Archives for January, 2003

Dis-Chem Half-Marathon 2003

Posted on Jan 12, 2003 under Running | No Comment

Sunday 12th January 2003

Dischem & Bedfordview Athletic Club have done it again.

The field this year seemed more than in previous years but must have been the same due to the 4,000 runner cut-off. In an almost perfect race, the only problem, and I had to look for one, was the narrow start. Starting in the middle of the pack means a 8 minute first kilometer. So if you are going for a PB, start as close to the front as possible. A help would be if the walkers start further back in the pack – with all due respect to the walkers as they are most welcome on race day.

The great thing about the race is the lack of hills. There are slight gradients in the first 10k’s but nothing to really push the heart rate up. The finish is fast and work the quads quite hard.

As for the characters on the road. Everyone seems to know Spiro or “Spi”. This character can run and run pulling all those having a quiet stroll into a steady sub 6m jog. You get the Sports Connection “boys”, the odd Chappie wrapper and the worn-out Germiston Callies ouman, amongst others

My daughter thought Santa had visited again when I arrived home with the goodie bag. A great t-shirt, a great race and well organized event. A definite top 10 for the year.

Time: 2h12m

Comrades Marathon cut-off extended to 12 hours

Posted on Jan 05, 2003 under Comrades Marathon | No Comment


The Comrades Marathon Association have decided to extend the cut-off for the 2003 and future Comrades Marathon to 12 hours. In Speaking to many runners, the decision has received both positive and negative responses.

The majority of runners who have completed previous Comrades under the 11 hour rule are negative towards the change. They are of the opinion that it takes away the spirit and knowledge that Comrades is one of the toughest races in the World.

The majority of runners who had not yet run a Comrades or who have failed to finish under the 11 hour rule are positive in that they now have the opportunity to complete and finish the race.

The organisor’s reason for the extension is pure economic. Comrades has had a ”negative growth” factor over the past few years. This with the exception of the 24,500 starters in the 75th anniversary / Millennium run. They need to have growth to get continued support from the sponsors. With many sponsors directing their funding towards cycling, the organisors cannot afford to have sponsors leaving Comrades. This will truly be the end of the Marathon.

My personal comments are easy – GREAT. Whatever we can do to encourage more participants into running, the better. But beware, if you couldn’t finish Comrades in the 11 hours, the chances of finishing in 12 are not much greater. At the end of Comrades, the average runner will be running / walking at around 10min per kilometer. This equates to giving the runner a grace of 6 km’s. Over a Marathon of 89km’s, 6 km’s is not material to a good Comrades.

Runners must be warned that the training to finish under 11 hours will not change should you wish to finish under 12 hours. The qualifying time for Comrades has been extended to a 5 hour standard marathon.


This is my opinion based on my experience and the experience of other runners.

Do your training, finish a standard marathon under 4hr30min (still strong), listen to the experts at panel talks, follow Don Oliver’s column in Runners World.

After 60 km’s at Comrades, it’s your mind that takes you to the end, not your body. I further suggest reading The Lore of Running by Prof. Tim Noakes.

Anybody can run Comrades & anybody can fail at Comrades – it’s up to the individual.

Training for beginners

Posted on Jan 05, 2003 under Running | No Comment

The decision
Starting to run is a conscious decision to obtain a single goal.

The decision to run can come from a desire to get fit, lose weight, de-stress or any other personal decision. Nobody can convince you to achieve your goal but you. Remember, that your goal is just that, YOURS. It may be different from others but it remains yours.

I’ll try not sound like an accountant when I say “plan your goal”. If you don’t put to paper what you hope to achieve, your chances of success are minimal. You need to know your progress – you need to know when the goal is to be achieved by – you need to know how to achieve your goal – you need information.

Information is generally free with the use of the internet and running specific websites. There are however three items to purchase BEFORE you start.

1.       The Runners Guide by Tom Cottrell

2.       The Lore of Running by Tim Noakes, MD

3.    A subscription to Runners World, monthly magazine

The Runners Guide gives you all the race information you will require in attaining your goals. It won’t help that your goal is a 32km race and you chose the RAC Tough One. You would rather choose the Kellogg’s 32km. The runners Guide will give you a great reference to which race, when. Further to the book, refer to Tom’s website This is most certainly the best of the best when it comes to running in SA.

The Lore of Running is referred to by many as “the runner bible”.  It’s 800 pages long but don’t let this scare you. Tim Noakes is firstly a runner, then a medical doctor and further a professor. Whatever you do, read it. I don’t necessarily mean that you must read page for page before you start, as one never really finishes the book. The book should be used as an encyclopedia for running.

Need motivation, subscribe to Runners World by Touchline Media. If you are a Discovery Health member, you only pay R 50 per annum! I have mixed feelings with regards Runners World as a magazine for novice runners. The reason being is that a novice runner is a sponge absorbing any information handed out, good or bad. Over the years, Runners World has had many articles for the beginner, which had certain contradictions. There were underlying assumption, as to how fit the person was, what age, what weight and many others. The problem is that although as a human we are designed to run, through Westernization we have become lazy. The magazine however, as a whole, is invaluable for the runner. It provides up-to-date information on all aspects of running.


I speak to many people attempting to get fit but lead an unhealthy lifestyle. If you have an unhealthy lifestyle, change it! I know that this sounds “easy to say” but change is what life’s all about and what makes life interesting. It’s called living. Without change we are merely robots, surviving each day as it comes and heading nowhere but to a life of “I wish I had done…”

You will most likely do more damage trying to get fit without changing your unhealthy lifestyle. If you are stressed, welcome to life. You are not the only one. Every person I know is stressed, without exception. The difference is how people handle their stress. People who cannot handle stress find stress in everything. What should be a absolute “natural high” of reading to your child when he / she goes to sleep, becomes stressful as you had a bad day, you are hungry, your boss doesn’t understand or appreciate you, you, you, you. Take time to recognize the pure joys of life. Once the day ends, it ends. It doesn’t come around again.

If you are overweight, do something about it.  Don’t spend money on TV products or alike. All the information on nutrition is freely available through pharmacies, doctors, websites and magazines and many more.  You must make the decision to make the change. A simple solution with big results is not to eat carbohydrates after 4pm. Forget about that big meal at dinner-time. Get information and get pro-active. I will gladly offer some advise on my thoughts as to how to lose the weight. Unfortunately, I can only offer advice, you have to do it.


If you scrolled down to this section and missed the first two sections, go back!

When you were a baby, you generally learnt to crawl then to walk, then to run. Don’t compare yourself  to chose you didn’t crawl as a baby or those who didn’t learn to walk before learning to run. I won’t mention any names Bruce.

This is of great importance and a lesson I didn’t learn until it was too late. I was reasonably fit from tennis and soccer and at a perfect weight for my age and height. I started running with a friend who was a runner. It went great for the first four months until a pain on my left shin stopped me from running. A bone scan indicated a grade three stress-fracture. I had no pain leading up-to the injury or any symptoms that an injury was on its way. I had a further six months of recovery to read and learn to which I thank The Lore of Running for guidance. I did too much too early.

Once given the all clear, I undertook to learn to how to walk before getting back on the road. For the next three months, I walked on a treadmill and did strength cross-training. My progress was closely monitored and I became walking fit. Then and only then did I head back on the road. It was a frustrating period as my running partner by now was very fit and running good times at races I couldn’t yet attend.

The following is a extract from The Lore of Running which, in my opinion, is the best advice I have read for a beginner to start the journey of the runner.


THE GOAL: Run a 10km race after 25 weeks

Notice that it takes 25 weeks to train for a 10km (with continued training it only takes a further 11 weeks to progress to a standard marathon) Refer to Lore of Running for further information.

w – walk r – run
Day Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
1 W20 W20 W15,R5 W10
2 W20 W20 W20 W20 W20,R5
3 W20
4 W20 W20 W20 W20 W15,R5
5 W20 W10
6 W20 W20 W20 W15,R15 W15,R5
7 W20
Day Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12
1 W5,R5 W5,R5 W5,R5 R10 W15,R5 W10,R10
2 W15,R5 W20,R5 W20,R5 W20,R10 W20,R10 W15,R15
3 W10,R10
4 W15,R5 W15,R5 W20,R10 W20,R10 W20,R10
5 W10,R10
6 W15,R5 W20,R5 W20,R10 W20,R10 W15,R15
7 W15,R10
Day Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18
1 W10,R10 W10,R10 W5,R15 W5,R25 R30 R30
2 W10,R20 W10,R20 W5,R20
3 R30 R30 R30
4 W15,R15 W10,R20 W10,R20 W5,R15 R20 R20
5 R10,W10 W5,R25 R30 R30
6 W10,R20 W10,R20 R30
7 W10,R10 W5,R15 R20 R20
Day Week 19 Week 20 Week 21 Week 22 Week 23 Week 24
1 R30
2 R30 R30 R25 R35 R20
3 R30 R20 R30 R40 R30
4 R30 R20
5 R30 R35 R30 R25 R45
6 R20 R30 R25 R25 R35
7 R20 R15 R20 R20 R20 R20
Day Week 25
1 R40
2 R20
4 R15
7 10KM

A new family – running for a purpose

Posted on Jan 05, 2003 under Running | No Comment

When I decided to take up running in 1998 it was only due to the fact that I got injured at soccer after some 20 years on the field. It was either go under the knife or retire. Retirement seemed the best route as the younger players seemed to be getting the better of my age.

I didn’t know anything about running or the unity of the running community. In soccer, there was always bitter rivalry between clubs which often was decided by a harsh tackle, a head-butt or even a full player and spectator brawl.

I joined Randburg Harriers as it was in between my house and a friends. We were both welcomed with open arms and a friendly smile. A new home – a new family.

In business as an accountant in public practice, I found that people cared for one thing – themselves and their well being. How to avoid this and evade that. Many a task was performed beyond the normal accounting call and only to be “negotiated” on the fee. Further, criminals hiding behind the corporate curtain and lengthy legal jargon left a bitter taste and finally led to me closing shop after eight years.

Throughout the bitter business battles, the one thing I could always rely on was that the road would welcome me every morning with a huge smile and the odd “tears from heaven”.

The question is often asked – why do you run?

My answer – I run for a purpose.

I run to better myself, I run for my family, I run for others via charity, I run for my income, I run to spend time by myself, I run to enjoy natures beauty, I run because I love it – I run for a Purpose.