Comrades: The 6 Month Long Race. Post #1
The orange glow from the incandescent street lights overhead cast a six man shadow around me. I’m trundling my way past Timber City and the trademark beaver, in his oh so green dungarees, smiles at me with a look that can best be described as eerie. An image of the infamous Stephen King It clown traipsing out of the dark, creeks to mind and I quickly move my thoughts onto something else. No killer clowns for me thank you very much.
The secret to effective training is to hire a killer
clown to follow you…everywhere.
The gentle timbre of Ben Howard is slowly winding its way into my ears as I take a left into a slight downhill and throw a quick glance around to make sure there are no cars about. But hey, why would there be anyway? Most suburbians are home now; after all it is 7:30….at night. “Well, you’re only on 15 kilometres for the training run and still have 6 to go so get moving.” mutters my mind. With a dogged sigh, I resign myself to my fate and soldier on.
Wait a moment, Bryce, are you showing off with your “only” comment thrown in there regarding the 15 kilometres? That’s a respectable distance! “Look at you Mr Bruce Fordyce!” you cry haughtily! Well, I’m glad you asked I reply with a genuine lack of sarcasm and a look that says all will be revealed. Your Fordyce comment is in fact a great segue for me to dive into the very reason for my post! It is about the one, the only, the indomitable Comrades Marathon!
For the next couple of months, I will knock out a few pieces about my training, races, feelings, thoughts and general view of what the Comrades stands for. I am always in awe of what a beguiling experience the lead up and the race itself is and I sincerely hope that you find this too as I do my best to communicate the journey and big day via the medium of blogging. I’ve titled this collection of posts “Comrades: The 6 Month Long Race” as I find it most fitting; although the race itself is run on one day, you cannot overlook the sheer amount of time, determination and unwavering effort that goes into the training, it is really quite phenomenal and to boil the event down to a single race feels as if one is doing it an injustice.
My next piece will be a race report on the Modern Athlete Irene Ultra but for now let me bring you up to speed on the status quo. I’ve now been in Comrades training mode for a touch over 3 months, having kicked things off around the 18th of December. This will be my 3rd (having completed my first and second in 2015 and 2016 respectively) and thus far it’s shaping up to be pretty decent one. My previous two runs were mired by undertraining and a lack of focus but I’ve attacked the 2017 race with a sense of vigour and purpose and thus far it’s paying dividends. Key to mention here is the masterful coaching I’ve had thus far under the brilliant Neville Beeton. Straight up, if you are seriously considering taking on the Ultimate Human Race then look no further that Mr Beeton Esquire. Supportive and professional he’ll teach you a thing or ten and you’ll be a much better runner for it.
Where was I again? Clowns, night, Comrades, um…ah yes, where I am now in my Comrades 2017 undertaking! Yip, the training has been on point thus far and the miles and days are slowly but surely clicking away. Time is starting to gather speed as we head towards the big day and I find myself getting genuinely bananas excited about it. My training is tailored around a solid Bill Rowan (FYI, my first run was a 9:50 and the second a 10:16) and I cannot wait to test my mettle and self against the notorious Big 5 hills, heinous internal arguments regarding my tenuous grip on sanity and general goliath challenge that is the Comrades Marathon. Not only is the race itself one of the most exquisite expressions of human will and determination but it is also a day when our great nation unabashedly shows off and shines. Supporters will have you smiling from kilometre one to the very last step you take as you cross that hallowed red line. Every creed, race, gender, age and any other possible representation of South Africa will be out and everyone, absolutely bloody everyone will be supporting the athletes and revelling in the pure bliss of achievement, comradery and bonhomie that is South Africa, the Comrades and it’s marvellous people. Without any hint of hyperbole, I assure you that that Sunday on the 4th of June is currently without parallel and we should all be damn proud of it.
So yeah, as I go along my route to the big day and experience a multitude of emotions in the forthcoming months I’m going to write a few musings and I invite you to be my training partner as I work towards and run the 2017 Comrades Marathon.