Jacqui Giles

2 posts

Cape Town Marathon – by a Grand Stand Spectator

As you may know, I am on the “short side” in a few different ways (be it height, running distance, temper or concentration) – so the thought of even trying to run a marathon just does not even feature for me! So what else could I do when such an awesome event is hosted in the Mother City and when I belong to such a great club with awesome runners, on all levels……..what to do ???

SUPPORT – CHEER – ENCOURAGE – LOVE – UPLIFT and all the rest of it – that’s what you head out to do !!!

So that is what I decided to do at the SCTM on Sunday and what an experience it was. Usually when supporting at a race, I would find myself on the road somewhere, dressed up with pom poms or something silly to shout and cheer the runners along the way. But this year with the new fantastic finish in Vlei Road I thought the end of this grueling marathon would be extra special and a great opportunity to catch these top athletes as they crossed the finish line.

So I dressed up a bit, found a spot a few metres away from the clock and parked off, stood on a chair (yes because I’m short) and then waited patiently for the runners to come through…………

There is just something magical about being a spectator – you find yourself among all sorts of people, from all walks of life, almost making new friends for a short time as you discuss who is out there, who you are supporting, what times you are watching for, how you fit into this whole spectacular event…..and you ramble on with so much enthusiasm and excitement but then have to laugh when the questions get too technical and fly over your head!

But the buzz is just contagious – you don’t know where to watch, be it on the big screen, on your new friend’s cell phone (who is watching it live on SABC2), on the race App – or just keep your eyes peeled on that one corner… And then it happens and it is like the Mexican Wave – where the supporters further down the blue carpet start to cheer and you realize that something is happening! You can’t contain yourself and you just start clapping, cheering and shouting all sorts and get caught up in all the emotion around you, with your new found friends for the morning! The energy levels just rocket! It is goosebumps stuff, watching those long legged lithe bodies cross the finish line in just a matter of a couple of hours – and many of them still looked so strong as if they could have just kept on going. It’s amazing when you stop to think for a minute what they had just endured and in the time frame too! Record breaking stuff too – what an experience.

As time ticks by, the sun is baking your body, your feet start to ache, you need the toilet, you’re hungry, but you are just too scared to move from your spot for fear of missing out! And I hate suffering from FOMO !!! So you knyp, ignore the hunger pains and carry on cheering your heart out. I am not sure who actually heard what when they came running past our noisy bunch – but I will say, it was super rewarding when you are cheering for a random runner, who might be taking strain, who probably felt like just collapsing right there in front of you – but you shout out his club name and/or his name (if you can see it) and you get an acknowledgement of a wave or a smile….and then you just tell them how awesome they are! For me – that’s just the best!!! It may have lasted only 2 seconds but you know that someone appreciated your shrieks and cheers – and THAT is what support is all about – making a difference, bringing a smile, that little bit of oomph when you maybe needed it most. Of course the shrieks were that little bit louder when a familiar face came through – and I stood almost in awe watching the red, white and blue vests run past me. I felt like a proud mom almost – a mom to I dunno how many crazy WC peeps – and I even had many Gugs ladies in on my WC cheering – it was just awesome!

So here’s to many more silly outfits and screaming and shouting – this is what I love doing most and can’t wait for the next !!!

Your biggest fan!

Jax

What makes us females runners so awesome?

The below was my “speech”/contribution for our recent Women’s Day Awards Evening held at the club earlier this month.  I was a nervous wreck to stand up and speak but I knew it was something I wanted to do.  As we are still in OUR month, I thought I’d like to share this for those that perhaps missed the “ladies night”…and the pink bubbles…and the yummy cupcakes…and the TLC from our guys….and all the usual fun!

But have a read – maybe you need some reminding from time to time….

I work in the travel industry and our company DNA is something that is very close to my heart. Of our company’s 6 philosophies, there is maybe one doesn’t appeal to me that much but there is one that REALLY stands out for me.  “SAY IT AS IT IS” – that is me to a T and how I like to roll in life – and so I decided that I would bite the bullet, stand up here tonight and from my point of view, I will tell you why I personally think that women runners / athletes are just SO awesome!  No technical jargon and no higher grade statistics to comprehend – just my straight up thoughts on the subject.

So as most of you know, I’m hardly a runner, I have a handful of medals to my name which I am very proud of – and I still find myself puffing and panting for short 5 or 8km runs which is sometimes pretty frustrating I must be honest.  And being a woman, a thinker (or maybe more accurately – an OVER thinker in my case) – I often sit back and wonder as to why I haven’t given this whole running thing up yet……and it boils down to this – the following DNA bits about us running ladies in my opinion.

DETERMINATION

I entered the 10km Tyger Run last year with literally no training, other than maybe having half run and half walked around a soccer field a few times with my previous running club – but I had SUCH a bee in my bonnet, I wanted to do it and thought 10kms didn’t seem too much to ask. So on race morning we arrived super late at Meerendal (being the novices we were), we parked with literally 5mins to spare before the gun went off – but … we were there.  During the race, we ran when we could and we walked when we needed to and we didn’t stop other than for a quick selfie or a glug of water.  We were 2 determined friends on a mission that morning to achieve our first medal together – and we did it.  We couldn’t have been or felt any prouder at the end of that race, we were glowing (yes from the sweat) but also from such pride. The determination that day was and still is a big chunk of me – my goals may have changed now but that feeling remains.  And I think DETERMINATION is one characteristic that we all have inside of us.

FLEXIBILITY / ADAPTABILITY:

So in this pic of these beautiful ladies – lies a whole mix of talents. I looked at this photo and it struck me just how different we all are, how we all have such varied running outlooks, achievements and aspirations – from Puffer trail ladies, to Comrades champs, to first time Park Run heroes and so much more.  And in that vein, it struck me just how open minded, FLEXIBLE and ADAPTABLE we all are and we probably don’t even realise it half the time.  Here we were challenging ourselves on a hike, some trying to do something way out of their comfort zone – but yet still doing it and succeeding at it too. Sometimes one can become so fixated on a particular style or area of running – or just have such a habit with something that you close off to other ideas and just stick to what you know cos it works and it’s generally easier.

This can even go as far as to include things like training programs, running shoes, exercising or warming up and cooling down – where women would tend to be more open minded to adapt to things like that, than the opposite sex would. I think part of the reason is that we are so accustomed to change, not just with running matters but with life in general too – so being flexible with our sport comes almost naturally to us beautiful ladies!

STRENGTH

This is a very personal one for me but I think it very much applies to all us amazing females out there. We all have an inner strength, a physical strength, mental and also emotional strength inside each and every one of us.  We may not sometimes feel it or believe it – but it’s there. 

Recently I was getting tired of people always telling me how “strong” I was for whatever reason – but then I actually started to believe and feel it – and so I decided that this one word was going to be my first tattoo. It is now my personal constant reminder when I’m on the road or when I’m sweating it out with some weights at the gym or even if I’m having an emotional wobbly…..just that one word carries so much meaning for me.

I really believe that our bodies and minds are stronger than we realise, we can handle so much and I don’t think we give ourselves half the credit we deserve sometimes. So believe it ladies… STRENGTH  – you’ve got it !!!

INDIVIDUALISM:

We know we are unique and we are proud of it. We are comfortable in our own skin and do not shy away from being who we are.  We are happy to run our own race, be it alone on the beach or chugging along in a bus with a group of strangers at a race like I just did on Sunday!  I think we stand tall and are quietly proud of the things we achieve as individuals.  Sure we can be competitive out there too, we all have that in us somewhere,  but we know and accept that we have our own capabilities and can run our own race without having to keep up with the Jones’s.  And we do this with our own style, approach, attitude and manner – which just makes us fantastic INDIVIDUALS!

FRIENDLY & SOCIAL

So by no means am I standing here now and saying that you guys are all a bunch of anti social grumpy geezers – BUT – what I am going to emphasize is that the female walkers, runners and athletes out there, bring a different dynamic to the feel of this sport. We’re chatty, we can be giggly, we’re the first ones to smile, wave and chirp at others on the road, the first to dress up and have some fun too – and we have a soft element to us that takes away the “hardness” of running in a way.  

It takes all types out there and both sexes sure, but I think us chicks have the upper hand here! I know from my personal experience and from being around at a few races supporting and maybe even running the odd one – the buzz around us ladies is always so contagious!  Without us, let’s be honest – it would make for a pretty quiet and dull club!

 

But on a serious note, there is so much more that I could say as I do believe that we are complex souls and we have so many characteristics, traits, ways, attributes – call it what you like… BUT they are all just different aspects that make us women such diverse, powerful, interesting and awesome humans. I haven’t even touched on things like willpower, perseverance, endurance, positivity, patience, discipline, supportive and so on……we’re just FAR too awesome for me to keep talking here but I think you get the idea anyway…..!!!

Most of you know that I generally speak very openly and straight up – so I can admit that I know I am often very hard on myself, for whatever reason – and I think in general we all need to be kinder to ourselves, be gentler out there and actually believe that the few things I have mentioned tonight – are all very much a part of each and every one of us. Our DNA is amazing ladies!!!

Right – so in all fairness – I also could not stand here now and NOT say something about the opposite sex too!

So – to you rocking guys out there that are our partners, husbands, lovers, friends, relatives and more……I’m sure many of the ladies here tonight will agree with my sentiments. We may not always be easy, we may challenge you, push buttons, drive you to drink and whatever else – but at the end of the day, your love and support means the world to us and knowing that you are proud of our achievements, no matter how big or small, is all that matters.  Understanding our DNA will go a long way – and maybe you have heard a few words that ring true tonight about your better halves ….  So yes guys, we love and appreciate you loads.

In ending, I will say this to the ladies – stay true to yourselves, have the courage to face those challenges and have fun while doing it all. With regards to your running or even your walking goals – remember that what seems hard now, will one day merely be your warm up.

Your running shoes have magic in them. They have the power to transform a bad day into a good day, frustration into speed, self doubt into confidence – and my favourite bit of magic – the power to turn chocolate cake into muscle !!!