Comrades 2016, the dust has settled …

It’s hard to believe that 2 months have passed since we all made the trek from Pmb to Durban; the aches and pains have hopefully all disappeared but the memories are still very fresh in our minds – some great, and sadly, some not so great…

One thing is for sure, we have all started planning how we intend to be back next year to improve on our performances, where improvement is possible.

If your name is David Gatebe then that is going to be extremely difficult – what an awesome performance to take the win and smash the down run record so convincingly! This athlete has such great credentials but I’m pretty sure that all the “experts”, myself included, would have put money on Gift Kelehe or Lucas Mamabolo to have lifted the title. David clearly had other ideas and without a doubt he will be a marked man going forward!

In the ladies race there was just as much drama, Caroline Wostmann just had to arrive at the start line and the race would be hers, surely? Reading her blogs since the event, she decided to opt for an aggressive approach and aim at a sub-6 hour time, which would not only give her the win but also put her in the league of the great Frith Van Der Merwe.

The rest is history as things went horribly wrong for Caroline and she bravely struggled on to finish 2nd, relinquishing a lead of what was around 13 minutes at one point. The consistent Charne Bosman took her first win, which was a surprise to many – I’m sure not to Charne though, who would have geared all her preparation to claiming the title. 2017 will be a great ladies race, Caroline just has too much class and character to let this get her down, and Charne and others will be waiting in the wings to pounce should the opportunity present itself ….

Looking back at my own result this year and the preparation that I had, I can be really satisfied that I managed a 6 hr 43 min, missing out on my 4th Masters title by a mere 43 seconds! On my last blog I touched on when and how much training is enough for Comrades, being injured for all of February (146 km) and most of March (225 km including Two Oceans). I had a consistent April (515 km) followed by 384 km in May until the week before Comrades. Total km over a 10 week period was 1,124 with 3 weeks in Mid April of 130 – 140 km per week. I probably wasn’t in the best shape I’ve been in recent years but I felt fresh & strong the whole way. I’ve always felt & believed that 10 – 12 weeks of uninterrupted training is all that is required for a good Comrades, going into that period with a decent base and no niggles or injuries will just boost your chances even more.

Since Comrades 2016 I have also joined Strava, for those of you who aren’t “following” me, please feel free to track my sessions, hopefully it will assist you in some way but at the very least you will see for yourself that “keeping it simple” and consistency are really key to enjoying your running and getting the best possible “personal bests” as a result.

In my Comrades “off season” I like to have a short break and then gently ease back into running. When I feel the body is ready for it, I introduce some forms of speed work – this year I have done a few Parkruns, interval and fartlek sessions. I have been selected to take part in the SA Half-marathon Champs in PE again, so I’m looking forward to seeing if I can equal or improve on my 81:28 from last year on the same course. PE is forming part of my preparation for the Cape Town Marathon in September; I ran my 1st one last year and really enjoyed taking part on a well organised and fairly fast course.

I’ve also decided to put another brand of shoe to the test, in June I started testing the Brooks Launch and more recently the Glycerin 14. What a pleasure, the Launch may just be the shoe to consider for the up-run and fits the mold of “racer-trainer” perfectly. The Glycerin will more than likely be my “trainer”, built to absorb the bulk of the weekly training runs, offering great support and cushioning in the process. I can’t wait to try out the Hyperion, a pure “racing” shoe, ideal for Parkruns, time trials, speedwork and races up to 21km.

Chatting to a lot of my friends it seems like Cape Town is going to be a popular choice, if I don’t see any of you before then hopefully we can catch up in Cape Town.

Run happy and live the way you run,

Shaun