This past Sunday was one of my most challenging runs I have ever had. The experience from the beginning was bit touch and go, but I am thankful for my two friends who stuck by me, they made a terrible event a memorable one.
Registration for this run was done through a third party, and was one of the more expensive ones with hidden charges that you only really become aware of as you proceed. This run had a few different starting points depending on the distance, and offered a bus at a charge back to starting point. They snuck in some administration charges, as well as if you want the event to be timed you had to either buy a champion chip or hire one.
They also offered shirts to the first few thousand runners, doing the 21km, marathon or bicycle race. Having entered and ordered my shirt, I made the mistake not to add the chip for hire to time my run and had to redo the whole thing paying another set of administration fees and having only incorrect entry refunded.
Race pack collection day and I didn’t receive a shirt, I was a little disappointed as I think with having to redo my entry I missed the cap for the shirt. The goodie bag otherwise made up for the disappointment I felt as it had some nice full size products in them. I proceeded to send an email and complain about it and on further investigation found out there a few people upset about it as they also didn’t receive and the staff was less than helpful.
Not wanting to let something small like that change my experience, I continued to get excited about run from Sibiya Casino to Durban. There was always a bit of a hype made of this run and I was really hoping it would live up to its expectations.
Race day we arrived a little early but with the crowd expected it was good. Having the Casino toilet facilities was also very handy as they were clean and plentiful. I would have started the race a lot earlier due the time of the year it is held as it get very hot. I was trying not to think about the distance but just the experience with my friends.
The run started very well but then slowed down to a walk. The temperatures started to climb causing very hot and humid conditions which made it very uncomfortable. With my luck, probably from the sweat, got myself a blister that chafed the back of both my feet making it even more uncomfortable. Lucky for us there was a lot of water stops, but unlucky for the ultra-runners as they apparently didn’t have water for the first 20km of their run.
After stopping a medic to help with the blister situation because the other plasters we got kept slipping, he told us that runners were dropping like flies. This didn’t surprise me cause of the extreme heat conditions, if I had to be honest with myself and had to push I would be one of those who dropped like flies.
After being looked after by very helpful medical staff, we trotted along to the end of the run. I was so grateful for my two friends that did this with me and dragged me to the end, it’s because of them that I have some good to say about this run. After completing 21km I am sad to say we didn’t even get water at the end of the run, but at least got some coke.
All in all, the route is a flat one with not many hills and shade. It was a beautiful route at parts but I am worried about the amount of litter from the water sachets near the ocean. There were a lot of water tables if you were doing the half marathon and 10kms, which means a lot of plastic water sachets and cups that can cause havoc with environment.
My heart really aches of the ultra-runners that had to beg for water, pick up old water sachets and drink what they could find. The stress they put on their bodies due to dehydration is unimaginable. If they were aiming to use this run as a Comrades qualifier and missed it is also very sad. Organisation of this run was terrible and I really hope they get held accountable for that.
For the helpful people along the road and the volunteers at the tables you guys are amazing. Even for the runners along the road that even when they were tired had an encouraging word of motivation to get us moving, that is what makes me love being on the road. Too date we haven’t received our race times and if I really think about it I don’t think we are.