My alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4:30, race day was upon me. After a mere 4 hours of sleep, I dragged myself out of bed in the cold and dark to suit up, fuel up and make the forty-five-minute journey to Greenpoint, Cape Town. With every adventure comes a bit of courage and sacrifice. I was about to embark on the start of The Gun Run Half Marathon, I had yet to check off my list.
The air was crisp as and my skin felt cold as I slowly jogged to beach drive a short distance from the Mouille Point Light House. Streams of runners for the 21km, 10km, and 5km lurked around the roads signaling a large turnout and lots of dodging en route.
The boom of the artillery cannon exploded my adrenalin along with the screams of runners and the race began. We ran towards the V&A Waterfront with the sun rising over the bay with a metallic shimmer. Today we were machines.
Cape Town races are known for the myriad of supporters cheering their hearts out, along with funny comments from supporters and marshals to keep you smiling for the cameras. The distant sound of jamming music energizing my spirit and pulling each foot forward.
Lions head loomed over the course and provided a welcoming shade from the warming sun. We descended into Camps Bay and carved our way back towards town, through the cliffs Clifton.
A relatively flat course the 21km is still a challenge. The thousands of runners, many turns, and speed of the course is not to be taken lightly. Definitely, an adventure to hang up on the memory boards.
The last push was on the Sea Point promenade towards Greenpoint. Ocean spray and the smell of salty air left me with a hunger for the cold Atlantic water I so often dread. The burn was setting in.
I heard a marshal cheer that running is all in the mind. A wise man. The sun was ever higher now and warming up. Although sunscreen protected my skin the heat was steaming off me.
Relief came with the cool sensation of water as I bit open water sachets and poured them over my head at every water table I passed. The head is a great place to cool your body temperature as well as a steady intake of water and small amounts of other fluids like Coke or Energade. Every refreshment stop felt like a new lease of life.
Nearing the Greenpoint fields and finish line I looked down at my sweat and blood soaked vest realizing that I had not properly guarded against chafe. Inner thighs, underarms, and nipples. It’s no joke when the red dog bites. Make sure you are properly prepared.
My legs felt like jelly as I transitioned from tar to grass but gratefully the streams of supporters on either side kept me in motion. The iconic Greenpoint Stadium welcoming me home.
Just as fast as the smoke had cleared from the artillery cannon my first Gun Run was over and another medal in my bag of half marathons.