Many thanks to the training runs, the advice from fellow runners and the well-organised event by Loreen and the Eastview Elites
By Faith Dube
What started off as a simple visit to the Cimas IGo stand at an exhibition turned out to be a rude awakening. I was advised that my blood pressure was extremely high and could be fatal if I did not take charge of health and weight.
That became the beginning of my running journey.
The journey started off with 3km runs, gradually increasing to 10 km until I was able to run 21km comfortably.
In 2019 I attempted 2 full marathons namely CBZ and Econet Victoria Falls Marathon. My times were good, clocking in 4hrs57min and 5hrs 27min, respectively.
This was so encouraging and somehow gave me the odd strength to want to attempt 56km at Two Oceans and 90km at Comrades in 2020.
To participate in these races, one had to qualify. The times for Two Oceans was 42km in 5hrs and for Comrades was 42km in 4hrs50min which had to be submitted in the beginning of March 2020. I failed to get a qualifier for both runs in Feb 2020 as I ran 42km in 5hrs 02min, it was so devastating.
Not wanting to give up, I attempted another 42km in South Africa two weeks later after intense training. I ran 4hrs 44min qualifying for both Two Oceans and Comrades.
I was proud of myself, and I was the happiest person on earth.
Nothing was impossible and was raring to go. Covid 19 then happened in March 2020 that got us into lockdown and saw both races being cancelled but thank God for virtual runs.
Comrades could still be run in your home country within 24hrs. I chose the full distance of 90km and would run this along Mutare road.
My partner and pacer for the race would be Tracey.
I started feeling nauseous at 32km and trouble began.
We managed to push to 45km together until the two stronger runners come back for us to help pace the remaining 45km.
Tracey went with Owen, and I with Innocent Maringa, fondly known as “Sir Inno” who had previously run two comrades marathons and was now tackling the virtual edition.
I gave in at 56kms as I felt I could no longer complete, given the way I was feeling physically and mentally, much to the disappointment of my friend Tracey who managed to complete her 90km. I vowed to make her proud in 2021.
I began training for Comrades 2021 in December 2020 and this involved running hills and 21kms back-to-back. I would train with Tracey, Kira, and Davison in most of the runs.
I also ran 100km in 3days with 2 other runners, Loreen “Lutah” and Erasmus during the Easter holiday. This run gave me confidence that I would be able to finish the 90km run.
13 Jun came and all that training was to be put to test. The same team began the “Journey to Kilometres” from Harare to Shamva on a chilly morning.
All that was in my head was that I needed to finish the distance no matter the time it will take.
Surely with crazy friends like mine, it was going to be achievable.
The race was broken down to 21km, 42km and 56km then the rest would be the start of the run. I paced the team for the first 21km then Tracey and Diva took it a notch further and increased the pace leaving me with my pacer of three years for the remaining distance.
I was both mentally and physically strong and kept going till 45km where I needed to change shoes to mark the beginning of the second half.
We pushed to get to 56km in less than 7hours compared to the previous year of 7hrs 52min. At that moment I knew I was ready to complete the full distance.
The support from friends who were driving past offering us hydration and my sister’s husband Kelvin all the way from Kwekwe to give moral support was amazing.
The young kids who joined us and ran with us, gave us extra energy to keep going.
I am so grateful to all of them, they made my run so much fun and less painful.
As we approached 80km, my pacer Kira got a calf injury, and I could tell he was in so much pain given how far we had gone.
I offered to run the remaining 10km alone whilst he sought attention from the ambulance, but he was adamant.
Despite the pain we managed to complete in 11hrs 56min against the target of 12hours.
I had conquered my worst nightmare of not finishing a registered race. Many thanks to the training runs, the advice from fellow runners and the well-organised event by Loreen and the Eastview Elites.
The journey to kilometres – 90 – was indeed achieved and doable.
Faith Dube is a Sales Coordinator for Lighthouse Print, a printing and Technology company in Harare. She is passionate about fitness
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