There’s nothing like going big and succeeding. I haven’t run much in the last 5 years with my focus being primarily on mountain biking. Every time I started running, some ache or pain would crop up and prevent any continuity.
However, when my friend Aileen suggested Wild Run last year and I saw the TV coverage I was sold. The big question was how to get to the start line in one piece.
Enter Marcel from Fitness from Africa. Once we had confirmed our entry in January, we went in search of some help and Marcel provided it in spades. I think he despaired sometimes when we reported one or other problem with hitting the mileage or even intermediate goals. I had a big cycling goal in June and it was only after that that I managed to run consistently. The result: a very erratic build up of anywhere between 2km and 60km per week and one long run of 25km. You get the picture!
Gung ho, Aileen and I arrived at the start determined to run, walk and hobble our way to the finish which is pretty much how it turned out but we weren’t alone. Runners of all shapes, sizes and abilities lined up for 112km along the stunning Transkei coast.
If you want an adventure, this is it! Pristine beaches, crashing surf, wrecks, shells, rocky slabs of slippery rock, green hills sliding straight into the sea and the most wonderful camaraderie.
It’s a brilliantly organised race and the runners were supportive of each other as we made our way steadily up the coast. Day One was 43km with a headwind and high tides for the first part. I’ve only ever run that distance once before yet it seemed to go quite quickly until the last 15km. They were a struggle but we weren’t last by any means and all of a sudden we were at Kob Inn with hot showers, yummy meals and friendly staff. I was amazed that everyone was hobbling as I was. My feet were cramping in the tiny stabilising muscles which was a novelty but within an hour or so with my feet up cured that and miraculously, by dinner I could walk fine and the next morning, ready to go again.
Marcel had recommended Inov-8 shoes and I had invested in the Roclite 295’s just three weeks before the event. They were super comfortable and I must have been one of very few if not the only one without a single blister or black nail.
Day Two was 35km with a tailwind. That made a massive difference to the running and we all seemed to cruise to The Haven by lunch time. By now I had a bit of niggle in my foot from the ongoing camber and soft sand but had felt really strong for most of the day. That was truly surprising as the distance was once again well out of my comfort zone.
I hobbled the next day of 34km with my foot really hurting but between running, walking and stopping to take pictures we all dragged ourselves to the end point at Hole in the Wall near Coffee Bay. The terrain was very different on this day with us heading more inland onto grassy cattle paths and little villages. Finally, we crested the last hill to see the magnificent natural feature with waves crashing through the hole, a rather large swim to the finish and it was all over.
What a fantastic adventure. Apart from my foot, I was in excellent shape. It must have been all those track sessions with the gang!
I’m back there next year – are you?