By Lindokuhle Mabika
Om Die Dam is arguably one of the best organised races in the country. I fell in love with it when I ran it for the first time last year. I remember saying to myself I’m definitely coming back next year. The energetic Gauteng crowd and their jovial spirit on the road makes races so much fun.
Even though this year, it wasn’t as pleasant as I anticipated because of the heat, but I pushed on. Running with a bunch of friends who run for popular clubs in Gauteng was very hilarious, as people shout your club names when cheering. I was in Stella colours and people in Gauteng are not familiar with Stella, so they will call out the other club names and when they get to me they will say “Go star!” as the Stella kit has a big star in front.
The day went by on the road in the scorching heat, we ran, we walked, we shuffled. As I was getting into the rhythm of it, then came that notorious hill called Saartjie. Let me tell you a bit about this woman. I don’t know why she is called a woman, I personally think he is a man. But I will not dwell on that. Saartjie is unforgiving, she has no mercy, and she comes on the 39th kilometre when you barely have nothing to give. She comes and draws your last strength. Milks you dry. Most people decide to walk Saartjie. This time I came with such effort, I thought to myself, I’m going to run that hill, I don’t care what happens. When I got to Saartjie I came with the same enthusiasm, but after a few hundred metres, she said think again. With little to give, I gave in.
The day went by, the kilometres kept on getting shorter and shorter, energy levels kept on dropping. It felt good reaching the end. I was happy. It felt like I had just conquered the world. That satisfaction of knowing how mentally and physically strong you are. There is no better feeling than hitting that finish line, and going for that well deserved leg rub at the physio tent.