On The Run

My Most Unforgettable Race Moments

At midnight on the 30th of July, the Greater Gaborone area was placed under lockdown for two weeks as there was a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases. This was a terrible set-back for all of us as we had slowly started getting back some semblance of “normal” albeit with compulsory masks, temperature checks and registrations everywhere. But in many ways it was a reminder that we are a long way from normal and we just have to keep doing what we can to stay positive, safe and healthy. With no races in sight, I thought it would be fun to share some unforgettable moments in my race history. With 43 races done, each with its own story, it was hard to choose! I started with five, quickly changed that to eight and now we have ten!

Photo credit: Arlo van Heerden / Phonix Capture

1/ The First Time I Ran 10K Without Walking. Looking back, there are several defining moments that helped to build my confidence as a runner. The first time I ran 10K without walking was one such moment.  My husband Ditiro had always assured me that, “Once you can run 5km without walking, you can run 10”. Two weeks before this race, I managed my first 5 km running stretch. So when I reached the 5km point in this race and still felt strong enough to keep running, I remembered his words. My body went into autopilot and when I reached the 7 km mark, I was certain I would manage. 8km… 9km and then with 500 metres left, I belted it, pumping my fists in the air and dancing and smiling as I crossed the finish line.

2/ Falling From A Rope Swing. I look at my kids now and know they didn’t get their agility, flexibility or tree-climbing ability from me. I was never that kid. So my decision to take part in a team obstacle course race was huge! My heart sank when we got to the “Rope Swing”. Sitting out would cost my team too many penalties so I  nervously clambered up the ladder and grabbed the rope at the top. I watched as my team swung to the other side. I hesitated for a long time and then jumped, letting out a heroic scream. Mid-air I knew I was going down. I’ve never felt quite so embarrassed in my life but I look at that moment with a sense of pride. I was so far out of my comfort zone but I gave it my best shot and I didn’t let my team down.

3/ Completing My First Half Marathon. I’ve now run seven Half Marathons but my first will always be my most special. I was never meant to run a Half Marathon. Sure, I joked about it but I was never really serious. And I don’t think anyone took me seriously either! But after 19 weeks of training, I ran my first Half and proved to myself that this body can go the distance, it can push through the pain and it can get the job done. That moment as I entered the last stretch, seeing the gantry and digging deep to finish in 2:41:01 is something I will never forget.

8/ My First Stage-Trail Race. My two-stage trail race in the magnificent Northern Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa was an incredible experience. The first day was 17 km of arduous climbing and running and the following day had 14 km of more forgiving terrain, both days totalling a net ascent of approx. 1,140 metres. I did the race with a group of my friends which made the experience even more amazing. We ran separately but each came back with individual tales of wild adventure, heroic feats and the experience of a lifetime. Sir Edmund Hillary’s words resonated with me throughout the race, “It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”.

9/ Winning Dinner For Four: I can’t leave out the race where I won a dinner for four at a lovely Italian restaurant in town for the “Most Creative Runner Costume”. There were so few people who dressed up so my little group of four felt quite self-conscious at the start but our outfits garnered many compliments from strangers. As I ran, many people shouted “I need some help Doc” and with the voucher I treated the four of us to dinner, dessert and a bottle of wine! I won’t be winning any race awards any time soon so I count this as a huge win!

10/ My Daughter’s First Race. In 2017, I had one mission and that was to run 17 races. My fifteenth was so special as I ran with my then five year old daughter Kaia. She had long asked to race with me and what an experience it was. Choosing our outfits together and pinning on our bibs, watching her excitement as she got water and orange wedges at the fuelling table, seeing her excitement as she ran past other runners and then watching her joy as she got her medal. Three years on, she still remembers that race and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

I’ve really enjoyed this trip down memory lane! The highs have been epic and the lows have been character-building in so many ways. I can’t wait to make even more memories on the race track but these ones will definitely stay with me for a while to come.

What are some of your most unforgettable race moments? Do you remember the first time you ran 10K without walking? Have you raced with your child before? Have you ever felt embarrassed at a race?

I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By MileCoach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerRuns with PugsRunning on Happy and Organic Runner Mum! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.

22 thoughts on “My Most Unforgettable Race Moments

  1. Great recap, Shathiso!
    Hopefully, your lockdown will be over after this coming weekend.
    And I had plans of joining you for the Soweto race on 1 November 2020! The atmosphere must be electrifying. I can’t imagine how it must be to run through that tunnel!
    Looking forward to a time in the future when it will be possible again. Meanwhile, I’m going with your mantra: keep doing what we can to stay positive, safe and healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So grateful that the actual numbers we are dealing with have been so much fewer than other countries. But also really worried about the impact these lockdowns will have on the economy. Such a crazy time we are in.🙆‍♀️ I remember we were going to meet at Soweto! Was already planning our post-race brunch! One day when all this over, it will happen!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve had some amazing race moments. Like you, I still remember my first half marathon like it was yesterday. So odd considering I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last week, lol.

    Your description of the mugging incident still makes me gasp – I can’t imagine how scary that must have been for both of you and I’m glad that you are both okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG, if you ever shared the story about being mugged before, i didn’t see it. I think I would’ve remembered that! It’s amazing that you aren’t afraid of running.You are such a strong woman, Shathiso.

    So many great memories! I’m chuckling at few people dressing up. I never wear a costume — must be why I never win anything, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry you are on lockdown again! Things in the US are not moving in the right direction either. How fun to look back on your race memories! I can’t believe you were mugged during a race. How terrible and scary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa. Thankfully, we will be free again on Friday. But it’s getting harder and harder to remain positive. That’s why I loved looking back on these race memories! I didn’t realise I’d be able to come up with some many moments!

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  5. I did not realize you were on lockdown again. it is a great time to look back on that we have accomplished instead of focusing on all that we cannot do right now. Thanks for sharing you memories. Stay safe out there

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I just started reading your blog and it’s quickly becoming a favorite! Love all your pictures, especially us westerners who have a) never been to Africa and b) crave vicarious travel experiences.

    I was expecting one of your questions to be “Ever been mugged on a run?”. I wonder if it’s happened to any of your other readers but I hope not! I’m sorry it happened to you!

    That picture of your adorable daughter is a keeper, isn’t it? That is one genuine smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Katie! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog – I love getting such positive feedback on something I love doing!

      The mugging was such a scary thing to happen and so glad I was with my cousin at the time. I think it would have been so much worse had I been alone. Also really glad it didn’t stop me or her from running. We just keep away from quiet trails!

      That’s one of my favourite pictures of my daughter! She really was so excited to run with me. She’s not too keen to run now and I don’t want to pressure her in case it puts her off altogether. So I will give her some time and then start running with her again.

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  7. Sorry to hear about the lockdown – are you back confined to your garden? We have had some localised re-lockdowns and I’m expecting one here soon, we haven’t personally come out very far so it shouldn’t be too bad though I’ll be gutted if they advise to keep off the canals again.

    And I love this joyful set of high points! So lovely, really made me smile! Finishing my first half in floods of tears, my first marathon and my only ultra, those are mine I think, though I have other moments stored to think about if I’m ever struggling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Liz – thankfully the 2 week lockdown is over. We were confined to the garden again but I think having survived 7 weeks before, I was a lot calmer this time round. Was so happy to get out again though and have been enjoying the streets again!

      You should be so proud of all those achievements! I can’t wait to cross my first Marathon finish line!

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  8. This was so much fun reading! You’ve had some great race experiences. But wow, being mugged? That’s terrifying!

    Thanks to Facebook Memories I was reminded that today I ran my first half marathon in 2006.

    Thank you for linking up with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was just awful. But so glad I didn’t let it stop me from running. I think had he robbed the joy of running from me, it would have been so much worse.

      2006!! Wow!! That’s 14 years ago now. You must have so many amazing tales to tell too!

      Like

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