The Soweto marathon was my very first half marathon last year, so I was determined to do it again this year.
Now you know how I’ve been struggling with injuries this year, right? Well, I’m happy to say that I did this without any pain!! So I’m officially back in the land of the running.
I learnt a few things about myself and running doing this year’s Soweto half marathon:
- Set two alarm clocks
We overslept!! Instead of waking up at 3am, and having a leisurely cup of tea while getting dressed and picking up Sam at 3:40am… we woke up at 4am and were out of the house by 4:15 with Sam waiting outside our house for us! In the process, I left my phone behind as well as my running belt, so I was without tissues (which is normally a BIG problem at portaloos)
- I like running with my phone
Not to stay in touch with people, but OMW I missed taking photos along the route! I saw so many things I would have liked to take photos of. All the photos (other than the one with my time and medal) in this post are Sam’s.
- I’ve missed running races with Sam
We may not train together, but she’s just the shizz to run races with. She’s actually a stronger runner than I am, if I look at her training times, but we tend to push each other at races. Sam is recovering from an injury, just like me, so we knew before we started that this was probably not going to be the fastest race ever. I was thrilled when she said she needed to walk at times during the race, it was exactly when I needed a break. In the end, we didn’t do our best 21km time ever, but we finished and I enjoyed the race immensely.
- The organisation of the race this year was superb
Old Mutual and Nike did an amazing job with the race this year.
The parking was 100 times more organised than last year, we didn’t have to walk for miles before and after the race.
There were proper portaloos… the exec kind with loo paper… that may sound funny but OMW it makes the world of difference. I didn’t have to stop heaving while on the loo!
Afterwards there was plenty of places to get drinks and food. It made the whole morning more enjoyable, and I didn’t feel like I really needed to get home.
- I live for water points during a race
I’ve never run a race in heat like that. At 4am it was 24 degrees celsius already, and it was easily in the early 30’s by 8am. I don’t normally drink coke before the 15km mark, but I needed the sugar from the 6km water point already!
The only downer with the organisation, was the missing water point at 15km. Every other water point was proper, with cold water sachets and plenty of coke.
There was a water point at 12km… and then nothing until 17.5km and then another one at 18km!! Crazy! We were gasping by the time we got to that water station. I reckon I would have had more of a sense of humour about it, if the missing water station had been earlier in the race… but in that heat and on that hill, I needed it to be at 15km!
And that brings me to my next point…
- Running races in Soweto is awesome
The Soweto residents literally saved my sense of humour with the failure of a water point. There were so many residents standing in the streets with their hosepipes, hosing people down and letting the runners fill up water bottles and drink from the hoses. Not sure how I would’ve got to the next water point without them. Thank you!
I loved the new route. My complaint about last year’s race was that half the route wasn’t in Soweto… well, I can’t complain about that this year. The new route, although not easy with the last half being entirely uphill, went right through Soweto. I reckon if I’d trained properly, and if it wasn’t so hot, that I’d be able to do a PB on that route.
- Meeting bloggers along the way is always a win
At about 20km, a guy tapped me on my shoulder while running, and asked whether I was “The Real Jenty”. Imagine?! That was not something I expected to happen! LOL! Atlegang then said that he blogged as That Indie Runner! I still can’t believe he recognised me, and it was so cool that he said something.
Sam and I then ran with him to the finish line… and took a obligatory sweaty finish selfie.
- The RWFL running club is the best
The support from everyone in the club is amazing. When I did my first few races, I was generally the only one from the club running, so it was pretty lonely at the RWFL tent because I didn’t know anyone in the other branches. But now it’s fabulous! There are so many of us from Rand Park that run in the races, and we support each other so much. There was loads of sweaty hugging and high-fiving going on when Hilary finished in an amazing time, and Kathy, Jessica and Vikki finished their first 21kms! I love it!
And then we all stayed to cheer Samson and Nick at the 42km finish line. It was Nick’s first marathon! And there was more hugging and high fiving when they came in 🙂
We did have a bit of drama at the race, because we didn’t have a club tent set up. Which is very very odd considering it was such a big race.
So, we made a plan. Vikki’s parents were at the race to support her, so we found an enormous tree for them to sit under, and they watched all our tog-bags. When we got in from our run, they were able to walk to the finish area to watch Vikki finish her race.
- A marathon is a very very long way to run
It’s one thing doing a 21km. It’s another thing entirely to do a 42km race. I take my hat off to the runners that train for longer distances.
We were watching them run in, and I was in awe.
Not sure I’ll ever do that. I was keen to try, but now I’m not sure.
- I can do without a waist pack, but I cannot do without my tog bag after the race
The chocolate milk and snacks that I’d packed saved me at the end of the race.
The flip flops and change of t-shirt was the best idea ever!
Thank goodness I’d packed the bag the night before, and just had to grab it on the way out the door.
Will I do it again next year? Hell to the yes! See you there 🙂