Everything I did post Comrades 2015 was geared towards preparing for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, my goal being to run sub 2hrs 48mins. I have fond memories of racing in the Cape and I broke the sub 2hr 30min barrier in 1987 for the first time ever at the Peninsula Marathon many years ago and I have 16 Two Oceans Voyages with a PB of 3hr 21min achieved in 1994.
Conditions on race day were great, I arrived nice and early at the start in Greenpoint and did a few strides and drank some water in an area provided to the elite and international athletes. I felt a bit out of place with these speedsters but privileged to be in their company. I walked calmly across to the start with these athletes and took my place a few rows back from the front of the field so as not to get crushed in the very fast start that was sure to happen. I felt a little nervous as 2 weeks prior to the race I was forced to take a course of antibiotics for a bad case of sinusitis which made me feel a little “green”. I took a week off to recover from that and had a decent week training with 3 rest days leading up to race day.
Shortly after the white pigeons were released and our National Anthem sung, we were sent on our way by the starters gun. I settled into sub 4 min pace from the first km and went through the first 5km in 19:19, I felt comfortable and when I took my second 5km split at 19:41 I realised, that if I stayed focused and concentrated all the way, my goal would be within my reach. I always run my own race and although I was aiming for a podium finish in my age group, I still stuck to my race strategy and only when I got news at 33km that I had moved into 3rd place did I put my head down and work hard to hold onto my position. At around 36km I was joined by 2 strong running VOB runners and I decided to stick with them to the end, keeping an eye on our pace to make sure we stayed under 4 min/km.
I looked up ahead at 41km and to my amazement a SANDF runner with the distinctive red “50” displayed on his vest appeared before me! I dropped my 2 VOB mates and took off after the new target and possibly 2nd position in my age category. I pushed hard for a few hundred meters and my fellow age grouper responded well, he passed me and I tucked in and made sure he didn’t open a gap. About 500 meters into the final km he faltered and I went past him and ran hard until I hit the track, glancing back to make sure he was not within striking distance.
I crossed the finish line in 2:46:54, a minute quicker than planned and my fastest marathon in a few years. A race official immediately came up to me and congratulated me on my 3rd place in my age category! The information I received at 33km was incorrect and I had in fact managed to snatch 3rd place at the death.
All round it was a great day and the organisers need to be congratulated on putting on a world class event, the expo and registration, refreshment stations and everything that makes a race like this a success was on the button!
I am going to do a relay event from Villiers to Pietermaritzburg in October to raise funds for St Vincents School for the deaf, please support me in this worthwhile cause, to find out how go to http://www.stvincentschool.org.za/ and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ELBextremechallenge
Take it easy, see you at the races …..