My alarm goes off and I stagger out of bed to put my running kit on, have breakfast and prepare myself for the long day ahead.
I’m standing in a crowd 23,000 people strong, along with Craig (my running partner from last year) and his mom Linda listening to Chariots of Fire and feeding off the energy only this many people can give off at the start of a race which is said to ‘define you’.
The cannon goes off and it takes 10 minutes to get over the start line, this could be a problem considering that the race is timed from gun to gun, not on your actual time from your chip.
I join the sub-11 hour bus and hang on, looking for Craig who got lost in the mayhem at the start. I happen to find Julie and we catch up on the last few weeks.
I find Craig and we try to keep up with the sub-11 hour bus and fall off when we stop at my dad for food. We decide to just take the race as it comes, enjoying the experience for what it is and not stressing about coming in at a certain time, other than just to finish within 12 hours – which we would have comfortably.
We go through half-way. We are tired and still seem to be running UP on a DOWN run…
I lose my sense of humour and then get it back once the Myprodol kicks in. Craig and Julie are going strong although also on the grumpy side. The supporters help us along, screaming and shouting for us by name.
We are 18km from the end and the downhills are testing our quads and already dead tired legs. We have picked up one of my team mates along the way who isn’t feeling great. The sub-11 hour bus is nowhere to be seen.
We are 10km from the end and decide that we would like a bronze and not a copper medal so we need to do the last 10km in an hour. All the literature says that you need 80min for the last 10km but we decide to push anyway.
We are running hard into Durban. We see the first sub-11 hour bus and pass it. We are going faster now than in any other time during the race.
We catch and pass the second sub-11 hour bus, the one we were meant to be on. Before they fill the road around a bend, we take them on the outside and zoom past – into the last 2km of the race. I’m feeling like my legs want to pop off, Julie wants to throw-up and Craig is just hell-bent on getting to the end before 11 hours.
We enter the stadium. I get goosebumps from everyone screaming our names. We cross the finish line at 10 hours and 52 minutes, hand-in-hand. We ran the last 10km in 42 minutes – that is after we had run 79km!! And again I am convinced that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to.
I had an amazing time once again, thanks to Craig and Julie for sticking it out with me 🙂 I hope all of you that ran had a great run and enjoyed it for what it is – The Ultimate Human Challenge!! Let me know how you did.