90KM DOWN RUN

MY #RACETHECOMRADESLEGENDS BY BLAKE ANDREW

“In January this year I was preparing to run my 9th Comrades Marathon and had built up a solid base. My plan was to break my personal record of 8hr25min achieved in 2012. The training was going really well and it was the best I'd felt on the road in many years. 

On Saturday, the 1st of February I went out on a 20km run and felt incredibly strong. After returning home I lay down to rest but my son called me to his room to help him with something. I got up from the bed very quickly and immediately experienced a terrible head rush on the way down the passage. 

This head rush caused me to collapse due to a sudden loss of blood pressure and I crumpled to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Unfortunately, my legs were not able to get out of the way and I broke both my ankles including the right fibula just below the knee.

I was rushed to hospital immediately and was scheduled for an operation the next day on both legs. The doctor then informed me that unfortunately I'd be completely wheelchair bound for 6 weeks and on crutches and in moon boots for a further two weeks after that. Of course I was devastated and being a true Comrades runner asked if I'd be okay for the 14th of June! You can imagine his reply. 

Many in the know said it would be a long road back to just being able to walk again, never mind to run. I was determined however to do something on Comrades race day, even if I just walked 90 metres. 

I did everything I was told to do after returning from hospital and got quite strong in my upper body from lifting myself in and out of the wheelchair. My wife and kids also rearranged the house to accommodate my movements. 

The day I was allowed to start doing some strength exercises I did. I worked hard to get back on my feet with an amazing physiotherapist in Johannesburg. Suddenly Covid-19 hit our shores and my quarantine and movements were further limited. I had to do a lot of the rehab with my physio virtually. 

Anyway, with the Comrades Marathon always a driving force and goal in my life, I began walking and slowly running; building up to 2km, 3km and then 5km. Two weeks ago I managed a 10km and was undecided on the #RaceTheComradesLegends distance but was determined to push myself a little. 

I'm happy to report that I ran 21.1km in under 1hr50 which was beyond my wildest expectations. Comrades had been the motivating force and once again something to always work towards and challenge me. Sometimes you just need to drown out the sound of your fears, doubts and insecurities and that of others similarly. Thank you for a spectacular event.”


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