On Running and Illness

By: Dr Anver Goga

We runners believe we are an invincible lot, immune from ills due to our fitness levels. Unfortunately we are just as prone to illness as everyone else, at times more so.

I am often asked, Doc, I have the `flu`; can I run? Can I sweat it out?

It is important to distinguish whether you actually have a simple cold or the dreaded influenza, which are quite different and caused by different viruses.

The common cold virus, most commonly caused by a group of viruses called Rhinovirus, affects us 3 – 4 times a year, causing an itchy nose, scratchy throat, itchy eyes and the sniffles. If these symptoms are mild and stay above the neck, don’t cause a fever then it is safe to run. You don’t need an antibiotic. Remember the common cold can become complicated with bacterial infections giving rise to sinusitis, ear infections and migrating down to your chest. Headaches, earaches, cough and yellow nasal discharge suggest this necessitating antibiotics and a longer duration of illness – running not allowed.

A completely different kettle of fish is when you have the actual flu virus, influenza virus. This usually comes around once a year, usually in April / May before the Comrades Marathon. The influenza virus affects the entire body; Fever, malaise, and especially for the runners, muscle soreness. The virus affects all muscles and can also affect the heart muscle leading to heart failure. Symptoms are above and below the neck. It is especially dangerous to run with the flu virus as running can further depress your immunity and raise the core temperature of the body facilitating spread of the virus. Running not advised.

So, how do we get these viruses?

We all know that when a symptomatic person sneezes and you are in close proximity, you are likely to inhale the virus. The virus is also spread by touch. An infected person who may be asymptomatic for up to 24hours after catching the virus spreads the virus by touching door knobs, gym equipment, escalator rails at shopping malls, eating utensils and fridge handles. By touching the infected apparatus ourselves we infect ourselves by touching our nose/ eyes.

How do we avoid getting colds and flu?

By frequent hand washing, especially after touching objects; avoiding people with the flu (easier said than done); by keeping your immunity high; avoiding work and domestic stress (again easier said than done), avoid overtraining, changing into dry clothes as soon as possible after a run and avoiding sudden changes in temperature. High dose Vit C, multivitamin supplements, zinc, ecchinacia; have not been shown to reduce the incidence of getting the flu / colds. Taking the flu vaccine at the end of February prevents getting the flu 70% of the time; Advisable to take it. The  vaccine has dead virus particles in it so you cannot get the flu by taking it.

What to take if you have the flu / cold?

Panado; nasal decongestants, together with lots of fluid and rest. Antibiotics are only needed if you develop bacterial infection. Avoid all anti inflammatory medication like Advil; Celebrex; Coxflam; Arcoxia; Aspirin; Mypaid; Voltaren and Myprodol, These decrease the blood supply to the kidneys and affect your stomach lining giving rise to ulcers. Especially avoid all forms of anti inflammatory medication when running races; disastrous complications can occur; especially renal failure.

Recommended time after having the flu to get back into running – at least 2-4 weeks.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Dear Stella members,

2017 is winding down and what an incredible year it has been for Stella Athletic Club.  The club comradery and unity has been incredible.

Looking back at the year we can be proud to have achieved so much as a club.  Our social functions were a huge success – from our Awards evening, quiz night to our Tropical themed end of year party.  We will not easily forget our very well supported Westville Christmas run this year where we all dressed up in our leprechaun outfits singing at the top of our voices between gulps of “liquid refreshments”.

Our regular Stella Stars newsletters have been a huge hit with many popular articles written by our members.

Let us not forget our running and walking – once again Stella has done us proud.  We were well supported at all of the races and even our gazebo has made a more consistent appearance! The weekly runs organised by the club have been very popular and often attract in excess of 30 runners! The names of all the members that have achieved their goals is too numerous to scribe.  Well done to all of us.

Our successful year could not have been made possible without your support, so to each and every member, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you for your commitment and dedication to Stella Athletic Club.  Thank you, thank you and thank you…

You will be happy to know that your committee is already hard at work planning 2018. Early in the new year you will receive an email, with an easy online link for membership renewal. We look forward to building on our successes of 2017 and see Stella Stars shine in 2018.

Once again, thank you for an incredible year and we wish you all the best for the festive break.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone back on the road in their green and gold in 2018.

Stella Athletic Club Committee

Illovo Christmas Run

By: Gina Hinchliffe

Without a doubt, Stella deserved  recognition for its Spirit on this annual voyage around Westville.

Just look at that team spirit altogether.

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Whilst some were carting the booze trolley, others were panting to keep up. With Alistair at the helm, the day was cut out for us.  It was great team work with all the volunteers who offered to pull and push the booze cart. Compulsory regrouping allowed for some well deserved refreshments replenishment.

Little did we know  of the hidden talent at Stella. Craig George performing a tremendous MC job with his newly found music box. What a find Craig !!!

Then we had the super energised Nana, who not only did a brilliant job  relieving Craig  and encouraging our own green Leprechauns but also offered  sprinting  sessions up the gruelling hills to the other booze busses.

After years and years of not having done this race, it was clear that Stella have still got that Spirit and even more special was to introduce Kayla to the Stella Spirit on this race. Now she knows why we carted her around in her jogger so many years ago. The last time Kayla did this  race was in 2005.

Gina and Kayla

The Cherry on Top- The Ficksburg Cherry Run

By: Michael Mostert

One of my bucket list races was to one day do the Ficksburg Cherry run 23km over a mountain. This day finally dawned a lot sooner than expected. Waking up to minus 1 degrees seriously gave me second thoughts!

I lined up with other athletes at the start to an opening prayer by the local dominee, which was a nice change, or was it a prayer for our sanity? The gun sounded and we were off. With a false sense of delusion we hit 2.5km of tarred road and thought this was not too bad as we had the front walkers in our sights. That was until we veered off onto a rocky dirt road to head up a mountain road with the thin air reminding me this was not a coastal walk in the park. A fellow walker who had done this race 11 times said to me, “Hierdie is niks jong man wag n bietjie” – ‘This is nothing young man, wait a minute’. With some boulder hopping we wound our way up from 1450 meters to 1728 meters to the most amazing views and rock formations.  The lead walker disappeared into the distance as I gasped for air. Unfortunately this was not a recognised walk with no judges or prizes so lots of walkers were seen running to make the tight 3hr 30 minutes cut off.

By the time we got to the summit the temperatures reached 24 degrees. We passed a weather station at the top and made our way down a steep concrete road. With walking style in check, we meandered our way down, avoiding wandering cows and their fresh droppings. We passed hordes of kids with hands held out for high fives to loads of cheering which was a much needed pick me up. By this time with 4 km to go, the sun pelted down as we made our way back into the now tree lined town of Ficksburg to end our mountaineering experience at the primary school. I don’t know what was more welcoming the medal or being offered an ice cream with cherries to cool us down.

Lovely tough race and yes I will do it again, what an experience, even had time to take some pics and some not to be posted selfies …

Walking with purpose,

Michael

Bluff Marathon 2017

By: Mark Rai

Mark Bluff Marathon

No sooner after crossing the finish line of Goss & Balfe South Coast marathon, my running mate Engelbert and I decided to run Bluff Marathon to hopefully better our time. What could be more difficult than the marathon we just ran? We were still marathon fit with Bluffs being two weeks away, there was sufficient time to rest and recover. Having never done this race before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I remembered looking at the route profile the night before and noticed the elevation. I knew it would be a difficult, hilly double-lapper. Sometimes ignorance is bliss!

Representing Stella, there was a few walkers, half-marathon runners and handful of marathon runners. The weather conditions were not ideal with a strong north-easterly wind blowing. We can’t control weather conditions on race day, so it’s best to try and train in all types of conditions. The 3H’s (howling wind, heat and hills) would definitely be a factor in the race. Bertie and I had an agreement at the start of the race that whoever was feeling stronger between the two of us would keep going. The race started at 5:30 at Fynnland sports grounds. Before I knew it we were off, and running straight into a strong headwind along a flat Lighthouse rd for a km or so before turning into Marine Drive to begin an uphill climb of 1½ kms to the military base. ‘We barely started running and the hills are already coming to us,’ I silently moaned. Marine Drive is ±9kms long with undulating hills and stunning sea views. From here on we were fortunate enough to have a tailwind and we settled into our rhythm. The refreshment tables were great with coke, water, oranges, litchi juice sachets, biscuits and sweets on offer. We took in fluids early as it was already getting hot. From 10-12km’s was easy downhill running along Engen Refinery. Running into a strong headwind along a flat Tara Rd for 4kms before passing Bluff Nature Reserve, we were still feeling great.

The 16-20km mark is a tough part of the course with mostly uphill running to the top of Bluff Rd. We ran up all the way to the bluff tower on the right with ease, before breezing through halfway in a time of 1hr52mins. We even joked that we could end up finishing 1st & 2nd for the very first time for Stella! (due to the fact that so few runners from Stella were doing the marathon). We were on track for our goal of a sub 4 finish. Things can change so quickly when you running. Not long after passing halfway and running up to the military base for the second time, I knew that I was in for a tough second half. Running along the slow poison hills of Marine drive at the 25km mark, I started to feel tired and subsequently dropped my pace. I knew I ran the first half slightly faster than I had planned and was paying the price .Bertie looked strong and kept going. I stopped at a water table to re-fuel and took two Rehidrat’s hoping it would give me a much needed boost. The short hills along Marine Drive seem never ending and are energy sapping. Recovery is quick but before you know it there’s another hill waiting. I passed 30km’s in a time of 2hrs46mins. It was a welcome relief running down Marine Drive for a final time and then along Tara rd. I just put my head down and focused on my running strides as the wind was slowing me down. At 32km’s I glanced at my watch, 2hrs59mins of running. I just had over an hour to run 10kms for sub 4 finish, that meant no walking and I still had to run up Bluff Rd! I was still in with a chance, a very tough one albeit!

At 36km mark I caught up to Bertie at Bluff Nature Reserve. I was a little sore and dehydrated with the conditions definitely getting the better of us on the day! 40kms down with a time of 3hrs 54mins, a sub 4 finish seemed so distant. Chasing down a time now was always going to be a difficult task especially when you don’t have much left in the tank. We walked for the most part all the way up to Bluff Rd, trying to encourage each other. When we crested the top of Bluff Rd by Spar, I grabbed a welcoming drink at a table before heading off for the final straight. From here to the finish was easy downhill running. Entering the field, we were cheered on by Sandy and Michael, finishing in a time of 4hrs09mins. I wasn’t too concerned about not achieving my target time, just a sense of relief that we finished. There are no easy marathons. Thanks again to Sandy for saving us at the end by getting us cold coke and a cream soda.  Bluff Marathon was a tough, challenging course but a well organised race. No more running marathons for me this year. I’ll definitely take a much needed break and probably focus on shorter runs.

2017 Twizza Bonkolo Marathon / Half Marathon – Queenstown

By Dave Beattie

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4am, Thursday 2 November. We decided to make an early start to tackle the 650 km journey to Queenstown. My co-pilot John Nicol was in the front passenger seat and my Mom and her Schnauzer, Bella, in the back. In front of us was Kokstad, Matatiele, Mount Fletcher, Maclear, Ugie, Elliot, Cala, Lady Frere and finally Queenstown, the home of the Twizza Bonkolo Marathon. The foothills of the Southern Drakensburg and then aloe country must be some of the most beautiful scenery in our country. A pleasant drive was however punctuated by those dreaded stop / go’s where the road is being resurfaced. With my luck I knew that I would arrive at every one of them at exactly the wrong time and spend ages baking in the oppressive heat. I was not disappointed.

Nine hours later we arrived in Queenstown. Boy was it hot. The ‘Stella on Tour’ boys immediately started the necessary ‘rehydration’ process. We did not want to be ill-prepared on race day. It was evident that the Eastern Cape was also in the middle of a drought. The Bonkolo Dam which serves as the start and finish of both the marathon and half-marathon was only 30% full.

A lot of people may wonder why I would want to go all that way to do a road race. They need not stress as runners do not need a reason to do strange things. On a more serious note I have a family link to Queenstown. My Mom was born there and I have two cousins who live in the town. The race also serves as an annual family reunion as another cousin and family come up from Port Elizabeth for the run. Over the years the number of family and friends participating in the race or seconding has grown substantially. This year we had 24 people involved in the race and there are plans to expand this next year. It’s amazing how too many ‘refreshments’ can lead to commitments by non-runners to run the following year.

The Friday was hot, very hot. The town becomes a hive of activity with runners coming from far and wide to participate in the event. Us Durban runners take races and race organisation for granted. We know that every weekend there will be a race within a 45 minute drive of us.  In the Eastern Cape / Border region people travel 3-4 hours to participate in races. That often means either paying for accommodation or leaving at 1am in the morning to arrive before the start time. I saw people from running clubs in Aliwal North, Craddock, Port Elizabeth, East London and all over the Free State. As is tradition people meet at the Sailing Club at the Bonkolo Dam on the Friday evening to collect their numbers, enjoy a beverage and generally socialise. It is truly a joy to see that road running is alive and well in all corners of our great country.

Race day Saturday dawned warm with the possibility of the mercury rising to 32 degrees. Again us lucky KZN runners forget how fortunate we are to have race fields of 1 500 plus. In the country districts regions a field of 700 is exceptional. They are a happy bunch though with the chatting and laughing so loud that I actually missed the signalling of the start. Never mind, I knew that my pre-run carbo-loading had gone well and that I would storm through the field. Well, it never quite panned out like that. A shoe malfunction and still unknown medical issue impacted on John’s race so we parted at the 8km mark. I ended up running the rest of the race with a newbie from Port Elizabeth who was doing her first 21km race. The roadside festivities and hydration tables were exceptional. Local companies sponsor and manage these tables and they give it their all. I eventually dragged my weary body over the finish line after 2.33 minutes, with John following 13 minutes later. Not to let the family down we ate far too many pancakes and built our usual pile of empty beer cans. This year we chose to miss the prize giving. The MC / race announcer could learn a valuable lesson from Durban’s Mike Bennett. We could just not sit through his repertoire of embarrassing jokes and quips. The alternative was an hour in the hot tub with a cool ‘refreshment’, a short nap before the traditional family fines meeting and then far too much food and drink. Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end.

A tortuous nine hour drive back coping with searing heat and then mist and rain will not take the shine off a fantastic long weekend doing exactly what we love. Plans are already afoot for the 2018 ‘Bong’, with additions to the touring party being sounded out about their availability. I can only imagine the impact that a bigger Stella contingent will have on those poor country bumpkins. As a parting shot though – we must be grateful that we run for such an awesome club, in such an active running province. Do not take things for granted though and try and give something back to running. Too many runners only think about what running can do for them.

Golden Gate Wild Series Trail Run

By: Dumisani Zungu

My name is Dumisani Zungu and I am based in Johannesburg. My first running club was Stella Athletic Club in 2002 while I was still based in Durban. I have fond memories of Stella running community and I always make a point  if I am in Durban to train with Stella runners. I  would like to share my experience of trail running. I took a break from running the Comrades Marathon and I was looking for new challenges. I decided to explore trail running and it has been an amazing experience. In October I took a sho’t left to Golden Gate National Park to participate in a three day trail series. Day 1- 27KM, Day 2 – 29km, Day 3 – 17km. Total kilometers  over three days is 73km. This is a tough challenge, climbs are steep and technical. It tests your mind and patience. Grit, determination and courage is required to complete the race. If you are a fast road runner it humbles you where you end up taking 10 minutes to run 1 kilometre. It was a privilege to run Golden Gate Wild Series and I will recommend to any runner to experience this adventure once in a lifetime.

South Coast Marathon – Lessons from a fellow mortal

By: Tawanda Vakisai

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Build your base

The South Coast Marathon has always had a special place in my heart. This is where I achieved my first sub-2 half marathon and my first sub-4 marathon. I set my sights on running another sub-4 marathon this year. Although I have had good luck on the two occasions I ran the South Coast, I knew this alone was not going to be enough to have a comfortable run or get the result I was after.  One of the tips I was given in my early running days was to ensure my total mileage for the week is at least equivalent to the race distance I will be training for. I was also warned the mileage goals increase as the performance goals increase. We are fortunate at Stella to have organised runs during the week and a longer run on the Saturday. These were enough to get the minimum mileage required. I have recently also started joining Sandy on her hill training sessions on Wednesdays. These have really boosted my fatigue resistance and I encourage everyone to join.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing 

I normally treat myself to a massage after some hard work before the race. Unfortunately for me, I could not get an appointment on the days I wanted to go. When I shared this with my wife, she reminded me I had invested in a foam roller as a more cost-effective alternative to sports massages. I tried to get on to the foam roller but just could not bear the pain when I tried to foam roll my ITB.  After having a few laughs at how much I was struggling, my wife offered to massage me. I have previously shared with her YoutTube videos on massage techniques and “volunteered” to be her model so I knew I was in good hands. A few days of this put me in good stead to achieve my goal.

Tapering

My strategy for the week of the marathon has always been to have one slow run on Tuesday (Wednesday latest) and to maintain a good eating plan. I always struggle with the latter as I am blessed with a very healthy appetite. This saw me having a chip and cheese mutton roti for Friday lunch. I was regretting this decision on Friday evening. Luckily, I had some Rennies at hand to neutralise the situation.

Do not try new things

On Saturday evening, as I prepared for race-day, I was contemplating whether I should use the hydro-pack I had recently purchased for the marathon. Being able to carry my own fuel for the race was such a compelling idea. I had missed my opportunity to try it out during training. It was decided, I would take it with me. What could go wrong? I lay out my kit and everything I needed for the morning, planned my breakfast and was in bed nice and early.

Enjoy it!

We got to the start of the race 1 hour before the scheduled start and after taking a moment to enjoy the beautiful sunrise on the South Coast, we began to get ready. My hydro-pack was suddenly feeling heavier and not as minimalistic as I had imagined. My running mates gave me a look of disapproval as I tried to adjust it to fit more comfortably. I heeded their dirty looks and left it in the car. I was not going to let this get in the way. We made our way to the starting line and met other fellow Stella Runners there. We all shared our goals for the day as we waited for the gun. The sun was already out and we could see it was going to get warm. There was also promise of headwinds so it looked like we had a real challenge ahead of us.

With the bang of the gun, the runners burst into full flight. My immediate mission was to get over the first 10 in under 1 hour. I still remembered how tough the race was at the end so I planned early on not to do too much in the beginning. Holding back was going to be key. I made it comfortably over the 10km mark in just over 55 minutes.  The next mission was to get over the 21km mark at about 1:55. The route was so beautiful at this point it took your mind off the running with the gentle breeze helping to keep us cool. This however took a turn just after the 20km mark as we were now facing the head wind earlier promised. The hill sessions immediately came to mind.  If I had conquered the hills of Howard Road, the wind was going to come out second best. I self-talked myself through the wind and got over 21km one minute faster than planned. At this point, we were now more exposed to the scorching heat. My left calf was starting to feel a bit tight. One of the most useful tips I have adopted is from an article Dr Grant Matkovitch wrote earlier this year. He advised that “if a muscle is causing pain and tightness whilst you are running, consider taking 3 minutes out of your run/race to stretch the muscle on the side of the road”. I decided I would take some time off on the next water stop to stretch and recover.

While I was down stretching the sub-4hr bus passed. I looked at the time and still backed myself to stick to the plan. Once the stretching and re-hydration was done, I was back on the road with a new lease on life. I caught up to the sub-4 bus at the 27km mark. I was feeling very strong at this point and thought I should pass the bus as they would probably slow me down. I looked at the clock and we were still ahead of time. A little voice told me to hold back. I stuck with the bus up until 32km. I knew at this point that there will probably be less running after 35km so decided to leave the bus and increase the pace a little. I got to 35km and I was still feeling strong. I was happy going up the hills and felt all the training had paid off both mentally and physically. The moment I got on to the grass, I knew the mission had been accomplished. I burst towards the finish line, to the cheers of my second family, Stella Athletic Club. Although challenging, this was one of the most enjoyable marathons I have ever run and will definitely go back for more.

 

Lisbon Marathon – Portugal

By: Alan Brunsdon

On Friday, 13 October 2017, our group of six runners set off to run the Lisbon Marathon in Portugal. The Stella contingent of the group was Alan Brunsdon, Roger Scholtz and The Butcher (Peter Limbouris). We flew from Johannesburg via Luanda to Lisbon with Air Angola, a return ticket costing R 3800! To our surprise, we found that the experience with Air Angola was a pleasant and enjoyable one – planes are new with Portuguese pilots, have inflight entertainment, good food and cold beers! The stopover in Luanda for 4 hours was uneventful except for the Butcher explaining to the immigrations officer that Cyprus was part of the EU and he did not need a visa for Portugal!

We arrived in Lisbon at around 7 in the morning to a bustling clean airport and easily cleared immigration etc. We then took the underground which is efficient and serves most of the city ( Lisbon only has a population of 500,000 people! ) to our AirBnB accommodation where we dropped off our luggage. We then proceeded to the race registration centre to collect goodie bags etc  – the race entry was 40 euro. The queues were long but the atmosphere festive. A total of 35,000 athletes participated in a 10 km, 21.1 km and the 42.2 km marathon.

Race day arrived on Sunday together with blistering temperatures of 31 degrees – the weather all week had been max 21 degrees! To get to the start we needed to take free transport on the train to a resort town Cascaisi which was 30 km outside of Lisbon on the Atlantic coast. The train was filled with athletes and our South African running outfits were rather distinctive! On arrival at the seaside resort we lined up with 5,000 athletes to loud music and a carnival type atmosphere. The marathon is part of the Rock ‘n Roll series, so music and bands along the route were the order of the day.

Initially the course did  a loop through the town before heading back to Lisbon alongside the coast. It was flat and similar to running Two Oceans going through Hout Bay etc. The scenery was lovely, the  water tables well-stocked, and there were bands every 2.5 km along the route, encouraging us to press on. The organisation of the race was excellent and running in the South African flag colours certainly helps with crowd support and interaction with other runners. The last 10 km were hard work as it was hot and flat – we all had to dig deep! We finished in the main square in the centre of Lisbon called the Terreiro do Paco. We received a serious size medal and refreshments at the end – we were also finished! My time was slower than hoped but I will take the finish – 5:47 being the 13th South African across the finishing line.

Fortunately our accommodation was within walking distance of the finish and the afternoon was spent relaxing before spending the evening recounting war stories at a nice restaurant on the main square.

Over the next few days, we visited some of the historic sites in Lisbon from the St George’s Castle, Christ the King statue and Jeronimos Monastery. The cost of living is slightly more than in South Africa but it is relatively cheap compared to European prices. We discovered pasteis de Nata – the legendary custard tarts!

We managed to get tickets to a UEFA Champions Cup football game between Benfica and Manchester United at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. It was an amazing experience to be part of a 57,000 spectator crowd.

We returned home after a memorable Lisbon experience.

Bengaluru Half Marathon- India

By: Bukelwa Nzimande

Many of the changes that came with moving to Bangalore left me completely demotivated when it comes to running.  My list of course rests on a decorated bed of a thousand excuses and utter laziness. Two months in and trying to nip these in the bud I decided to sign-up for a big race this side, and to my luck the Shiram Property Bengaluru Marathon, one of the biggest race events in the city, was on the cards.

When I signed up, I had just over a month to train for a half marathon, which was okay because 21km is familiar ground, and the last time I ran a half marathon I did “great”, even with a head cold. So I knew I would smash it. Well let’s say I thought I would smash it.

Leading up to race day, I had only managed to put in about 6 lousy runs, all comfortably under 10km, two of which had left me feeling like death. I had also managed to work up a foot injury 2 weeks leading up to the day, because my ambition was in the clouds and I wanted to fast-track my training. The delusion of thinking I was as fit as I last remember together with the pressure from my electronic handcuff (this is what I call my running watch these days) made me do it. No no no, not stupidity.

On race day, surrounded by thousands of people, for the very first time I stood at the start line of an official race outside my own country, filled with anticipation and a familiar sense I always get at the start of a big running event- unity. I also felt the most relaxed, expecting no more than just living through the full spirit of the race. I knew I was out of shape and was bagging on former glories to gracefully carry me through- No I actually fully knew this at the end of the race and was well humbled.

The gun went off and we set out. The first 5km were bliss and adrenaline. Reckless adrenaline because at 6km I already knew that I was doing a bad job at pacing myself, and was already suffering at the hands of the unforgiving humidity of Bangalore.  In that moment two of my colleagues (Jeremy and barefoot running Kishore) dashed past me looking strong and in seconds disappeared into the horizon. Seeing them go encouraged me to keep going, but I knew I had to slow down and completely forget the numbers on my watch and run at a comfortable pace. I felt like I was fighting two battles: forcing myself to listen to my body and not my tomtom, and fighting the urge of wanting to check my slipping pace.  I resorted to my usual crazy strategies of counting to 20 and backwards to 15, up to 50 and down to 30 and so forth.  Spelling people’s names as they passed…. oh and a lot passed me.

Punctuated by festivities, drumming, cheering and song, I managed to keep this up well past the 16km mark, before…my foot (Yes, the one that I had rested and treated like a queen) was like “sorry Kelwa I think I’ve had enough”. In my mind I was like “no sweet thing please don’t do this to me now, we are doing reasonably okay and we can finish this”. I continued through the growing pain of my retaliating foot and mental torture. In all fairness I didn’t need to put myself through anything.  I could have stopped and jumped into an ambulance…but this didn’t cross my mind at any point.  Does it ever?  I wanted to finish and finish I did…happy and in pain. My pictures tell this story so well.  I couldn’t even fake it for the cam fam.

Annette, my sweet running mate was waiting for me at the finish line. We were stoked as ever to have run and finished a race in India, which for me is also a record breaker sneaking into my record books as my slowest 21km time. But I was okay with that because outside of the injury, I absolutely enjoyed being part of the running family here. The foot did not stop me from joining the Bollywood-style jol that a significant number of people stayed for after indulging in a full hot breakfast.

Additionally, the event was extremely organised, from the registration, expo and race-pack collection to marshals and traffic control. There was also not a single water sachet in sight, none in the storm drainage channels, none in the bushes. Nothing but runners and clean roads behind and before. This meant that every water station functioned like clockwork from, rinsing tumblers, refilling them and lining them up in no time, the entire duration of the race. The volunteers and helpers are always amazing!