“My father and I were both planning to achieve our Comrades Green Number last year. His first Comrades was in 1981 and mine was 2009. 2020 also saw us celebrating his 70th birthday and my 40th so there were quite a few zeros involved. 2020, 70, 40, 10 and 10.
Comrades has brought us closer together as we have experienced many triumphs and tribulations on the road. It was my dad who encouraged me to start running 20 years ago! Back then it was a victory to just complete my first 8km time trial.
Comrades was never in my sights even though I had seconded and supported my dad on many of his long runs and the big C. It just seemed too extreme.
In 2008 I noticed a drastic improvement in my running; I was really enjoying it and that’s when I decided to commit and do it.
My dad decided he would also make his comeback, having not run Comrades for the past 10 years. We planned our training and running together and motivated each other.
Unfortunately, after 2010 my father had severe knee issues and has been trying every rehabilitation to avoid surgery. He has come a long way but he still had much training to do.
Running has become a way of life for me and I can safely say that it has made me a better person, not in a “I’m better than them” way, but in a way where I’ve met strangers and had deep conversations, been encouraged by strangers and I’ve also encouraged strangers. It’s given me more perspective in life and opened my mind, given me a place to sort out my issues or worries, a place to sometimes meditate and just stop thinking about anything, a place to plan and strategize, understand and accept, to find victory and also defeat and victory again, to never give up.
My wife has recently started running and it’s awesome to share the excitement of races and training. My dad finally had to make the difficult decision that he wouldn’t be running the 2020 Comrades with me because of his knee issues but was going to be on the road supporting me and seconding me along the way with my wife, mom and sister so I could get my Green Number, showing what a family event Comrades has become for us.
Unfortunately, the race had to be cancelled but Il be back when things are back on track. Thank you to the Comrades Marathon Association for continuing such a rich tradition and world changing event. See you on the road!”
The winner of this month’s Arnica Ice hamper is Dale Wardell.