys!”. That’s the power of a good drink and great company.
After a series of leg stretches, we eventually arrived in East London, a slight chill in the air but grateful for a safe trip and being able to put our legs up.
Running mostly downhill in a race is a pleasant and reassuring thought for the purposes of a good race time, but the legs tell a different story at the end. Oh, and I do think that the last hill should never be underestimated. It is quite a tough little climb.
The weather started off perfectly and warmed up quite a bit. I was lucky enough to have missed the warmth as I was running the half marathon. I felt a little sorry for my fellow runners still making their way to the finish in that heat.
To say the runners did well is an understatement. The runners gave ‘Stellar’ performances, taking some brilliant times back home. It was such a good feeling to see all the Stella runners huddled together at the end and congratulating one another and really carrying the spirit of unity as a team.
The race was done, each and every person achieved their goals. We had a great evening, lovely braai, drinks, chats and laughs as everybody shared their experiences of the race.
A huge thank you to Louise and Kevin who worked tirelessly to make sure that everybody was registered and that transport, as well as accommodation, were organised. Your hard work did not go unnoticed. Thank you, Stella, for the generosity and support. We truly belong to a great club.