A Great Cloud Of Witnesses…

Print page

The name “Comrades” is I’m sure not accidentally ironic.  Running is typically an individual sport.  One thing it even does for me is enable me to clear my mind after a tough day at the office, and extra time on weekends after a tough week.  Tie on the shoes, put Jack Johnson or The Parlotones in my ears, and off I go.

But strangely I’ve found training for Comrades to be much more of a social thing.  Up to about 2 hours, its easy to stay motivated.  Beyond that, your mind begins to tell you stories.  The requirement by the Comrades to be part of a club is not just free marketing for clubs to increase membership and resource better meals.  If you want to have any hope of crossing the line, you need support around you.

The last few weeks of training with my club, Varsity Kudus, has really revealed this all the more to me.  The guys running Comrades are rallying together nearly everyday of the week to help each other achieve whatever our goals are for this year’s race.

Coming from an uber-individualistic country, this whole thing is a bit foreign to me.  One of the first concepts I learned when I moved to South Africa 6 years ago is the idea of Ubuntu.  I am because we are. Comrades is rightly named the Ultimate Human Race, not because of the distance or intimidating hills, but because it forces us back to some of our most primary human instincts- the need for each other.  Everyone on that 89k stretch of road, no matter the age or race or ability, is instantly your comrade.

I’m aiming for a Bill Rowan with open hands.  Hopeful to achieve, but understanding the size of the task at hand.  And all the more hopeful because of the group of runners that I am a part of.

Avatar of Runners World

About Runners World

Online Editor for Runner's World magazine


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply