I would be lying if I said that the last-minute news of the route change at the Two Oceans is anything but calamitous. It's disastrous news, and so sad for all those who dreamt of celebrating the 50th race by revelling in the beautiful views from the top of Chapman's Peak.
Of course, we all understand the reasons for the route change decision and we understand safety must be the major priority.
So... what can we do about this new challenge?
First of all, we must all radically adjust our plans because this new route is a very different beast. Race strategies must change, anticipated finishing times must be downgraded and we must look to new horizons.
I have added 20-30 minutes to my ETA,which means I might not beat the cut-off gun and earn a 50th celebration medal. Yet, I will still run the first smooth, seductive half of the race slowly, conserving energy for the monster second half.
The climb up Ou Kaapse Weg is unending (8 brutal kilometres). In any other race its quaint Afrikaans name would be replaced with a nickname like "Coronary Thrombosis Heights" or "The North Face of the Eiger".
I will employ a walk/run strategy and a "talking to friends as much as possible self- administered anaesthetic". Anything except allowing myself to sink into silence and a slough of despondency.
But, the critical point of this route is the precipitous descent to the base of the mountain. What goes up must come down, and the down on this route is muscle smashing, toenail popping steep pain. I will try to make gravity my friend, but will take small steps trying to preserve my quads, my calves and my legs!
After the downhill plummet, a long dreary plod confronts all of us. I won't lie. It's turgid stuff, made even more mind numbing by an out-and-back stretch that seems so incongruous and "village fun run" in a World-Class event.
The next obstacle is Southern Cross Drive. We can pretend we are running up Constantia Nek, because it is the alternative route' s equivalent, though slightly longer and tougher. After that we're on familiar ground, and the last kilometres are as they have been for many years.
I hope I haven't terrified those who read this. But it is time to accept a new, tougher challenge, gird our loins and HTFU.
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TACKLING A DOWN RUN
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