Posted: 02/06/2016 at 12:09
Up at 1:30; ready in 20 minutes then wait another 40 minutes until the taxi to the bus departure zone at 2:30. No queues and in the bus at 2:50 – try to snooze but reminded of the hills by the struggling bus engine.
Into the start zone at 4:00. Breakfast, suncream, contact lenses, fuel. PMB town hall clock says 4:25 so I wait a bit before getting off the last layers and putting my bag in baggage lorry and toilet. PMB town hall clock still says 4:25 – check phone and it is 5:00 so into pen B.
At 5:10 the pen partitions come up and we surge forward so I’m 25m from the start. The usual and atmospheric sequence of National Anthem, Shozoloza, Chariots of Fire, Max Trimborn’s cockerel crow, then the artillery cannon fires for the off.
I’m running within a minute. The theme for the first 20.5km to the High Point was to take it super easy as it is mostly uphill with 2 downhills. I do well on this as I am full conversational and running with one the Comrades thread member. There are scores of runners from C, D and even E overtaking me – this means my pace is right and I will see them before halfway. It was about 10C at the start and the sun rises as we cruise down Polly Shortts, which forms a formidable barrier to PMB on the up-run, but at this stage of the game is an easy descent to the Tumble Inn and the Ashburton Crossing. Next over Little Pollys and the first time check at the Lion Park turn – I’m bang on schedule for an 8:30 finish. Another 6km of climbing to the High Point. I reach it in 1:57 and still on schedule for an 8:30 finish.
Next I’ve got to run the 19km to the foot of Inchanga. I know I can speed up a bit here, so immediately run a 5m00s for one kilometre. I then slow down a bit to average around 5:20 per km. My threadster has dropped back so I’m running on my own. Incredible crowd support in Camperdown and Cato Ridge – they are 4 deep in places and are close on the road – the noise of support is incredible. Into Harrison Flats (of course it is uphill) and the support has thinned. Past the Ethembeni School and high-five as many of the disabled and albino kids as possible – I am reminded of how privileged I am to run. A mountain is looming in the distance and the road leads straight to it. All time checks are good: 3:01 for 32km - still on track for an 8:30 finish.
Inchanga next. It is long protracted climb with multiple bends and so never seems to end. I manage it well and I know when I’m at the top as I call it Intimidation Point, as I can see down to Drummond below and then see that I must climb to the same height again. 42.2km in 4:00. The upside of Inchanga is relatively gentle in comparison to the down. I launch myself down it at 5:15 per km – it in three sections some steeper, but all jarring.