By Craig George
There is nothing more irresistible than a challenge, especially when a bunch of runners are involved. And that’s how the official Two Oceans lockdown run was born.
We received the challenge last minute.com via a group Whatsapp from Stella’s crazy Scotsman Alasdair Leslie, just a few days before the annual 2 Oceans ultra-marathon was meant to be run. There was no time to taper or even get our heads around the stupid idea but in the end 20 of us nutters signed up for it, including none other than Gert Henning, Justin Evans and Jadi Clark.
One of Al’s friends opened up a charity fundraiser to raise money for the Goldilocks and the Bear foundation which subsequently raised a generous amount of R20 000 for the mental health of young children.
The challenge was to attempt the official 2020 Two Oceans distance of 58km in our own gardens, complexes or treadmills if need be and see how far we get. Some people had laps as small as 58 meters, some had multiple level lawns to contend with and a few were fortunate enough to live in larger properties and smallholdings with laps of up to two kilometers.
My course comprised of a fairly spacious 380 metre lap winding in and around the gardens and footpaths inside my complex. The deal was that we could start anytime from midnight on Friday the 10th of April to 5am on the Saturday depending on what was convenient for everyone. I chose to start at midnight as not to get in the way of any other residents and to comply with social distancing regulations. Besides the people in my complex already think I’m nuts so keeping a low profile was best.
Al chose to run on his newly purchased gumtree “dreadmill” as he called it as his yard was just not an option. I warned him that it’s not meant for ultra-marathon distances at 4 minutes a kilometer and to rather go easy and give it frequent breaks to allow it to cool off. Well, Al being Al went out at silver pace and at 20 odd kilometers in it literally started smoking and squeaking as its alarm went off. Basically, it was about to explode. He was forced to give it some time out to cool off. The problem was solved by him dropping his pace to around 5 minutes a kilometer which basically killed him.
We all kept in touch on a “sufferfest” group chat and posted selfies and pics of our milage as we went along. At 30km in which was around 3.30am I celebrated my halfway mark by briefly going inside for a cup of tea and a rusk. Luckily the boss was asleep and didn’t catch me melting in the lounge.
The hardest thing about this kind of running is that it is unbelievably monotonous as you run past the same objects literally hundreds of times without another person in sight. Every 5km or so I would change direction to mix it up. The frequent banter on the WhatsApp group definitely helped, knowing we were all suffering together.
As I watched the sun come up I had flashbacks of the pain, suffering, and hallucinations of Skyrun but that was shortlived as I reminded myself that I only had a few kilometers to go and that a full English breakfast would be waiting for me inside.
The wife and kids were there to cheer me on and witness my Garmin hitting the 60k mark. Being a tad “OCD” I convinced myself to round off my 2 Oceans to the even 60ks.
So in a painstakingly slow time in just over 7 hours after starting I was done, and done in more than one way. I was mentally and physically exhausted.
One by one the troops crossed their finishing lines by posting pics of their watches and shattered looking selfies.
So there we go, what have we proved? We have proved that runners are nuts and there is nothing like a challenge. And finally that almost anything can be fun, if you have others nutters to do it with!
What’s next….I wonder??