The Comrades Marathon is an iconic annual ultramarathon, testing human endurance and encouraging camaraderie in the running community since 1921.
We are so proud of our Bestmed family members, who took part in the gruelling 89.13km challenge on Sunday, 28 August 2022, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Congratulations, gents!
Here are their stories…
Firstly, well done and congratulations to everyone who made it to the starting line in Pietermaritzburg, regardless of the outcome. I have great respect for each of you. The hardest part of this journey for me was getting to the starting line.
28 August 2022 was the day that became the longest and shortest day of my life. It was my first Comrades and getting injured (again) a month before the race, my mother being admitted for surgery the week of the race, the possibility of getting sick with flu and not being able to run the same week, and the fear of the unknown (agony from injury during the race, not finishing and the possibility of it being my last race) less than 12 hours before the race were some of the most challenging moments of this journey.
The race did not only challenge me physically, but mentally and spiritually. The race was long and demanded more than just fitness, so I really needed to dig deep and totally shut out any possibility of quitting, fear or of something going wrong. The only way out of it was over the finish line.
Yes, I was tired; yes, I was sore everywhere – even in places I did not understand how or why.
I still have memory of how sore it was to run, to walk and even to think when I had about 20km left to go (no, I did not cry).
Mentally and emotionally, you begin to question if the agonising pain is worth it.
Spiritually, I bargained with God every 2km about what I would do if I finished still standing. Normally, I can do a 21km marathon in less than two hours, but at that point, 2km felt like 21km.
What kept me going was my family and everyone who went before me, with me and behind me every step of the way. It was an expensive trip. I could not afford to go home empty handed.
The sweetest part was sprinting over the finish line at 9 hours, 47 minutes, with the crowds cheering. That was a magical moment of relief, but I would do it again. Such moments make you remember just how faithful God is, was and forever will be.
I did this race because I needed to prove to myself how strong I can be (mentally, physically and emotionally) when I put my faith in God and my mind to it.
I believe that we all have challenges or struggles that trip us up, no matter how hard we try to overcome them. They are the same things – the same fears, the same limitations – and for some of us, it gets frustrating and you crave a change. It’s frustrating because you want to do better and be better, and you just wish you could flip a switch so that it just happens like clockwork.
I don’t know myself as a seasoned runner. I have not competed on the big stage of running as far as track records go.
The beginning of 2021 was an ‘impossible’ task, as far as I knew it, and I did not know why I wanted to put myself through this. I just said yes to peer pressure. That is how much I love myself.
In the beginning, when I said yes, I was not ready. I did not even have the courage to run alongside people, who had already run the race. My constant thought was, "What have I gotten myself into this time?" and I had more excuses to quit than reasons to commit to the decision that I made.
The journey to Comrades took a lot of discipline, not only in training, but in having to be selective about who to listen to, including myself.
There was a huge demanded on me to change physically, mentally and spiritually.
A lot of runners, who were lining up for the first time, may had lost the race before it started because they listened to too much caution, not knowing what they are really capable of.
I treated the journey as a tool to self-discovery. It was lonely, it was uncomfortable and it demanded things of me that I never knew I had at the time. It reinforced my relationship with God and with myself.
Whenever I wanted to quit and go back to my comfort zone, there was always a fellow runner who encouraged me to keep going, or a stranger who would just encourage me. Even scripture rose in me, such as “The joy of Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), “Count it all joy when you fall into trials” (James 1:2), “The trying of your faith worketh (develops) patience” (James 1:3) and “And let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
The same discipline applied in this race can be applied in other areas, which appear to be impossible in life.
As you read this, look to your left and right. One of the people you see may be running this race in the near future. Just let them know that they can do it! They will be ready. They may just need that push.
Thank you to my beautiful wife (Thato), my family, my mother, the Bestmed family (Heartbeats) and my boss for supporting me and bearing with me. Thanks to Randburg Harriers, Waterfall and Bestmed running clubs. A special thank you to my sponsor, Hairlux Africa.
A big thank you to Bestmed – "Where winners shine and just be!"
P.S. The black and "gold" in my beard were meant to align with the Comrades’ theme colours.
Lesson learnt: Two baby potatoes can carry you for 10 hours or 90km, whichever comes first.
I have run the Comrades twice, with best times of 08:17 (up run) and 07:54 (down run). Comrades has taught me how to deal with problems and never give up in life. My time will come to conquer the Comrades.
I am very happy with the time I managed to complete the race in. It was great to participate in the ultimate human race after COVID-19.
Thank you to Bestmed for the send-off and goodie bag. I’m looking forward to the 2023 run. The support on the day was phenomenal and one is reminded of how fortunate we are to have good health.
My first Comrades Marathon nearly didn’t happen, as I suffered injuries weeks leading up to the run, which derailed my training.
Lining up at the start line was very emotional for me, from hearing the national anthem, ‘Shosholoza’ and ‘Chariots of Fire’, to being side by side with all the vibrant runners from all over the world.
The support along the route was also out of this world. My injuries got to me around the 50km mark, which messed up my plans for a sub-10-hour finish. Either way, I soldiered on.
In closing, be careful of peer pressure – you may end up running 90km for fun!
The 2022 Comrades Marathon was different because I ran fewer races due to COVID-19. I’m looking forward to achieving a sub-10 record next as it will be my 10th Comrades in succession. I’m happy to be part of the Bestmed family.
I was very excited to attend my second Comrades Marathon. I am very proud to have beaten my finishing time of 2019, even though I meant to make it in 8 hours at most. It’s still a learning curve each year and I am proud. Therefore, I look forward to achieving more in 2023, to at least finish in approximately 8 hours or less.
I also need to thank the Bestmed Heartbeats, who always support me all the way. I could not have done this without each one of them. It is indeed a great honour and I intend to make them proud again. Thank you very much!
This year’s Comrades Marathon was very difficult. I think it was due to not training enough and not being able to participate in running events that contributes to training time. The most significant reason was the unexpected experience of running the Comrades Marathon in the warm month of August, contrasted with the accustomed and constant previous experience gained during running in the winter month of June. The Comrades Marathon this year was, therefore, mostly a battle with of the mind, which assisted most runners to finish the race in time.