The event that changed everything

November 7, 2011

Dear Max

So yesterday I ran the Soweto Marathon. I was unfit and untrained and boy was I was moaning how much I wanted to be in New York running the marathon rather, and I couldn’t stop thinking back to last year, and longing for it.

But you know what, I realised that the greatest race and people are to be found right here, and that there is no better place to be cheered on and to find camaraderie than home. I wrote a few weeks ago here about the five runners who were training for the Soweto Marathon and who were killed by a drunk driver. Well during my last kilometre of the race, a “bus” of runners caught me, most wearing T-shirts to honour the lives and memory of these runners.

It was a group of around 50 runners and as I joined them for the finish, my tears started rolling – for the privilege I have (and am using), and for those who should have been there, but weren’t. Everyone in the group held hands, which made me even more emotional. Here were people who didn’t know each other, and who were simply bonded through a love of running and a collective acknowledgement and support for each other and those lost to us.

Before we entered the finish area, we stopped and there was a moment of silence for the runners, before we headed on, hands linked with new ones – these strangers, these friends. I crossed the finish line in tears and with a gratitude for the people and the soul of this race and country. For every “wrong”, there is a “right” and it was another wake-up bell for me to see the good, and to acknowledge the abundance right here.

What a race. What a people.

Other awesome things about the day:
– A well organised race with plenty of drinks and well-controlled traffic
– A Twitter community who tweeted me and who cheered me on through my phone. What fun it was to chat, and what a lot of strength and humour I received
– The warmth and support from the residents of Soweto, including those who offered the runners beer en route
– The great route
– My new Zigtech running shoes that gave me no problems, despite me only getting them three days before the race
– The two parking guards who helped me look for my car key in the car. Yip, I lost my key in my car. After getting in. I eventually found it in the tiniest crevice under the passenger seat. WTF?
– Castle Lite beer and cheese-free pizza after the race

It was also a reminder of how tough we are, how strong I am. This year has come with so many challenges and changes, but you can’t keep a stubborn runner down.


Some scenes from the day…

Leading the blind... my running pals Les and Johnny

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  • Brett Schwepps Schewitz

    Dig this post!

    November 7, 2011 at 7:39 am Reply
  • Debby Edelstein

    i love this post Tanya:-)

    November 7, 2011 at 7:58 am Reply
  • Brad

    Hey Tanya. WOW Is all I can say! What a great post. It is sad how much we take for granted, not just in the running compartment of our lives but in every other part of it too. It’s time for me to be a lot more grateful and present in everything I’m involved in. Thank you for sharing.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:04 am Reply
  • Sharon

    You made me cry! It’s always amazing that even in tragedy there is always something good!

    November 7, 2011 at 9:15 am Reply
  • Sam

    This post has inspired me to seriously get my running shoes back on. What an honor and a priveledge to be part of a community that cares. I miss my early morning runs with like minded people.

    Way to go on finishing the marathon with little prep – you’re my new hero!


    November 7, 2011 at 9:56 am Reply
  • Jeanette

    Well done for running it. Sounds like it was an amazing experience.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:16 am Reply
  • pamiejane

    congratulations. I was following you on twitter, It seems like a great marathon and maybe one I should try.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hey my friend. Long time no see. I was at Soweto too but missed you at this one. I know why…4000 for the marathon and 10000 for the 10km all starting at once. But i totally agree WHAT A RACE IT WAS.
    Loved this post.
    Hope to see you soon.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm Reply
  • Keri Swift

    Hey me again,
    Not sure why my post above comes up as anonymous.
    Its meeeeee Keri from Sunninghill xxx

    November 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm Reply
  • Fiona

    The race sounds like it was an emotional day. What an experience though! Well done on competing 🙂

    November 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I also ran Soweto and had my best run ever, not time wise, but I too ran in a bus that was commemorating our lost runners and I never felt the race. Every step was fantastic an amazing!Sherilee from breakthru midrand striders

    November 9, 2011 at 10:01 am Reply
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  • MeeA

    Love this post.
    I look forward to being able to run in events such as this. Your posts about these things are an inspiration to a newbie runner.

    February 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm Reply
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