I run so that I am ready when the opportunity to experience THIS happens, I am ready to take it.
It wouldn't have occurred to me to include meeting a netball team from the neighbouring village coming to play a match in Katse village. It most certainly wouldn't have included being asked by a random man have his picture taken with me at the Katse Dam wall.
Neither the little boy who held my hand as we walked up the hill or the microbiologist we chatted to at the turnaround point. I couldn't have imagined running through falling snow. Nor the ladies who saved me water, our surprise at seeing pigs, the sounds of the cow bells echoing through the valley, the number of cows and shepherds and the number of policemen.
And as much as I enjoy running with Shawn, I wouldn't have included the valuable, enjoyable conversations we had while walking our way to the end of the race. And the moment when he stopped us and instructed me to be still and quiet and to just listen to the silence all around us.
And the cherry on the top - Bruce raising his finger in the air to signal the race cut-off, and that Shawn and I missed it and would have to be back next year to run the race.
I wouldn't have asked for any of these, and yet I experienced them all in 6 and a half hours. And then to make the weekend away even more magical, it snowed overnight and we drove through snow capped mountains on our way home.
We stayed at the Orion Katse Dam Hotel which is reviewed here by Roxanne Reid. She also writes an excellent piece, 12 things everyone should know about Katse.
You can read Bruce Fordyce's race report, 'A Marathon as Tough as this deserves its long name' here.
And, if you do as Bruce and I both suggest and want to put it on your bucket list of races to run, you can be in touch at the Highlands Trout website.