Running the Comrades? Please, someone tell me it’s impossible…

Finishing Loch Ness marathon

…so that I could just go and prove you wrong.

But let me tell you first what we are talking about here.

I have had a dream for several years now. Many women dream about handbags, designer clothes or a good man. I’ve been dreaming about running an ultra-marathon. Sounds mad, I know; but some people are like that and I happen to be one of them.

Then I found the Comrades and it struck a chord: it has a reference to ‘camaraderie’ and sings to my background; it is in South Africa and I have a love-hate relationship with the country; and it is hard as a diamond which speaks to my love of jewels. Altogether made for me!

Now, the Comrades is a famous – or shall I say notorious – ultra marathon in Durban, South Africa. The race is over a distance of 51.1 miles which is approximately 90 km. It all started in 1918 – or 93 years ago – when a guy called Vic Clapham approach the authorities of Natal with proposal for the race. They were not interested; worse, they thought that old Vic is mad. He persisted and finally in 1921 was extended a loan of one pound to organise the event.

Today, 93 years later, the Comrades is the dream of any long distance runner. This is the profile of the race:

Comrades profile

Doesn’t this 15 km climb look scary? Not if you train properly, meaning that running becomes part of your life.

This is a race that is up-hill one year and downhill the next. I am aiming to run it in 2015 – in two years time – when it will be up-hill. Yep, only people who don’t run long distance may think that running down-hill is easier. In fact it absolutely kills you.

It is also one of the races for which I’ll need to qualify – in other words, I’ll need to have run in the year before the race a marathon (42.2 km) in 5 hours or less; 56 km in 7 hours or less etc. Running a marathon in under 5 hours won’t be a problem – this is more like a middle aged, overweight woman time and all marathons I’ve run to date I’ve finished within this time (including Loch Ness).

Two years to transform my lifestyle and run 90 km. Let’s get going! And I’ll be telling you how this is being done.

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