Comrades Marathon: What goes up, must come down

Comrades Marathon, the world’s oldest and largest ultra marathon run over a distance of approximately 90 km (56 ish miles) between Pietermaritzburg and the coastal city of Durban in South Africa.

life's an adventure

The direction of the race alternates each year between the ‘up run’ in odd numbered years that starts in Durban and runs up to Pietermaritzburg and the ‘down run’ in even numbered years which starts in Pietermaritzburg and runs down to Durban.

I first heard of the Comrades Marathon on Marathon Talk when co-hosts Martin and Tom entered, trained and ran the race. At the time I thought it sounded like something amazing, I had a look at the website and then I forgot about it.

In May this year I heard of Comrades again on Marathon Talk. Just hearing the start song – the traditional mining song Shosholoza – followed by Chariots of Fire and the Cock crowing gave me goosebumps, but still it was little more than something that sounded amazing to do and a trip around the Comrades Marathon website, but perhaps the seed of an idea had been sown.

Fast forward a few months in which I’d been training for the Chester Marathon with a couple of friends, Dennis and Jen, who are doing an ultra at the end of September and once again Comrades is on Marathon Talk. This time though the interview is with Tom’s dad, Brian, who has signed up to do Comrades even though he’s only ever ran a half marathon. I just found it really inspiring because he’s not an ultra runner or fast marathoner, he’s an ordinary bloke doing an extraordinary thing – they don’t call Comrades ‘The Ultimate Human Race’ for nothing! So now for the first time I’m thinking, “I can do that.”

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure. I’ve talked to Kev, my husband, about what I’d like to do and he’s being very supportive so now the goal has been set and I’m stating for the record that I would love to do the 2016 Comrades Marathon. In fact as I’m writing this blog post I can here Kev tell his parents of my plan which makes it all the more real. I’ve also had a chat with Emily Harrison and training for the Comrades Marathon with my current committments is realistic. The training wouldn’t have to differ much from my current marathon training apart from some back-to-back long runs over some weekends.

And finally he’s an image for Tom’s dad who has inspired me to give it a go and made me realise that anything is possible!

goal dream

Until next time…

Kassia Gardner