Wednesday 1 June 2016

A Day of Days : Comrades 2016

A Day of Days 

So on the 29th of May , as I lay in bed at night,  sore and in pain,  I wrote about my Comrades 2016 experience.  I wrote it and went to sleep. Later the next day I posted it on Facebook and sent it to my close friends. 

What I had written about was primarily the post comrades experience where I shivered due to cold IV drip in the medical tent 

Getting nausea, cramps, dehydration, aches and pains are all part of running Comrades. At comrades these aches and pains are taken to an extreme.   

But sometimes to someone who isn't into running this all sound pretty awful.   It seems to them, like it was a traumatic awful experience.   

A non-runner who enters the Comrades medical tent for the first time will get appalled.    He will think that some natural disaster has stuck and something terrible is going on. 

On reading my post, someone from India, asked me, "Was this your first finish and will you come back again because you had such an awful day?"

I'm not sure which part of my post led him to the conclusion that I had an awful day.   

After all, I have in the past failed to finish comrades and not thought of that as having an awful day and here I was at  the end of the day with my 5th comrades medal around my neck.  What part of that looked like awful ? 
It Wasn't an awful day at all.    It was just how Comrades day is.

The winner of last years comrades had cramps and was limping much like me.  She was in pain and at some point staggering on the road.  
I know she will not describe her day as awful. 

Two years ago the indomitable Russian twins crossed the finish line and collapsed on the green.  They landed up taking some IV.  I know they won't describe that day as awful. 

Comrades is hard for me and I guess it is for most people. It is hard for those who win and it is hard for those who don't. 

So it was a day just like a comrades day is supposed to be.  

And yes, for me, it was excruciatingly hard And I had to dig and dig and dig inside me to find strength to keep moving forward.  
I managed.  

I think if I can live my life, pushing ahead, one small step at a time, relentlessly, mine will be a well lived life.  

I was in the field.  I was struggling and fighting the clock. I was so completely alive to the passage of time. 

There were times when I saw the hill rise in front of me and it made my heart sink.  I wondered, "How in the world would I be able to soldier up that hill ? How much time will I lose going up that monster ?"

My legs didn't have the strength to run up those hills so I decided that I won't look in the distance. I lowered my cap and kept my eyes just 5 meters in front of me.  I looked at the legs of people in front and if they were running I ran. If they were walking, I passed them and tried to find feet which were running and followed those instead. 

Did I have an awful day ? 
No !!! On the contrary. 

What more can one ask for in life other than to be part of the worlds greatest gathering of crazy people ?

And come to think of it , one can ask, "Who is crazy and who is normal ? "

I've come to the conclusion that the more times you run Comrades, the more normal you are.  

The more times you fight your limitations in life (whatever they may be ) the more normal you are. 

I cannot imagine life without having had this experience.  

When I'm dying and if I get the time to look back at my life, I will think with great fondness upon these days. 

I will look back and know that I was privileged to be on that road and in the company of my heros and heroines.    

It makes my life, a well lived life .

It wasn't an awful day.  

It was a Day of Days  


  1. Congratulations on your 5th finish and focused march to a Green Number! Glad to meet you on the course while you were with the 'unofficial' 12 hour bus just before Vlam was spotted on the side of the road. I won't be back next year but will be back for the 100th anniversary of Comrades.

  2. Last year was my first run and one of the longest days of my life a scarily similar experience to yours and guess what I was back for more and will probable be back again. Difficult is what makes it great