You may have already read my race report over on iRunFar which goes into how the race played out but I wanted to post some thank yous, some photos and some random race memories here:
The Thank Yous
- Nedbank for including me at part of the Green Dream Team. It was my 4th time racing for them and a great experience as always. Personal thanks to Nick, Adriaan, Patrick and all the race day 'seconds' (crew).
- My wonderful sponsors who support my running all year long, through the tough training and the racing highlights: Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, Clif, Flora, Drymax, CEP Compression Canada, Nuun Hydration and Petzl.
- The Medical Crew: Chris Napier at Restore Physiotherpy, Dr. Jim Bovard, and Bobby Crudo RMT.
- Ian Sharman for his coaching tips over the last few months, I'm pretty stubborn but I'm very glad I listened and trusted Ian!
- My 'people' - my mum, dad, sister, brother-in-law and niece. For their cheering, support and for a relaxing catch up post-race.
- My friends, including Mikey P, Ran, Jackie, Susan, Ryne & Kristin. I might not have seen you all much in the last few months but you were always there when I needed you!
The Random Race Memories
Ok, race reports are nice but there is not always room for the anecdotes that make up the day, so here are a few random memories :)
- Pre-race I wondered where Kerry Koen, a South African runner was at this years Comrades as I'd enjoyed meeting her in previous years. She then appeared at the sidelines mid-race just when I needed a friendly face and some moral support!
- Nothing beats watching the sunrise over African farmland an hour or so into Comrades.
- As I stood right at the front of the runners on the startline, pinching myself to believe I'd actually made it, relatively, uninjured to that spot.
- When I didn't need all the Clif electrolyte drink in my bottles I poured it over my head, I just hoped I wouldn't become a sugar trap for insects!
- Seeing Frank Stebner of Vancouver for a hug at the startline and then he was one of the first people I saw at the finish line. A little bit of home, half a world away.
- When the wheels felt like they were falling off oh so early in the race, wondering if I'd be tough enough to death march 50kms.
- Amy Sproston showing up pre-race with green nails to match the Nedbank kit, we all then copycatted her; ultrarunning is all about looking good afterall!
- My physio appointment with Chris the day I flew out to South Africa, I think the advice for the mental approach was just as important as the actual physio treatment.
- At 30kms 'to go' thinking that it was way too early to be counting the km markers one by one. At 21km, trying to convince myself that I had 'just' a half marathon to go.
- Patrick of Nedbank telling me that I was too far back of 1st and 2nd to catch them, but that 4th was too far back to catch me. Well, I always say a race is not done until the finish line ...
- Going through Pinetown at about 12km to, two female marshals cheered me with an insane amount of enthusiasm and it definitely powered me up that hill.
- Seeing the timing car and the Nurgalieva twins ahead of me for the first time at less than 5km 'to go'. Even then I wasn't really thinking about winning, I was just thinking about running as fast as I could.
- Ian Sharman passing me when I was a walking mess with about 20km to go, and then passing Ian back with about 800m to go - I knew he wouldn't be expecting that :) It was great to have such a friend among a field of 16, 000 runners be next over the finish line behind me (note, Ian was 'jogging' a sub 6h30 time for a training race).
- Seeing two Union Jacks along the course and a huge Maple Leaf at the sidelines in the finishing stadium.
- Spending time in the VIP area at the finish and meeting so many Comrades legends. I was in awe, especially when I then spoke to Bruce Fordyce on Nick's phone. Bruce told me in 2013 that I could win Comrades, I decided he knew what he was talking about and I decided to believe him :)
- Hearing Amy Sproston's story of how her injury flared up at 23km to go so she walked the remaining distance to the finish line and had two beers en route. I am sure Amy is disappointed but she showed true Comrades class and earned her finishers medal.
- Having to walk down stairs backwards to get to the press conference. It' been a long time since I've been in that much pain, and it never felt so good!
- At the press conference reminding Norrie Williamson (Scottish/ South African Coach/ Comrades expert) that he had asked me when I first met him in 2011 how I was going to win Comrades with such a slow marathon PB ;)
|Start line in Pietermaritzburg
|Finish line :)
|With Nick Bester, Caroline Wostmann and Bongmussa Mthembu (mens winner)
|With Camille, Frida, Sophia and Amy
|With Bruce Fordyce, 9 times winner
|With Nick Bester, former winner and Nedbank team manager
|With Jonas Buud, consistent gold medalist and top master (7th overall)