Poisoned Chalice or Fool’s Errand?

Report back on the Dawn to Dusk 80km Running Race in August 2013


A few weeks ago [July 2013] I became aware that Nigel was becoming concerned about my running ability. Normally when one has a running mate and one beats them convincingly without even trying, one has no compassion. One just feels elated at thrashing one’s competitor.

Then it struck me. It had nothing whatsoever to do with empathy or even sometimes a mock show of compassion, but real unadulterated concern: the Dawn to Dusk was drawing neigh!

Nigel definitely had a Poisoned Chalice!

The fact that I was battling to finish a half marathon without being horse-whipped – figuratively of course – obviously was of concern to Nigel. As a safety measure, he was started doing the visualisation exercises that Arnold had taught him some years ago as he envisaged that I would collapse in a lump after 21kms and instruct him to finish on his own.

He even resorted to purchasing an air-sickness bag which he made me hold whenever it was his turn to drive. I wonder whether he actually expected me to use it. He assiduously ensured that I held the end with the instruction Vomit this Side in my right hand. In case there was collateral damage in the form of some unintended splatter, he conscientiously placed a king size towel over my lap and placed thick plastic sheets on top of the carpeting.

Obviously my visualisation sessions with Arnold were not working either. After completing a race, I visualised looking red or pink; any colour but green! From Nigel’s snide comments about the colour of trees, bushes and grass, it become evident to me that I still required some more visualisation lessons from Arnold as well. In fact I need a refund. Maybe Nigel can give me a legal opinion in this regard. Is one entitled to a refund when the lessons were on special? And if so, what is the current legal judgement on lessons that were gratis?

For those of you have never done the Dawn to Dusk, or even heard of it, let me explain. One starts running at 6am and runs through to 6pm that night. The winner is that person who has the highest mileage but one has to run a minimum of 80kms to finish.

Because I am such a wussie nowadays, the Organisers have created a special race entitled The Wussie’s Dawn to Dusk especially for me. Because I don’t want to be associated with a wussie’s race, I just inform my friends and family proudly that I ran the Dawn to Dusk. I employ the same strategy with the Two Oceans. I also proclaim that I ran the Two Oceans whereas in reality I ran the No Oceans Half Marathon as one does even get a glimpse of water, let alone an Ocean.

The Wussie’s version involves running with a team mate, and in this case Nigel could easily become an erstwhile Running Mate. The distance is still a minimum of 80 kays but it is shared between the two Team Members or, if the one bails, the remaining balance is re-apportioned to the surviving Team Member!

Therein lay Nigel’s concern!

Don’t think that I was also not nervous about running the D2D. But I was committed to it.

Gerrie, the Organiser, and local HG Kerk dominee, was at his usual best with his straight-laced humour while Neels Vermeulen was the Announcer cum DJ. Fortunately somebody had hidden his stand-by CDs by little known Afrikaans Orkese such as the four member Kraaifontein Drieling with their 3 chord songs, doem-doem bass and whack-whack-whump drum beat. Clearly it was actually the Kraaifontein Tweeling, Pietie & his Boetie, klein Pietie, with their well-known song, “Lulu ek will me jou kom doedoe” which topped the Boere Orkes charts for 5 straight years. Nevertheless, Neels did manage to sneak in Jessica about 20 times. Nobody seemed to notice as they were brain dead by then.

Gerrie then committed the cardinal sin by calling Estelle by her maiden name and then, remembering otherwise, announced, “O! JAAAA! Ek het mos vir julle twee, jare verlede getrou. NATUUUUUUURLIK is sy Estelle Croukamp!”

What a recovery!

The cold front had hit the Reef on Friday night. Unfortunately it was a lazy wind as it refused to go around one but just went straight through one. I might have been unfit but I was not brain dead as I instructed Nigel to open the batting by starting first.

Taking into account the wind chill factor, the temperature must have been below zero. Instead of running, I was sitting and freezing.

Then it was my turn. And then Nigel’s and then mine.

Ad nauseam!

In an atmosphere of gloom, Nigel clearly expected to watch me stagger and falter. But with nary a missed beat, I soldiered on. At 14h00, the problems arose. After alternatively stopping and starting, warming up and cooling down, the legs rebelled. They started cramping. As I watched Nigel go through his own bad patch, I realised that I would actually be forced to run 40 kms and – heaven forbid – maybe I would even be called upon to complete Nigel’s share.

At 17h00, we both got a second wind. The cramp was gone and I was clear headed, determined to run to the gun at 18H00.

As the temperature rapidly dropped, we regained our strength and speeded up.

What a finish. Eighty eight kilometres in total, forty four each. Nigel was faster than me but only marginally so.

What he had forgotten was the air-sickness bag and the splatter catcher which I left them behind on the school grounds!

2013 Dawn to Dusk #2


Other Articles on Running:

My Comrades Marathon: An Abiding Memory

My Comrades Debut and Swansong, all in one Race



My Running Redux

The Journey from Searing Back-Pain in late 2013 to Running Races again in Respectable Times



Poisoned Chalice or Fool’s Errand?

Report back the Dawn to Dusk 80km Running Race in August 2013



My Mid-Life Crisis: How did I attempt to regain my lost youth?

What did it take me to get over my mid-life crisis in my early forties?



Ashley Wood – In Memoriam



IoT: What impact will it have on Road Running?

The possibilities of the latest technology – the Internet of Things – are ruminated upon



A Drab and Unremarkable Race with Pretensions: Gauteng Sports Challenge

Gauteng requires a big city marathon on the scale of the London Marathon but the Gauteng Sports Challenge doesn’t fit the bill



A Running Experience: A Hill too Far

On this day, the Loskop 50km ultra marathon running race had one hill too many, Faraday’s Hill. It was to be my nemesis.



The First Time



Andre Hydenryck – In Memoriam

Andre Hydenryck – In Memoriam


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