On The Run · Review

Year of Running 2020

I’ve already done a recap of the 12 races/ challenges I did this year. But to review the year, I’m going to use a format from previous years – 2018 and 2019 where I follow a series of prompts to discuss various elements of my running year, beyond just racing.

2020 – Focus, Fight, Finish

  • I loved most of my races and challenges this year but choosing my best experience was easy. The Pretoria Half Marathon in South Africa was the biggest “in-person” race I did this year and it came with all the pomp and ceremony befitting a “real” race. I say this with no disrespect to virtual races, but there is something truly special with pre-pandemic races! The stand-out thing for me in this particular race was the actual route – it was designed in such a way that gave us the opportunity to see several attractive and historic buildings in Pretoria. The climb up Klapperkop was tough but the panoramic views of the city at the top made it worth our while. The traditional music bands, both at the top of Klapperkop and at the entry to Pretoria Boys High School, were a unique touch.

  • There are two runs that I have to highlight. On 27 June, I did a 5K time trial as part of my 10K Training. I was hoping to get under 30 minutes but for some reason, I didn’t think I had it in me that morning. My body had other plans – it turned out to be a huge PB, 28:24 as my fastest at that point was 29:52! I felt unbelievably strong.

  • But I can’t overlook the epic run that followed a couple of weeks later! With my team of pacers and chasers, all dressed in black, I ran a sub-60 10K – 59:28. It was initially a comfortable run, but towards the end, I had to work extremely hard to get under 60 minutes. It wasn’t easy but one that will remain imprinted in my mind for years to come.

  • Strangest thing to happen on the run! Let me set the scene. One of my many missions is to run in different parts of the country, #IRunBotswana. For my birthday, my husband and I travelled to the Okavango Delta which is about a 1000km from Gaborone and we decided to drive instead of fly just so that I could run in different parts of the country. On our way back, around 2pm in 30+ Celsius temperature, we decided to run on a very isolated road from Maun, past Rakops and the turn off to the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve. Remote. Vast areas of white sand and nothingness. We did our run and joked that if people knew what we were doing they would think we were mad. Well, a few days later, we received a video via WhatsApp — yes, in that remote desolateness a driver enjoying his journey had unexpectedly captured us in the height of our running madness! Here is the video!

  • Favourite running route in Gaborone: Last year I highlighted the Government Enclave as one of my favourite places to run. This year I’m going to choose places that are not often explored on the run, the train and bus stations! This photo was taken on a 20km run I did with my husband on a rainy morning and part of the route saw us go through the train and bus station. It was only around 7am on a Saturday morning but already there was a bustle of activity with a man sat by a small table with a computer and pumping out 1980s South African disco music. What a vibe. Definitely, my favourite running route this year!

  • As a 40th Birthday Gift my dear friend Zurika gave me a set of branded caps and bright pink buffs with all my frequently used hashtags! This brought me to tears – and the best part of the gift is she had buffs made for all our running friends as well as my family! Hands down, the best new piece of running gear this year.

  • This came during my sub-60 10K time trial – around 9km, we had just battled a stiff wind and an unexpected incline that had thrown me slightly off target pace. For the first time that morning doubt had crept in. I kept looking down at my watch almost willing it to slow down. I was getting too close to that hour-mark. My friend Gape said to me, “It’s all or nothing now”. In despair I said, “I have NOTHING”. His quick response, “You have ALL!” I was so exhausted but those words did it for me. I hadn’t come for 1:01. I had come for SUB-60. I had what it took. Never forget that…

  •   The running community – those I’ve run with and all those runners I have never met. This year more than any other, I felt the power of the running community. We cheered each other on, we supported each other in achieving our goals, we shared difficult challenges and we never stopped pushing each other to keep going.

  • My husband has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to capture countless photos, all in the name of the blog! It was hard to choose a favourite but I went with this one because I look so happy and alive. It was taken at the Old Prison in The Village area of Gaborone. For a detailed look at the route I took, go here!

  • Best looking medal of 2020: I was going to go with a prettier medal but when my daughter insisted I use this one, I immediately saw why. In a year that was dictated by COVID-19 and several lockdowns and curfews, there really was no better representation than this medal!

  • What about THE stats? There are some major highlights here – a new Personal Best for the 5K – 28:24 and a Personal Best (I’m calling it a life achievement guys!) for the 10K – 59:28. I’ve also never run as much as I did this year – 1,697.3km in total (which is 345.1 km more than last year). It was also the first time I ran more than 200 km in a month – I did this in September and then again in December, with this final month being my highest ever monthly mileage – 208.2km! I also walked 218.8 km in the year.
  • Focus, Fight, Finish.

This is my final post for 2020 – a year that had so much promise only to shock and shake us very early on! But I am grateful for all the lessons and being able to run through the good and bad days. My words to you for 2021 are simple – stay safe, keep running and keep showing up as we navigate new challenges and different terrains in our continuously changing reality.

How was your year of running? What are you most proud of? What goals do you have for 2021? 

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 Pugs, and Laura Norris Running. Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.

32 thoughts on “Year of Running 2020

  1. A lovely summary, Shathiso!
    I can’t believe somebody filmed you on that desert run and then found you! I showed it to my husband and we both laughed!
    You made the best of 2020. Congratulations to you and your family and all the very best for 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What’s even funnier is that the video got to us via our mutual friend who was based in Italy 😂😂 He sent us a message saying, what on earth are you two up to in the middle of nowhere 😂🤣Small world! Same to you Catrina. Wishing you and Kai a peaceful 2021!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is awesome! I am so glad you shared this with us. I love how you got a PB for both the 5k and 10k distances!! Oh, and I love that pink buff too.

    I had a rocky start to 2020 but then it got better. I have improved so much and still have room for more.

    Thanks for linking up with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have all!! What a great mantra 😉 I remember when you deemed Focus Fight Finish as your 2020 hashtag. Boy, I think all of us utilized those words to get through 2020! Here’s hoping 2021 is a little bit kinder to us 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who knew those words would be so appropriate for 2020, LOL! I really hope it is a bit kinder, gentler to all of us. I think we’ve all proven that we are strong and can get through anything – now let’s just have a smoother ride!


  4. What a sweet present from your friend! I love it!

    You really crushed 2020, despite all the restrictions, Shathiso. And you should be really proud of that! I think it’s so much harder to PR without the race atmosphere.

    That story of the video of you running in the preserve? That’s priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such a thoughtful gift! Thank you so much Judy for all your support throughout the year. It was quite a year and thankful that it actually turned out okay.

      The video story 😂😂 What are the chances? We always say Botswana is so small (in terms of population) so everyone knows everyone but this took it to another level. This road is in one of the most isolated areas in the country!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You have so much to be proud. It will be hard to top in 2021.
    I have this post written but won’t be published for a few weeks.
    I am most proud that I ran over 1000 miles with so many races cancelled and that I ran 9 half marathons (6 of them virtual).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an awesome year Shathiso! You have done some amazing things in 2020. You are an inspirational runner! Best wishes for an even better 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You really had a great year, even though 2020 brought so many challenges! That video is crazy. How did they know it was you? Hope you have a happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You did have a great year of running, even if it was quite different from last year or what you expected for 2020. I love the story of a random driver filming your run in the middle of nowhere. I’m curious about how he found you (or you found him)?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great year you had! You crushed every challenge that came your way and transformed your running. It’s been fun to follow your journey and I love seeing the sights of Botswana!

    Happy New Year, Shathiso!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Given the year we’ve had, you’ve had an amazing running year, and it’s been brilliant to get to see you doing it! Well done for all of those achievements!!

    I ran further than I’ve ever run in a year before; I think there was so little else to do and I was also always thankfully able to get out, even if it was limited to an hour in the first lockdown for a while. I’ve lived for running and reading and they’ve kept life bearable.

    Here’s to a strong and healthy 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great 2020 recap!
    I actually ran through a train station this summer also.
    It was just a training run but it was the only way I could get across a river and a wide train corridor.
    The problem with running along a river or train tracks is that you can’t just take a turn and head home, you need to find a bridge!

    Liked by 1 person

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