My preparation for the Lion of Africa 10km race started in Griekquatown, a small town in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Cape, when I realised that I was not going to make the cut-off date to enter the race.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to read Ridwaan’s notice that the entry date has been extended to 16h00 on Friday 31st January.
After a long, tiring and boring 14hr bus drive I eventually arrived in Cape Town on Friday morning. Thinking that I had sufficient time, I delayed my application to Friday afternoon. Luckily I went to Sportsman’s Warehouse just after 15h00 only to learn that the personnel from Top Events were not there.
After a frantic call to Ammie, he informed us that we could still register at the Top Events office in Maitland if we could get there before 16h00. Together with other Itheko members we drove like a taxi driver to Maitland and arrived just in time to register and obtain the last number available (unfortunately there were no further numbers available for some of our Itheko members).
Breathing a sigh of relief I happily informed Ammie of our registration.
On Friday night I had to accompany my granddaughter to a camp out at her school. Not having had a proper sleep on Thursday and the prospect of little or no sleep on Friday was beginning to take on onerous consequences.
Luckily, sanity prevailed and I abandoned the camp after Hani fell asleep and I was able to spend the rest of the night in my own bed. Early Saturday morning I was collected by Ragiema, who managed to drive to my house in her sleep. Even though we left early we were caught up in a traffic jam.
We arrived just in time before the 06h00 start all bothered and flustered. However, we soon calmed down when we re-grouped around Ammie and were warmly greeted by our clubmates and other clubs’ runners.
Suddenly the race started and our “bus” (or is that “ship”) started in front instead of our usual place at the back. With runners flying past us the bus set off at a steady pace.
However I soon realised that Sainie was making the “Pap Dik” as we started to motor after the first 100m. After about 5 minutes we were joined by one of our club’s founders, Ebrahim Mohedeen. It was such a pleasure to see the joy displayed by Ammie when Ebrahim joined our group.
About 10 min into the race we were overtaken by the walkers who were streaming past us (obviously showing off). Being the disciplined group that we are, we adhered to our running etiquette and allowed these athletes to pass (some of them looked older and more “veniel” than me and that’s saying something).
After the first kilometre the sun was starting to beat down on us and we were soon looking out for the first water point. This only materialised after 3km. Ebrahim then showed us how to cool down the “hot chicks” in our group by spraying them with water sachets.
At about 4km Ebrahim and Cassiem started picking up stragglers and bringing up the rear. An undisciplined group including Ragiema, Auntie Fowzie, Nadeema and Rogshana and even Rashied broke away and started to sprint off into the distance. I think Rashied lost his shoe because he soon rejoined our group. Ruschda however was well behaved; I suppose she was trying to impress her hubby.
Soon after the second water point, we approached Firgrove Way. We could hear the public address system blaring and I thought we were nearing the end of the race. I was quite chuffed as I was still feeling surprisingly fresh. “Min te weet” this was only the halfway stage. We had to turn left in Firgrove Way instead of right to the finish.
Slowly but surely Boeta Sainie was pulling away from me. Soon Ebrahim caught up and after a few words of concern and encouragement he left to catch up with the pack. Battling to keep our “bus” in sight I caught up with one of Ragiema’s lecturers. He was battling a bit. With the finishing line in sight I decided to accompany him to the end.
Soon we were entering the finishing lane Mr ???? suddenly perks up and says “with all these people watching we better sprint to the end”. We completed the race like that to a standing ovation from our fellow Itheko clubmates and other members.
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