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After a solid 4-5 hour sleep in that cozy chalet at Sutherland, my 6th shift and shift 17 for the week was to start at 10h40, somewhere on backwater dirt roads towards Ceres.
The required positive frame of mind mentioned in yesterdays post would be required sooner than anticipated as a combination of a missed turn (which probably added 30mins to the trip), combined with a significantly rougher than expected dirt road, (another fine for Shaun Raaff who confidently communicated that the trip was an hour, comprised of one right turn and impossible to fuck up) meant the we only arrived at the changeover point an hour and a half late. Those 3 hours in the bus were a serious lesson in patience.
Thankfully the vacating teams were pretty cheery when we arrived and we jumped to and hit the road. I started and after a mellow first 2-3km’s suddenly felt the wind in my sails and noticed I’d accelerated to a 5min/km pace and my curious mind wondered if I could maintain that pace for a relatively shorter-than-normal 10km stretch.
A chance encounter with our Mad2Ride cyclists resting on the side of the road and a big cheer and series of high fives as I ran through them, only fuelled the desire and I managed to smash out a 49minute 10km on a pretty tricky-to-run surface. It was a personal test on what a pair of tired legs might still be able to do, and I was amazed at the response.
With a comparatively modest goal of just 30kms for the day, the next few hours were really chilled with our new, as yet unpaired with teammates of Grahame, Ross and JL of a similarly relaxed mindset and we shared shorter sessions of 10-15km between us.
My second stint landed me at the foot of the Theronsberg Pass, and after a quick pic and a slowish start, I managed to power my way all the way up to the top at a nice 6min/km pace. Another positive and encouraging result that hopefully bodes well for my Bill Rowan Comrades goal this year.
A couple of km’s after we crested the pass, we were startled by 2 runners who stormed up behind us. It turned out to be two of the 2018 Mad2Run alumni (Brad and Dustin) who were driving down from Joburg to run the Two Oceans ultra and organized with Dayle to stay overnight with us in Ceres and run with us into camp. It seems like that’s the kind of effect this event has on people.
The lads ran a good 20 with us the rest of the way down and we finished the day with a 500m walk so that Katie (with injured hip) could finish her final shift of the week – her bike tyre having punctured earlier in the day. We were even joined by police. Unbeknownst to us, we were passing right through a known hotspot and the cops had received a call from a concerned citizen informing them that some crazy ( nay ‘Mad’) runners were heading that way.
After a couple of pics to record our achievement, the mood was a heady mix of happiness (as it was some people’s last shift), amazement and sadness that the week was over.
Just two of the 12 teams head out on Friday morning to complete the 46km into Cape Town, while the rest of the crew pack up camp and bus into the outskirts of Cape Town to meet us so we can run into the finishing point at the Cape Town Convention Centre at midday.
It’s going to be an emotional ending to an amazing week and I’m really hoping that our efforts will break the records of previous years and that we can hand over a chunky cheque to the MAD Leadership Foundation. If you’d like to, you can donate easily as per details below.
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