Friday, 17 June 2011

Comrades 2011 - Again

Just to answer some questions posed in the comments section (Thanks Paul)

I see some people wear their numbers on the back, some on the front.

You are given 2 numbers for Comrades – both have your seeding, number and name on them.  “You would have received two 2011 Nedbank Comrades Marathon race numbers.  These numbers are to be clearly displayed on the front and back of your vest or crop top.  The one marked “Comrades Marathon 2011” must be worn on the front of your vest” taken from the rules handed out with your numbers  The number that is worn on the back of your vest has your medal information.   It was so useful to see peoples names (I learned the names of a few people that I have run with at races) and to know the race history of people around you. 

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Does any company take pictures of you during the race?

Comrades 2011On your number there is a chevron strip that you are required to remove if you want pictures taken.  The official company is Action Photo.  They have a number of freelance photographers posted along Comrades 2011the route and loads of them at the finish.  The photos are uploaded to their website, you look and if you like, you order.  They sell them as prints, on disk or on a memory stick.  There are a few nice ones of me here which I will probably order on disc.

There is also a cool feature taken from a helicopter.  You can view 360 degrees at various spots along the route.  You can see the finish here.

There is also a personal race video done by MySports.  My video can be viewed hereI wasn’t impressed by the video so wont be ordering it.

I like the idea of the 'bus'..that's unique to S.A. road ultras I think (?).
I didn’t know that the bus in uniquely SAfrican.  I have always known about them being used for pacing and didn’t really give it much thought – until after the race.  There were a number of posts made on the Comrades Forums regarding this.

“I think the spirit and energy to be found running in a bus is what pulls alot of people through. “

“Most of them (bus drivers) are able to run much better times, but don’t because they are helping others to realise their dreams and goals.”

“You will do it on your own steam,you will suffer physically and mentally and you will enjoy it on or off a bus. Most novices don’t know how to pace themselves and the bus driver provides that security but YOU have to do the running and you stand less chance of blowing up if you go out at the correct pace.The bus will not wait for you if you fall behind.”

“Our bus had fantastic spirit, and often broke into chants of 'Shosholoza', 'Easy does it', and 'SHUUUUFFFLLEE!'. I was running with some old timers, and they approved of the way he (bus driver) took it easy on the steep downs, and held the whole thing together.”

“And when I once ran a marathon in Italy the bus driver of the 3:45 bus spotted all the runners next to him and kept shouting at them to make them feel that they were "involved". Also, when I do my marathons in Italy I watch out for the timing balloons which is what their pacers use to see whether I am doing a good pace since I don't time myself during a marathon.”

The buses are also found at a few marathons – mainly to help pace as race qualifiers (Comrades and Two Oceans require qualifying).  There are a few “official” bus drivers from Runners World Magazine and Modern Athlete Magazine.  They are easily identified by the flag they carry on a long stick.

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There are also “unofficial” drivers, green number (10+run) runners who kindly assist.  Sometimes they don’t plan on being a bus but people start running with him/her and a bus is formed.

I have learnt that it is very important to know about the tactics of your bus driver before you climb onto that bus.  His planned run/walk strategy and at what speed he will be running.   This year, as in previous years, various buses haven’t made the said time and there have been a large number of disappointed people.  You definitely need to keep your eye on your watch too!

Johann's toe problems a good lesson for us all...get rid of the shoes maybe? ;)

I couldn’t agree more!!!  Altho’ Johann isn’t keen, my  husband has taken to barefoot running.

What's next

I am taking it easy for June and July, that means low mileage and 3 maybe 4 runs a week.

In August I am doing a half marathon in The Kruger National Park which is a greatly scenic rather than speedy race.

I will then start training for The RAC Tough One at the end of November.

January will see me starting full on heavy training for Comrades 2011.

Have yourselves a happy running weekend, Xxx


Johann said...

Great answers to the questions Staci. Good post...except that toe problem one!:) I sometimes cut the toes of my shoes open if I have bad nail problems. The thing with my way of running is I will probably end up with more marching/stress fractures if I go barefoot. I'll rather have some black and missing toenails than that. So for me it will be shoes all the way. I also don't believe I'll be able to do my average of 3300 to 3600km year in and year out without shoes. I'll be doing that and more for at least the next 7 years with my current plans.

Kate said...

I've really enjoyed your posts about your Comrades experience. Thanks for sharing it all with us. I'm so impressed!

Paul said...

Thanks for answering my questions 8)

Re: the "busses", of course we have "pacing groups" over here..and they have flags or balloons, etc.

The thing that seems unique to S.A. (and maybe Italy?) is the nomenclature of a "bus" with a "bus driver". People speak of "when you decide to get on a bus.."

We would just say "I joined a pacing group".

I've never heard of pacers here (even in slower pacing groups) using tambourines or getting people to shout chants!

It sounds you guys have much more "comraderie" going in that race ;)

Char said...

The half marathon in Kruger National Park sounds really interesting. Are you likely to see much wildlife?