Wednesday 18 May 2016

The comrades marathon and a message from the emperor

The comrades marathon and a message from an emperor !

I sit in my office today, 18th May 2016, a mere 10 days before Comrades and listen to a Lindsay Perry / Brad Brown webinar.

It is the last webinar  before  Comrades and I hang on to every word of advice.

I know that I want to run my personal best.  I want to finish this race in a good comfortable time.

I want to go through the day without worrying if I will finish the race.  

I know I can't run out too fast at the start nor must I run out too slow.

The internet is overflowing with pacing chats.  Each one telling me what is the best half-way time for my target finish time.

Some charts get me to the half way slightly faster than the other charts.

I know that a slight mistake of going out too fast will cook my goose in the second half.

But what is that "slight error".

Which is the perfect pace ?

Who can simply look though all my data and look at my life over the last 5 months and divine the perfect plan for me ?

Who can look into the future for me and know what will happen to me on Comrades day and then come back to the present and then tell me how my day pans out and tell me what I should tweak ?

Who is going to give me the message that will lead to salvation ?

Is the messenger coming ?

Kafka wrote a story about an all powerful emperor who on his deathbed sent an all important message to a lowly wretched citizen.  

The lowly wretched citizen is aware that the emperors message is tremendously important and is meant ONLY for him.

The message is given to the emperors most trusted courier and the courier is on the way.

The story as translated by Mark Harman goes like this :

A Message from the Emperor

The emperor—it is said—sent to you, the one apart, the wretched subject, the tiny shadow that fled far, far from the imperial sun, precisely to you he sent a message from his deathbed.

The emperor bade the messenger kneel by his bed, and whispered the message in his ear. So greatly did he cherish it that he had him repeat it into his ear. With a nod of his head he confirmed the accuracy of the messenger’s words.

The messenger set out at once; a strong, an indefatigable man; thrusting forward now this arm, now the other, he cleared a path though the crowd; every time he meets resistance he points to his breast, which bears the sign of the sun; and he moves forward easily, like no other.

But the crowds are so vast; their dwellings know no bounds. If open country stretched before him, how he would fly, and indeed you might soon hear the magnificent knocking of his fists on your door.

But instead, how uselessly he toils; he is still forcing his way through the chambers of the innermost palace; never will he overcome them; and were he to succeed at this, nothing would be gained: he would have to fight his way down the steps; and were he to succeed at this, nothing would be gained: he would have to cross the courtyard and, after the courtyard, the second enclosing outer palace, and again stairways and courtyards, and again a palace, and so on through thousands of years; and if he were to burst out at last through the outermost gate—but it can never, never happen—before him still lies the royal capital, the middle of the world, piled high in its sediment.

Nobody reaches through here, least of all with a message from one who is dead.

You, however, sit at your window and dream of the message when evening comes."

As I listen to the pod casts and look at the pacing charts, I too realise that the message isn't going to come.

No one is going to tell me what my perfect pace should be.

No messengers are going to come through !

I have to close my eyes and look within myself and find the beginnings of an answer !

It is only on race day that the final answer will evolve.


  1. Good luck to both you and Neepa this year my friend. I will be watching with anticipation, excitement and a good dose of envy.


  2. Good luck. Will see you at the Comrades start line.