If At First You Don’t Succeed
My journey to Comrades started when training for my first ever marathon. I didn’t know much about running and figured that if I just got out the front door and ran enough I’d be ready somehow. I figured once I had ticked that off the list I’d be a candidate for Comrades. That first marathon was an unmitigated disaster. I collapsed at the 33km mark, eventually regained consciousness and staggered to the first marshal I could find and attempted to bail. The marshal didn’t have a phone and after a 70+ woman ran past me I decided to get back in the race and try and finish.
Time To Get A Coach
I cancelled my plans for Comrades and instead found myself a coach. My next marathon was a success and I entered Comrades 2004 uphill. I was still relatively naive and started cramping badly on Botha’s Hill (before halfway). The rest of the race was traumatic and on the bus back down to Durban I told my family “never again!” and that I simply wasn’t cut out for Comrades.
I woke up the next morning and felt differently and resolved to learn more and prepare better. I returned in 2005 for a very successful run and by then Comrades had captured me. Ever since then nothing has come remotely close to exciting me more than the challenge of training for and finishing Comrades.
Coaching Changed Everything
Getting a coach changed everything. That was 13 years ago and since then I have helped pioneer a running club, I have been coaching runners for over 10 years and I moved into the fitness industry and now own my own gym and work in both running and fitness coaching.
Modern technology now makes coaching people anywhere in the world possible. I can deliver training programs on platforms that allow me to monitor my clients progress and make necessary adjustments.
My experience as a fitness coach and counsellor also enables me to coach the complete runner rather than just dispensing training plans.
There are plenty of training plans that you can download and follow but having an experienced coach looking over your shoulder and guiding you enables you to train with confidence and prepare well for Comrades 2018.
Green Number Club
At my fist race in 2004 I stood outside of the Green Number Club watching two older guys in blazers guarding the entrance checking to see if those entering had the rights to enter the holy grail of Comrades. The dream to win that right started as I stood there. Every time I even think about that moment when the dream began the hair on my arms stands on end. In 2018 I am hoping to earn that green number with a 10th successful finish.
Although I have my own hopes and dreams for Comrades I’ve found a greater sense of achievement in recruiting others to run Comrades and helping them prepare, I know what an amazing challenge Comrades is and also how much it will affect people and leave them with unforgettable memories from the whole journey of training to the finish line in either Durban or Pietermartizburg. I hope to still be running Comrades in many years to come but my greatest achievement in the end will be in the many who I helped along the way.