A few months ago, my friend and fitness buddy suggested we sign up for the Sanlam 10km peace run. I had only ever run one race before and that was The University of Cape Town Memorial 10k, which had been on a whim, really. I decided that this one would have to be different because I’d taken a different approach to my fitness since then. Altering my physique was no longer my main goal. I wanted to challenge myself and see how strong my body had become.
I went and picked up my race pack the Friday before. I’d never done anything like that so it really was exciting. It made it all feel so official and fancy! They’d combined it with an expo too which was teeming with sports related stalls and salesmen.
The day arrived and we left before 6:30. We took an über because the roads had closed off and parking would have been a nightmare anyway. We got there early and stood in our designated area for about 30 minutes, watching people walk past with smiles on their faces, jogging to warm their muscles against the chilly morning air.
As it got busier, the start time drew nearer and I could feel myself growing nervous. I’d run 10km before. Easily. But this was the first I was taking it seriously. I’d trained with it in mind and I really wanted to improve my time. I was also running without music for the first time, which did make me a little uneasy.
At 7:10, I started running, surrounded by crowds of people in colourful shirts all working off each other’s energy and excitement. The scenes were familiar; it was a route we took often enough on our weekend runs but the supportive atmosphere, the competition and the beauty of the morning transformed the experience completely.
I finished in 58.19.00, an improvement of over ten minutes from my previous race.To push myself further, I’ve decided to start training for a half marathon that I hope to run early next year.
Not only does running allow you to push and challenge yourself, it also wipes away all the stresses of daily life, leaving behind a sense of power and freedom that nothing else can. What makes you enjoy running? Leave a comment below!