THE ULTIMATE HUMAN RACE

posted on May 24, 2016in the Blog Category

THE ULTIMATE HUMAN RACE

When a race is described as above and its motto is “It will humble you”, you know you are facing a stern challenge. For the last 7 or 8 years I have wanted to take on the Comrades Marathon having met a 70 year old lady who had run it and told me all about it. My logic being that, if an old lady can do it then so can I! How wrong can you be! So 2015 was going to be the year. Race entered, holiday booked and 6 months of training scheduled. Then disaster struck 6 weeks before race day when an injury forced me to stop training and, deep down, I knew the dream was pretty much over. As I was using the race as a charity fund raiser and there was £7,000 of sponsorship money at stake for The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, a brilliant local charity doing amazing things for disadvantaged and under privileged children, I knew I had to at least give it a shot. I made it to the start line but it didn’t take long before the seriously challenging uphill start took its toll and I had to withdraw as the injury flared up and I limped along in agony. I managed 17 miles and 2500 feet of climbing but the race was run……………………. at least for that year! Now, a year on, a different approach to training, less volume/distance and more cross training, see’s race day looming with no more than a few minor niggles but with the nerves seriously jangling. Comrades is a very special event. Established in 1921 to commemorate the fallen heroes of the first world war it is regarded as one of the toughest road based ultra marathons in the world and is steeped in history. The race runs from Durban to Pietermaritzburg (up year) and then the following year runs in the opposite direction (down year). However, the word “down” could leave the ill-informed to think easy and it’s anything but that. 2016 is a down year which involves 4000 feet of climbing and 6500 feet of descending over 56 miles. Added to which temperatures have exceeded 30c in recent years. There is also a strict 12 hour cut off limit. As the clock ticks along to 12 hours, the front row of the South African rugby team block the finish line and if you are the wrong side of that line you are devastated. No medal, no finishing time and the dream over for another year. So, on the 29th May at 5.30 in the dark of a South African morning I will be on the start line in Pietermaritzburg and I really hope I will be finished and inside the Kingsmead Cricket stadium before 5.30 the same evening. I decided not to use the event as fund raiser this year as I didn’t want that additional pressure but my just giving page is still open if anyone is feeling generous, www.justgiving.co.uk/tonycollier4caft

Written By: MBL

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