After doing a few months of inconsistent trail running I decided to take on a huge challenge (for me) and enter St. Luke’s Hospices’ trail run at the end of August. Was I fit enough? Definitely not. But being motivated for personal reasons meant it was not a question, I was doing it.
Anyone who has gone through the experience of having St. Luke’s assist you when losing a loved one will understand their immeasurable value. I will never forget the day their sister burst through our gate (she probably didn’t burst but such was my panic at the time it felt like a much needed burst of energy and know-how) and take charge of a devastating situation. The support was incredible and while there was no changing the outcome, it made everything smoother and allowed us some quality time in my Dad’s last few weeks. They gave us the tools to prepare ourselves (and most importantly care for Dad in the best possible way) and now I wanted to do something to give back even if only in a small way. Also, the race was almost to the year of my Dad’s passing so held even greater significance.
A couple of weeks before the trail run I ran with a Saturday group of trailers and befriended Maura. She is one of those positive happy people that make life a lot brighter (remember in my last post I said you’d meet good people?). Even when I’ve muttered and moaned (okay, sworn) while fighting with my beloved mountain, she has motivated and inspired me. I asked her to run St. Luke’s with me and she did not hesitate. Her run was for her Mom, mine for my Dad.
I fell within the first kilometre. One of those silly falls where you trip over air. Somehow I got up with my battered leg, cut hand (blood!) and bruised ego (the worst!) and carried on. Those of you that know how the wind can blow in Cape Town will understand that at times we had to crouch to move forward. I was in hell. Maura ran like a gazelle.
Noel from Trail and Tar once said that we should always give thanks on our runs (usually at the highest peak) to whoever motivated us to get out there. I managed to shout (and mean) my thanks to my inspiring brother but thereafter I had to dig really deep to keep going. I don’t know that I would have got there had it not been for Maura’s constant motivation. And thinking about my Dad.
Now the only bone I will pick with St. Luke’s is that it said 17k’s and the race was in fact 18.5k’s. Let me just say that 1.5k’s extra to an unfit exhausted half-dead girl is a lot! I finished and was finished.
However, it taught me that we can do more than we think, we have the ability to conquer mountains (literally) and that having a passion for something will inspire you no matter what. And most importantly, that having wonderful family and friends means winning the gold.