4:45 am is very early to be waking up on a Sunday morning… I was not alone though, I heard shouts and commotion outside and looked out of our lounge window (we live in an apartment in Green Point) onto a sea of runners taking part in the Peninsula Marathon. The energy was palpable and I immediately felt vital and grateful and hugely excited to be taking part in our own race. I drank my coffee, it was too early for breakfast, and set off to meet up with Julia and Renee at Big Bay, where our Olympic distance relay event would start. The distances to cover would be 1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run. We picked up our registration packs and it was confirmed that we were the only relay team – this caused some confusion along the route as the marshals weren’t sure where we were and weren’t supposed to be, but we muddled through it and quickly realised that we were going to win our category as long as we finished. Yes, you can claim the win even if you were the only team to enter!
The Elite athletes set off long before the rest of us and sped through the sprint distance at an impressive pace. We hung around, trying not to show each other how nervous we felt, Julia specifically trying not to think about getting in the sea (this would be her first open water swim), Renee debating whether a mountain bike was such a good idea on a road course… The announcer informed us that the sea was a nippy 14 degrees and Julia’s eyes widened. Eventually someone suggested it would be best to get in and out of the sea first, so Julia got kitted up and we walked down to the start line.
The Olympic distance race began and Renee and I headed back quickly to transition.
Ren got into her kit and I waited at the arch for Julia to come out of the water. The fastest swimmer was out in 17 minutes, Julia was only 7 minutes behind him – all her hard work in training had paid off. Although she looked a little shell-shocked coming out of the water and had to be reminded to run to transition.
She gave the timing chip to Renee and Ren was off on her bike.
We went to change and have a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast for Julia. Renee had warned us that she would be out for at least two hours, but we were advised by some seasoned athletes that she would be closer to 1h30. Julia headed onto the cycle course to cheer Renee and I made my way to transition. Ren came in a little over 1h30, gave me the timing chip and I was off on the 2 loop run course.
After a near miss (I began by running in the wrong direction until a marshal called me back) I got onto the run course and went through Big Bay residential area including a stretch along the coast. The conditions were perfect, not a breath of wind, and on the first loop I had plenty of company. On the second loop I realised I was quite far behind the other participants as marshals were starting to pack up. I put foot in order to pass 3 people (I couldn’t very well come in last could I!) and somehow came in after 49 minutes.
We had such a great day, surrounded by awesome and inspiring people. Thank you to Julia and Renee for agreeing to take part in this and thank you to our very generous sponsors who not only helped make this possible, but helped us support a little school called Simunye that is very close to our hearts!
We are two events down, two more to go. This coming Sunday we will be taking part in Xterra Grabouw (1.5km swim, 47km MTB, 12km trail run) and in April I will be running the 2Oceans Half Marathon. Watch this space for updates!