MY COMRADES STORY

“My story began when I was in my mid-teens. After taking part in the 1500m and Cross Country, I had the crazy idea of one day attempting to cross the finish line of The Ultimate Human Race.

However, as Murphy would have it, I had developed a lower spinal abnormality that if, not taken care of, would put me in a wheelchair. During my yearly check-up with the orthopod, I mentioned that one day I would want to run the Comrades Marathon to which he responded, "Hamish I suggest that you just forget about Comrades because your back is not strong enough and will not be strong enough and it would not survive the distance. It would not be able to withstand 80km or more of constant pounding."

Well he had a point...he was the expert after all!

The thought of running Comrades slowly slipped my mind and for the next few years I became much better at channel surfing than exercising. That was until 1 September 2013, when my brother Doug called me and said, "Listen, Comrades entries for 2014 open today! Do you want to join me?"

I immediately responded by saying that it was a brilliant idea...but hang on a second; that was roughly 8 months away and I had not worn a pair of running shoes in almost 10 years.

Soon afterwards I joined Sunninghill Striders Running Club and before I knew it, I was standing at the start line of the world's longest ultramarathon ready to begin my journey from Durban to Pietermaritzburg and proudly wearing the Navy Blue, White and Gold. However, try as I might, I was cut off at the top of Polly Shortts and my 2015 race was over.

As disappointing as it was not to finish my debut Comrades, I was determined to complete the race at least once in my life and I crossed the finish line of the 2016 'Down Run with only a few minutes to spare.

I had done it! I had achieved something that the so-called experts told me I would never do!

After skipping the race for 2 years, I came back more determined than ever to finish the Up Run; a challenge I saw through to the end...through to the finish line!

If the race has taught me anything, it has taught me that no matter how hard life may become, no matter how many hills you need to climb before reaching the top, no matter how many disappointments you may experience along the way - if you want something badly enough, you will find a way to get what you want.

You will find a way to be the winner of your own race!!”

This month’s winner of the Arnica Ice hamper is Hamish Hardres-Williams.