Sunday 16th February was one of those mornings, when one confronts that premature reveille that one would rather postpone to a more decent hour, say about 8am opposed to 4am. However, I am compelled to obey the constant nagging and chiming of my alarm clock, after a great deal of snoozing of course. Still half asleep and going through the motions of showering and getting dressed for the race, my mind is a bit of a haze, becoming fully aware of the journey ahead as I hit the road. The Southern Suburbs have become foreign territory for me, inducing the need to sing some giddy travelers’ song of the country genre. Before I can settle for the song of the trip, I find myself in Green point. All I have are 10 minutes to fumble for pins, get my race number on and fasten the timing strip to my shoe, tasks I complete as the announcer bellows, “Two minutes to go!”
With no time to warm up I disembark from my "chariot of fire" and trot to the start, with a few stops along the way to fix this and that upon my disheveled self. I blame it all on dressing in the dark, to avoid awakening Dolly, the canine diva. I am brought back to by the scuffling of bodies and shuffling of feet, marking the commencement of the 2014 edition of the Cape Peninsula Marathon. With no time to think strategy, my feet seek the tar which in some instances seems too far or too near than it is in actuality. As the day wears on, the heat takes its toll and the mind begins to build a house of cards. With every slight distraction, the cards tumble into a pile, summoning every ounce of willpower to resume gathering the courage to continue. Spotting the awe inspiring Don Oliver earlier in the race, was the flash card thrown in the mix, constantly reminding me there is nothing to lose but all to gain. Each step carrying me toward the end, the glorious end. Along the way I spot another inspiring individual, whom I am yet to know by name, hobbling along with such zest, I could not but pick up speed despite the weary and beaten down body.
At the end of it all, I cross the finish and watch fellow comrades stream into the finish area. Some with looks of triumph others carrying disappointment. Keeping emotions in check as I observe each runner make it across the finish line, somersaults of untold magnitude create a carnival of celebration inside of me as I am reminded of the victory that comes with every complete race. A journey which begins with one step but most importantly, ends with one step. A journey whose fruits will remain visible in years to come. A journey many long to travel yet never have the opportunity. Here’s to the Don Olivers and strangers who inspire every single one of these journeys. Here’s to every runner who has ever run, walked or crawled their way to victory...OUR victory!