Comrades – “Character or Qualification?” – by Craig Hatting

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In chatting with more experienced runners on our long Comrades training runs someone mentioned how Comrades used to be something you put down on your CV and it actually helped you get a job, which makes me wonder if people have lost the value of what it means to run Comrades. Yes, it shows that you went to the start line and ran all the way to the finish line, but it’s so much more than that. The day of your Comrades marathon is far more than a running race, even the “ultimate human race”, it is in fact a celebration of the collective effort and preparation that has gone into that day.

When I wake up at 4:30am to get out on the road and train for Comrades there is no-one out there standing on the side of the road shouting “Go for it, you’re almost there”, neither is there anyone handing out nice sachets of water or Powerade or coke, nor do I see medics, physiotherapists or rub-down stations, all I have is sleep in my eyes and maybe 2 or 3 other people running with me (keeping me from turning back and getting into bed). Getting up every day, running, eating for my next runs and keeping at it, ignoring or resting my injuries is routine.

Which brings me back to my question of why we don’t put “Ran Comrades Marathon” on our CVs anymore. Does the fact that 14000+ people also ran the race diminish the value of what has been accomplished? No, if anything it is more of a reason to celebrate the value of this challenge that so many people were inspired to achieve it.

Comrades on your CV should say a lot about the type of person you are: dedicated, committed, persistent, healthy, focused, driven, and so many more other character attributes that make it so much more than just a completed event but rather a statement of the type of person you are. So next time you update your CV scratch out “Hobbies: running” and in your list of qualifications proudly add to it “Completed Comrades Marathon years X to Y”. If this is your first Comrades then remember that you are embarking on a character-defining journey, much more than just a race, it’s a statement of who you are, or who you want to be.

Good luck!

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