Parish of Exning with Landwade

Alan Shand -- Marathon Runner

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DURBAN to PIETERMARITZBURG,

SOUTH AFRICA

Official Race Distance : 86.96 KM (54 MILES)

RACE DAY : SUNDAY, 29 MAY 2011

Runner : Alan Shand,  Race # 13010

Offiicial Website

 

To conquer Comrades simply was the toughest and best thing I have ever done, its lasting impressions left me with '' testimony of greatness of our human spirit and all that is good in our world ''    God, I Love this life.                                                        

                                                                                                  Alan Shand, Ultra-marathoner

 

Every goal that has ever been reached, began with just one step – and the belief that it could be attained.

Dreams really can come true, but they are most often the result of hard work, determination, and persistence.

When the end of the journey seems impossible to reach, remember that all you need to do is take one more step.

Stay focused on your goal  and  remember…each small step will bring you a little closer.

When the road becomes hard to travel and it feels as if you’ll never reach the end…

Look  deep inside your hear and you will find strength you never knew you had.

Believe in yourself – and remember that I believe in you, too.

                                                                                                                        - Jason Blume

 

HISTORY (outline)

The Comrades Marathon is known as greatest ultra-marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and sinew and mental strength to conquer the approximately 90km (56miles) between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban? The event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War 1 veteran Vic Clapham, maintaining that if a sedentary living person could be taken off the street given a rifle and 60lb pack and marched all over Africa then surely a fit and able athlete could complete the distance. 

With the outbreak of the Great War 1914-1918, the 8th South African Infantry, fought and marched 1700 miles of the eastern savannahs of Africa in pursuit of Glen Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck’s askari battalions. The pain, agonies, death and hardships of comrades he witnessed during those awful days left a lasting impression on the battle hardened soldier, especially the camaraderie engendered among the men in overcoming these privations. Thus honoured in a unique way, where an individual’s physical frailties could be put to the test, Comrades became and remains a “living memorial to the spirit of the soldiers of the Great War”  

The 2011 running of the Comrades Marathon celebrated its 86th, the race epitomizes attributes of courage, commitment and camaraderie amongst its participants, transcending cultural, racial, gender, socio-economic and age barriers. 

ROUTE

The 2011 Comrades Marathon is a ‘up run’ starting at the City Hall in Durban at 05h30 and finishing at the Pietermaritzburg Cricket Oval in Pietermaritzburg at 17h30. (12hr cut-off) 

The route for this year’s race is as indicated on the Bonitas Route Map/elevation and follows a similar route to the 2008 up run. PLEASE CLICK AND ENLARGE MAP 

 

MY AGONY AND ECSTACY

How do you condense 12hrs into a short read, well here goes : Athens marathon 2010 was part of the training plan, the ascents in particular however it was only when we drove the route on the Saturday, the reality of my task hit home and helped me prepare mentally. 4.30am Motorbike ride started the day, then amongst the singing and jubilations whilst in the holding pens, wishing good fortune to my peers, my prayers were said, my legs never felt weak with the enormity of expectation. As I walked along with the mass of humanity to the start line, I was not scared of the race nor daunted by it’s hills and distance with over 19,670 runners, seeded according to their ability, it was simply atmospheric and I was excited.  The famous ‘big 5’ hills of Cowies, Fields, Bothas, Inchanga and Polly Shorts awaited us.. (to give you an idea, almost 42kms are ascent (a marathon in itself) My run/walk strategy was in place.

 

The gun went off, setting off in the dark night running crowd lined streets into a new day dawning and sunrise, following the mass of energy and coloured shirts, I knew I would not get lost !!. Up and down, up and down we ran into continuous blue skies, vistas, panoramas and 27 deg C temps. Comrades is run on a well paved road,  a huge local spectacle in their social calendar, crowds line the route, brai’s, fresh cooked food smells wafting, deck chairs, parasols, you keep on following the mass, at their pace, and ‘Hey ho, another one bites the dust’ as another KM mileage marker passes. I was delighted that our back-up support saw me every place they stopped along the route.

Major points of interest were 45th Cutting, Wall of Honour, Arthur’s Seat, Valley of 1000 hills, Cato Ridge, Camperdown

 

Whilst focusing on the present like never before, engaged in a personal mental battle, no Comrades runner will forget the experience of running past Ethembeni handicapped school about mile 34, singing & cheering uniformed schoolchildren in wheelchairs and stretchers, my gift of 15 union jack flags was received joyfully, lifted my heart to see the courage of these children, how I felt physically was temporary high 5’ing them on my way through made me count my blessings. Onward we ran, one foot in front of the other. Along the route I walked with some who were really struggling, encouraging them, some sought their green numbers, their only goal was to complete, I felt an honour to support them in my small way simply chatting, truth be known it probably helped my own energy conservation efforts to.

 

I lost focus about mile 47, the spell broke, I was detached, there was no pain, no longer running, I had to walk, take in fluids, solids, and legs ached, I had hit a huge dip, and needed a spike badly. This came in the form of young Physiotherapists at the next medical stop, massaging firmly both legs with Arnica and the refueling tables gave me the much needed sustenance, plus painkillers. On and on, up and down we ran. Finally after Polly Shorts, downhill all the way and I resolved to strike for home, my body relaxed, I found peace overtaking everyone in the last 5 miles. The wearing of Russ Abbott’s ‘hey Jimmy’ hat into the final arena to the cheering crowds and crossing the finishing line was pure pleasure and sheer exhuberance. It was great to cheer the stragglers in the last 28 mins, with timekeeper’s back to the runners, the 12 hr gun went off, security blocked the finish line, race over. Much emotion and sadness of those who failed to complete within time.

 

Into the international runners tent, legs seized completely whilst getting the essential recovery foods, couldn’t sit down, couldn’t stand up, had to be helped , Monty Pythons Flying Circus sketch ministry of funny walks came to mind, and needed help with my clothes. Leg massage afterwards was a must. Got to keep moving I told myself.  Brian, Noel and Tanya my back-up support were crucial on the day, and their contribution of photos I share..

‘’Madness’’ I hear you say, it certainly helped.  Gun time : 11:32:06

 

 

My Thanks

My profound thanks to Comrades team and all volunteers, so slickly organized, the day was excellent

and well disciplined by the management. Health and Safety on route included 8 Physiotherapy Stations, 4 Diabetic stations (where blood sugar can be tested and Insulin will be available) and 2 fully staffed medical facilities on the second half of the route. Ambulances, and Helicopters standing by.

Special mention and thanks to our Exilda’s Angels team member Brian Merryweather, who went out of his way to make it a most memorable stay for all guests, entertainment, hospitality and distractions keeping my mind off the event (and bringing a cup of tea every morning) logistics to and from the race, made my time in SA even more enjoyable

Threads of last year came together with meeting again the lads from last year’s 7,000km epic motorbike safari trip. Meeting up of Noel, Roger, Pat and Co, reminiscing over a brai and even planning ahead for attending the school’s opening ceremony.

 

some memorable moments :

-          making new friends and meeting international ambassadors of the event

-          meeting our Durban office team

-          being overtaken by Keith a 75 yr old, (his 12th Comrades and never saw him again !! )

-          Military Tattoo in Pietermaritzburg

-          Big 5 Safari park visit

-          Emirates flights first class service

-          Exilda’s Angels 2010 motorbike fundraise reunion & brai

-          being called a Road Warrior

 

 

Comrades Marathon Official Charities

In line with my own support for those less fortunate, The CMA has designated five Official Charities to benefit from the 2011 Comrades Marathon, namely the Community Chests of Durban & Pieter-maritzburg, The Sports Trust, the Starfish Greathearts Foundation, The Pink Drive and Wildlands Conservation Trust.  Comrades’ fund-raising efforts are embraced in an initiative known as "AmaBeadiBeadi" wherein runners, supporters, spectators, volunteers and members of the general public are encouraged to support the charity initiative.

 

 

LR250 EXILDA’s ANGELS, my next fundraising goal : £10,000

and most important of all, the very reason my life’s journey takes me to South Africa to run and fundraise, our new LR250 Primary School in Chita, nr Mpika, Zambia.

Exilda’s Angels has now gained charitable status, registered charity # 1141241 and we are currently applying for a justgiving website. 

Current pledges exceed 60%, and yes certainly am still begging hard towards this one-off capital cost, so please do help us, you to are now part of the school by your deeds.

 

Do hope you enjoy the photos below, ‘’ are inspired, to perspire, and aspire (not expire) ‘’ J

Year

Pos

Race No

First Name

Last Name

Gun Time

Category

Cat Pos

Gender

Gen Pos

Medal

Status

Medals

Video

2011

8863

13010

Alan

Shand

11:32:06

Ages 50 - 59

1063

Male

7251

Vic Clapham

Finished

1

View Video

 

Previous Marathon Reports
n
Alan Shand His medal for the 2009 Marathon
             
  Berlin   London 2005 London 2007    
London 2009   Helsinki 2007        
  London 2008       London 2006  
Alan has run in many events across the world  
   
   

 

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