I suddenly find myself in a familiar place, excited about running a race in a far- off place… The Kaapzehoop Marathon – ‘running with wild horses’, while many are doing the Soweto Marathon.
Traditionally this time of year has always been the start of the Comrades Marathon Season… running a ‘base marathon’ when entries open, after which we find ourselves in the ‘silly season’ indulging in Christmas-turkey, Baclava and Punch!
Of course, for others it will be ‘Brannas and Coke’ around a braai.
But wherever you find yourself, it is a time to grind out some kilometres [and kg] often all by your lonesome self, while family and friends ‘sleep it off’!
Many will find themselves at our coastal towns with familiar faces, while yours truly will be spending four weeks at my ‘Mammas house’ in KZN, the home of the Comrades Marathon.
The Nelspruit Kaapzehoop Marathon is said to be a tough one; high altitude, mist and five thousand starters, which grow as they join the half marathon and 10 km swelling to 12 000 runners – so old memories with a new experience awaits me.
One of the winners of the Kaapzehoop Marathon, was Alberta Salazar, an American who also won the Comrades Marathon. Salazar now the official Director of Coaching at Nike, sadly has been tested positive for a string of doping tests. The question now is, ‘how clean are his athletes’?
Performance enhancing drugs, normally associated with sprint athletes, has mushroomed in road running over the past ten years, and statistics now show one in seven runners [top 200 of a marathon] are using some sort of enhancement.
Hopefully we do not have any individuals that we know of in that category…
The Comrades Marathon officials will be doing random tests on runners in various finishing groups, i.e., 8 hours, 9 hours etc. If found positive, a ‘life ban’ from Comrades could be the punishment.
Keep Namibian running clean!