Weskus Marathon – By Gill Koch

“Friday 18th March started off very similar to any other Friday.  Except that this was the start of a long weekend and the Weskus Marathon which had been earmarked for the Saturday.  Spent a couple of hours up at Sportsmans Warehouse in Tygervalley with Justin and his team of volunteers handing out race numbers.  Home to pack then collect Sonz and Paula.  Off we went up the West Coast Road leaving Cape Town at approximately 15h45.  All was well until I received a text to say that there had been an accident ahead of us just before the Langebaan turn-off.  Estimated duration of road closure 3 hours!  This left us little choice but to detour from Yserfontein to Darling then through Malmesbury, take the N7 then R45 via Hopefield to Langebaan (extra 110km).  This seemed like deja vous from 2 weeks earlier when we got stuck on Sir Lowreys Pass en route Hermanus.  We eventually arrived at our digs Due South Guesthouse then toddled off to dinner at Windtown https://www.windtown-sa.com/eat-drink/ which was really quite marvellous.  A reasonably early night secured us rising before the birds on Saturday morning.

Carl took Sonja and I to the bus at Langebaan and off we went.  I was gently woken by Sonja telling me we had arrived at the start.  Before we knew it, the gun went off (apparently – because I seriously didn’t hear it) and the marathon began.  First watering hole was at 3.7km and a welcome coke did the trick.  Thereafter the refreshment tables were approximately 3km’s apart and so very well manned.  Happy people prepared to part with their blocks of ice, coke, water, sweets and snacks.  I must admit that the first hour of the marathon was rather pleasant.  By now it was broad daylight and the sun was just starting to peep through the clouds.  I kept my pace quite even and thought at this rate, I’ll do ok.  20km’s under the belt, the sun had now started to bake us and I could feel my energy and enthusiasm waning.  We reached the half way mark and now I was thinking ok, I have less to do than I’ve already done.  So just relax and keep running. 

By 30km’s I had probably given up on running, walking, talking, listening, laughing and just me!  My feet were so sore that I actually stopped on the side of the road and took my shoes off.  Just then a bakkie rode past and it was loaded with folk that had the same mind set as me.  Enough already!  But knowing I had just 12km’s to go spurred me on somewhat and I also had the mamba to look forward to.  Didn’t want to miss out on that now!  So I prized my swollen feet back into my shoes and tried to shuffle as elegantly as I could.  And then to my delight I saw a familiar West Coast face.  It was Tania Mehl.  Yup Tania would now become my partner in crime.  She too had endured enough and funnily enough was tempted by the bakkie too.  My walking partner.

Now the sun was at its hottest.  Midday.  My fake tattoo from two weeks ago had now all but melted resembling a cartoon character created by my 9 year old grandson.   And yes the dreaded hill of all hills still lay ahead of us.  But between the two of us we tackled it with aplomb and at the top we were greeted by youngsters who sprayed us down from head to toe with ice cold water.  Nice!  We could now just about taste the finish line.  It was literally 2km’s to go.  Folk were heading back to their cars wearing their medals proudly with words of encouragement which we so politely thanked them for.  About 500 metres from the finish, Tania and I picked up our pace and how I’ll never know – ran into the finishing field at the Langebaan resort.  Ha ha one would have thought we’d been at it, running our tail feathers off for hours.  But no – it really was a stroll to the end.

Well.  We did it.  We managed to cover and complete 42.2km.  We got the medal.  This was my 10th Marathon.  And after each one however, I have the habit of swearing blind – I’ll never do that again!  But I did.  10 times. 

My mind is totally baffled by folk that run marathon after marathon.  Willie – how on earth does he do it?  And Trudy – who has 126 marathons and ultra’s under her belt?  Issie who has ran how many comrades?  I have to remember that running is a pastime – my pastime.  A hobby – my hobby.  A form of exercise – my form of exercise.  Cheaper than therapy.  And that it’s sewing I really can tackle with confidence.  So be it.

Thanks of course to my Carl who drove us through.  Who carted us to the venue at 05h30 then Paula at 06h30.  And took the photographs of as many West Coasters as he could spot.  Drove us home and then spent ages concocting a video which is on the website.

Congratulations to everyone who participated.  Whether it was the 10, 21 or the 42km.”

leave a comment