I really do not have a social media profile but since completing my debut 21km race all this has changed. I was one of many who achieved this feat under the tutelage of our famous bus driver Ammie. It was he who cajoled me into documenting my experience of the race as a source of encouragement to the many beginners at Itheko.
I did my first race on 31 Dec 2012, 8km Memorial Run and since then numerous LSD’s and the Bay to Bay 6 weeks ago. I was thus motivated to do the “Peninsula”.
However, my preparation was far from ideal, coming late for the Top Form race as well as missing the cut off for registration. In addition, the heat wave prevailing at the time was my biggest worry. Fortunately Ms Nuraan Orie came to my rescue with a late entry, which in retrospect, was the defining moment in my preparation. I had a number so there was no turning back!
I attended the Friday night social, listening to inspirational words from the “Don” (Farouk Meyer) and Fatima van de Rheede. In addition, the postings of Nezaam Mohammed and Mogammed Abdullatief were very encouraging.
The big day dawned, nervous chatter, last minute application of sun screen and lipstick, and the bus was off! After 3km (28 min) the mercury began soaring and I remember thinking “wat soek ek hier? Still 18km to go!”
Fortunately the many Itheko supporters on the road – too numerous to mention, including those cruising in the sleek white Merc – helped to boost my flagging spirits. But it was the encouragement and repartee amongst the passengers on the bus that sustained us .
As the ” Ammie Shuffle” saw us ascend the incline out of “Kalkies” we were welcomed by a gentle and very refreshing South Easter, this was the signal for the marginally pacier ladies in the group (with Ammie’s permission) to break ranks and go for broke.
Ammie tried to up the pace unobtrusively but soon relented when the “Grand Masters” in the group started to pant heavily.
Disaster struck at Fish Hoek when the watering hole ran out of water as well as cups. I was panic-stricken since I was really feeling the heat. Fortunately Haaniya, an ardent Itheko member, came to the rescue with some fluids further on.
A niggle, in the form of a pebble the size of a pea, made its presence felt in my left shoe as we passed the Simonstown 15km mark. For fear of falling off the Bus there was no way I was going to stop and rid myself of this minor aberration.
Btw I never for once thought that this little Navy suburb stretched 6km.
The Bus was now on auto pilot as we honed in on the finishing line. Not even the hillock before the end could halt our stride. With Ammie marshalling his rookie troops with military precision we entered the arena with hearts beating furiously and chests bursting with pride.
The thunderous applause from the Itheko faithful brought a tear to my eye as I crossed the finishing line… mission accomplished, just turned 66!
By Goosain Abrahams