This is for me the toughest marathon of the year. Collection of the numbers was a little chaotic due to many runners registering on the day. According to the race rules, no registrations are taken on the day which obviously changed due to the high demand.
Getting to the venue and parking was easy and well organized, compared to many other races. The start however wasn’t that smooth. The road proved too narrow for many runners who opted for the outer boundary and then a huge cut across the veld after the gun. Many runners were impatient for the gun and went off only to be called back and create more hassles for the organizers.
One thing we can rely on at Soweto is heat. The day prior was cool and overcast which didn’t carry over to race day. The temperature went to at least 20 degrees by the start. This meant that, with the increased field, water points for the first 20 kilometers were under pressure yet again. The same problems of the past few years.
This was my third running of the Soweto Marathon and it proved more difficult than the last. My training was better than ever except for the four weeks leading up to the race due to work pressures.
On race day Sunday 3rd November 2002 I started at a casual six minutes per kilometer which is an easy pace. Then the same hill at around 22 kilometers hit once again. At around 23 kilometers my best friend came in the form of tree which without it, I would have been flat on my back. Both hamstrings went into spasm. With the assistance of another runner then the Old Mutual physio’s, I was back to a walk and later a jog. My first 21 km’s was in 2h05m, the last in 3h05min. A finishing time of 5h10m, my PW (personal worst)
I will most likely be back again next year with a little more hill preparation under my belt. A few new friends made and an overall enjoyable day.