Runners across the country country are unable to hit the streets following the national lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Runners across the country country are unable to hit the streets following the national lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

OPINION: A 2km 'home marathon' is no joke

By Matshelane Mamabolo Time of article published Mar 29, 2020

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Never since I ran my first marathon back in 2017 did I think I’d be delighted with a 2km run. Two kilometres? That is not even a warm-up man!

Well, not when you are in lockdown.

This much I discovered on Friday, the first day of the lockdown, when I went on a run in the back garden at home.

Unlike most runners, I hardly ever do track. So running round and round in one place is just not for me. I prefer the open road and to go long - from one point to the next.

For that reason I do not enjoy two-lap marathons.

But these are tough times and spoilt brat tendencies just won’t cut it.

We are all going to have to find ways to stay sane during the next three weeks and for me running always does that. But I am not about to risk having that brown soldier boot up my butt by venturing out of the estate. Damn, we cannot even run around in the estate itself and I do not own a treadmill.

Running around the yard will have to do and on Friday I went out to test it out. It is a pretty small space and a lap is not more than 150m. As I went out, my daughter shared a WhatsApp of a group that has decided to keep running and the plan is a 2km a day so that by the end of the lockdown one would have completed a marathon.

I thought 2km was nothing and off I went. Phew, I’ve never found the distance to be so long.

In such a confined space, it was near impossible to get into a high speed because just as I built up pace, I had to make a turn or negotiate my way past the garden bench.

And so it just felt like an unending run.

By the 1km mark, I incredibly found myself gasping for breath. This for a man with three Comrades Marathon medals to his name was just not on.

I completed the 2.09km run in 16 minutes. Seven minutes and a bit for a kilometre. And my running mates have always said I do not know how to run slow. Eat your hearts out gents.

I worry though that by the end of the lockdown a path would have developed on our immaculate lawn. Maybe I should just rest and forget about the running. After all the next race I am likely to do is the Chicago Marathon in October.

But I am lucky.

How about young Phatutshedzo Maswanganyi who has moved from the thrilling high of running a national record to the deflating low of missing yet another world championship in a fortnight ago.

Such is the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic that has literally brought the sporting world to a standstill.

Maswanganyi ran a South African Junior 100m record with his semi-final win at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships at the Tuks Athletics Stadium.

His 10.06 time was good enough to book him a place at the IAAF World U20 Junior Championships which were due to be held in Kenya but have since been cancelled.

Maswanganyi is 19 years old and will not be eligible to compete next year. To say the young man is gutted would be putting it mildly.

This, after all, will be the second time he misses out on a global event.

Back in 2017, injury put paid to his dreams of going to the Youth Championships which were also in Kenya.

“It really is disappointing because I was looking forward to the Championships. But that’s what it is,” he says.

It is what it is and we just need to find the best way to deal with the situation we currently find ourselves in - even if it means a two kilometre jog in essentially one spot for half an hour. And be delighted with it, one’s ultra marathoner title notwithstanding.

@Tshiliboy

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