The Comrades Marathon is almost upon us. Photo: @ComradesRace on twitter
Sometimes when you are faced with a looming huge task, it helps to take your mind off it completely and occupy yourself with something else.

It was thus pleasant on Friday afternoon when one of my running WhatsApp groups steered away from discussing next weekend’s Comrades Marathon and looked way further instead.

“Who in here is doing Sanlam and what are your targets?” my Fat Cats AC teammate Vongani asked.

Aaah the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon! Now that is a race that excites me. An IAAF Gold Label race, it is flat, fast and conducive to a PB  unlike the torturously long and hard Comrades Marathon that awaits us next Sunday.

The Cape Town Marathon is still four months away, but there are some among us who are already getting ready for the Mother City event.

Another Fat Cat, Bongani has run PBs in the past two years and actually set a club record in the 42.2km when he ran a 2:46 last year. He was also the first Fat Cat member to run a sub 3  at the same race two years ago.

“What happened to we are now focusing on Comrades?” was his initial retort to his good friend Vongani’s question about Sanlam and targets.

“That thing (Comrades) is gone. We need to start looking ahead. After one week of rest there is 12 weeks to Sanlam,” Vongani said.

Bongani then revealed his target is to qualify for Berlin 2020, sub 2h45. That is the beauty of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon - it is a ticket to the world marathon majors.

Having broken sub 3 there in 2017, I bombed out badly last year and could only run a 3:06.

I will be out to make amends this time, not just because I need a good time but because, like Bongani, I am keen to run the Abbot Races starting next year. And a good time at the Cape Town Marathon will provide a ticket into some of them.

This year’s race will be particularly special in that we - Independent Media - are again media partners of the race. As part of the deal I will run not in my club colours but in those of the sponsors - Asics. It will be the closest one will get to being an Asics Frontrunner.

You see I know no less than three Asics Frontrunner athletes who I really admire. Wandisile Nongodlwana is a runner par excellence who is living proof that if you set your mind on something and give your all to it, you will achieve it.

The Eastern Cape native has since been snapped up by Murray & Roberts and was part of their veterans who won the team prize at Two Oceans, just a week after he had completed the remarkable feat of 10 marathons in 10 days in a run from London to Paris where he ran the French capital’s premier marathon.

And then there is Admire Muzopambwa, a pretty fast runner who won the Wings for Life Run last year and got to do the race in Georgia this year.

Givemore Muzinganyama is a young man who finished 14th overall at the Paris Marathon last year and I met him two weeks ago when he kitted me up in Asics gear at the Mall of Africa store.

With the Comrades Marathon on the horizon, I am yet to fully test the kit that I will later get to use at the Cape Town Marathon. But I did run the Discovery 94.7 Rhythm Run’s Speed Lap at Kyalami in the Gel Four Five One and the shoes felt light enough to propel me to a PB come September.

Granted a sub 2h50 run will be nowhere near the time Admire and Givemore do for marathons, but for a veteran who only got into this running business just two years ago, that must be good enough for consideration into the Frontrunner programme.

Did I hear someone say stop thinking too far ahead, there’s the small matter of that notorious KZN ultra to contend with in seven days’ time?

I am trying to delay the nerves for Pete’s sakes.

@tshiliboy


Sunday Independent 

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