First things first – I finished, comfortably, in an official time of 11:43:30, 16 minutes before the official cut-off time of 12 hours.
|Year||Pos||Race No||First Name||Last Name||Gun Time||Category||Cat Pos||Gender||Gen Pos||Medal||Status||Medals|
|2011||9682||21249||Staci||Katsivalis||11:43:30||Ages 40 - 49||751||Female||1843||Vic Clapham||Finished||1|
It took me a good couple of days to assimilate the experience of The Comrades Marathon and my experience of The Ultimate Human Race.
From the expo to the finish of the race, I cannot fault anything of the preparation, organisation, delivery and execution of the event. 20/20! The watering tables were great, the volunteers fantastic, the route markings good – I can’t even think of all the things that go into such a large race, but everything was great!
(The one issue that I do have, took place 3 weeks before the event. We were notified (sort of) that the soft drink sponsorship had been changed from Coke to Pepsi. Following the principle of not to try anything new on race day, this was a concern to me because I only use coke and water for nourishment along with my almond bar. Also, there wasn’t an opportunity to try Pepsi on the road because all our long races were over and as it turned out, Pepsi wasn’t as readily available as Coke.)
There are a few parts to my race experience, so I’m going to post bit by bit over a few days.
I went to sleep before 8pm on the Saturday night and I managed to sleep quite well until about 1.30am. I think I was anxious that my alarm wouldn’t work and I dozed on and off until it did work and woke us up 3.15am.
My tog bag was packed the night before with all I thought I would need – very little except warm clothes and a towel for the finish. Only when we picked up my dad and he was carrying a spare pair of shoes, did I think that I should’ve packed shoes of some sort into my bag for after the race – mainly because it would be cold and my feet get cold quickly in my sandals.
My waist pack was full – camera, handkerchief, enervit tablets and an almond bar. I had my Garmin on my right arm and my Timex stop watch on my left arm. I also put my newly acquired tattoo-sleeve-arm-warmers on underneath my all-weather jumper.
Ready to go to collect Merle and Alan and get to the start venue.
We are very fortunate to have VIP passes for the race. This allows us access to the pre-start stand and breakfast eats. In previous years, I have sat on the stand, slightly in front of the front row of runners, identifying the elite athletes while sipping on hot coffee and eating a danish pastry. This year, I was nervously sitting on the stand, not eating nor drinking, watching the A-seeding batch fill up and wondering what I had let myself in for.
At 5am I made my way to the CC seeding pen (I had qualified for CC by raising R5500 for The Starfish Foundation, an official charity of The Comrades Marathon). It was still dark, cold and a buzz in the air that I couldn’t identify, but it was exciting.
Amazingly, amongst almost 15 000 people lining up, I met a runner whom I’m friends with on facebook, he runs in VFFs, is a member of BRS but we had never met until the morning of my biggest race. Ironically he finished a few minutes in front of me and yet I never saw him on the road.
People anxiously waiting for the race to start – one lady near my commenting that this 15 minute wait is longer than the 5 months build up. The smells were intense, not unpleasant but I had a heightened awareness of smell and sound that lasted for the first 30kms.
There was the singing of The SA National Anthem followed by the traditional cock crow of Max Trimborn and then the gun started the race. (In 1948 another Comrades tradition was born when race official Max Trimborn, instead of firing the customary starter's gun, gave a loud imitation of a cock's crow. That tradition continues to the present day - with Trimborn's voice, recorded on tape, played over loudspeakers.)
Runners streamed over the start mat , and my daughter was in the stand to take some pictures.
I was on my way!