Soweto Marathon 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Whatchu know about Soweto?!!?!?!

Let me tell you about Soweto beyps... 

Soweto is a landmark in South Africa with numerous tourist attractions, but  I am not going to bore you with these facts you can google them. 

I am going to tell you about my kilometres in Soweto as best as I can remember. I know that I am not a fan of driving in Soweto, because the drivers have no regard for street signs and rules. I also know that Soweto does not have a tree, because on the last long run the sun almost killed me. I also know that Soweto residents are go-getters thats why they had the first Mall in a township. Actually, I think I have a love affair with Soweto beyps. 

Now beyps, let me tell you about my kilometres in this township. The Soweto Marathon is a popular South African Road Running Race which hosts the 42.2 km, 21.1 km and 10 km road races. In 2015, I particpated in the half marathon race which you can read about here and the 2014 edition here . In last years race recapp I declared that this year I would be 23, older and wiser and wouldbe doing the Soweto Marathon. I did it, the whole damn thing!!!!

A few weeks Nike provided Nike Running Club members with entry vouchers into the Soweto Marathon. I made a split decsion to enter the marathon but I did not really train for it, this being my final year of university and with job hunting processes. Time was really an issue, so I squeezed a 5km run and a speed session there but that never accumulated to more than 50 km's per month. It was only in October where I licked the 80km mark. The big day was drawing closer and at the last NRC long run I decided to drop down to the half marathon. However, at race pack collection I saw big signs that said no upgrades or downgrades so I just accepted my fate. 


I was nervous and telling myself how stupid I was for signing up for this and not training for it. I teamed up with Adi and we made a pact to finish the race no matter what and also NO AMBULANCE AT ALL.

Standing at the start line and realising that I would be on the road for the next 6 hours. I snapchatted that moment to let the peeps know and I just jumped on Makhi's bus hoping to keep up until I feel off. The ultimate goal was to enjoy the marathon and just take everything in because Soweto is full of life. 

I live tweeted the race but stopped because Adi said I was slowing down, she eventualy left me before Koma Road. I knew then that I had to do this alone and this was before the half marathon mark. I counted the number of water points that were left and just carried on like that. 

I remember a man offering us vodka straight from the bottle cap. I remember a woman offering us weetbix and milk. I remember grannies standing outside in their night gowns telling us not to give up we are close to finishing. I remember being catcalled and told I have sexy legs. I remember bystanders calling out "Atlegang" and telling me to keep going. I remember being scared that the Nike bus would leave me. I remember calling my mother and telling her I have 7km to go(She wasn't a fan of me doing the marathon) and asking her if she finished her race. I remember thinking about an ice cold Energade gliding down my throat. I remember passing New Canada, a man in flip-flops ran with me downhill and told me he did his marathon the day before. I remember I didnt stop because I wanted to please him and to shut him up.I remember a lady saying "you know its tough when you cant even run downhill" & I really couldnt run downhill. I remember calculating kilometres and knowing that I was going to finish this damn race no matter what. 

I felt tired but also at the same time I felt strong. I only consumed coke and water, with the exception of an 8th of an orange  I bit into and sucked after passing Orlando Stadium. I rolled my compression socks up and down, but really this made no difference. I drank from Soweto residents offering water, from people who were so kind as to offer their supplies to us from the boots of their cars. 

The last 3km felt like 50km I could see the calabash but it was still very far away. People were leaving the stadium as I was walking towards it, I was embarassed but focused on the goal at hand. Zaakirah hooted at me and told me "to keep going". Entering the stadium I had accepted the fact that I was not going to get a medal and I was okay with this. We jogged until the finish line and the race official handed me a medal. I felt like I had won the lottery my hapiness levels were on Fleek!. 

I eventually got to the Nike tent with 10 minutes to the last shuttle leaving. I was welcomed with warm smiles and high fives, Just then I remembered why I love running so much. Even the last runner is applauded because Beyps, Running is hard! and Soweto Marathon is nobodys friend even though its called the peoples race. 

After a quick wash up, I returned to the FNB Stadium to sit under a tree with my Running Club, The Runners Store. They were such a mad bunch they made me forget that I am in pain. At the end of the day, Soweto Marathon was finished beyps... 

Next year, I will be 24 and older and wiser and stronger and I will be doing the Soweto Marathon again. 


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