I joined Itheko SAC on 18 February 2013. Today, after 8 half marathons and many other races, I ran my first Marathon – the Peninsula Marathon 42.2km. I like to call it my anniversary run.
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth soliloquises: “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still…”
This morning at the start of my maiden Marathon, I also performed my own soliloquy: “Is this the road I see before me – the finish must come toward my body: will I finish within slain off time?”
This morning was the culmination of two months of preparation via the programme offered by our Athletics Commissioner, Farouk Meyer and friend of Itheko, Len Keating.
For the first time, my negative mind-set turned out positively. I was not sure whether I could finish within six hours and would have been happy with six and a half.
Two PB’s, a cramp, a fall and a Marathon later
So after my soliloquy the race started. I started a bit too fast and landed up behind the radiant Naz Mohedeen for a brief moment. Then I knew I had to slow down. Then the ever present Fatima Van De Rheede passed with her bus, which reminded me that I must slow down even more. A few more Itheko brothers and sisters passed me and that set the stage for my plan which was to consistently run within 8 minutes and 8:45 minutes a kilometre.
Somewhere near Woodstock, Mary Fortuin caught up with me and gave me some bad news – our regular supporters Ihsaan, Raldiah, Naashied and Najma cheered us along and we continued until she lost me and I was alone again. Somewhere near Claremont, Yunus Enos came running towards me. I found this strange until he explained that he was getting married later that morning – oh!!
Carrying on, the sun reared its hot eye near Plumstead. Eventually I reached the halfway mark where the barcode machine took my time and on I went.
Somewhere near Muizenberg I caught up with Mary and Tougieda Allie and stayed with them for a while.
My first PB came at the 30km mark – four hours on the dot compared to my Bay to Bay 30km time of 4:15 minutes – and then I developed a cramp in my right calf muscle. I slowed down and stretched before going on my way to my next PB.
My Redhill time was a disastrous 5:18 minutes – today I reached the 36.2km mark in five hours – and this very much set the tone for my finish. Unfortunately it was a tough 6km to the finish. I probably looked like a somnambulist, sleep walking/running for that last 6km.
With about 1km to go I had a fall, the kind where the road comes up to meet you. That was a strange feeling but with some helping hands from Fatima Attwood and a few others I was away again.
The greatest feeling one can get is when you approach the finish with a minute to go and everyone that knows you is rooting for you and shouting your name.
Five hours 59 minutes was my time. I feel great. Some said it was going to be hot. I think I was hotter… and blowing flames from my trumpet.
By Ridwan Wagiet
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