GOING THE DISTANCE | Get training, events are going to happen
Two meaningful cross country fixtures have taken place in the past three weeks and were highly successful in respect of youth development.
Having lived through the past two years of minuscule sporting activity it is not lost on the youngsters, their parents or guardians what it meant to young lives.
To see the bright smiles, magnificent effort and the general euphoria from running outdoors has been inspiring to all.
What this achieves, it is hoped, is to tell all would-be event organisers that nothing is impossible.
All it really takes is a desire, a plan and the runners will come. And of course, the support of governing bodies who must be coerced into adopting a positive attitude.
Admittedly, not every runner has the will to overcome some of the logistical challenges of competing, but those who are hungry for competition, chasing goals and making memories will.
The size of the field is not important to a race’s success, as indeed cross country confirmed and as did the odd road race in midyear.
Talk is that the number of runners deemed “safe” to have at an outdoor race is about to move up to 250 or even 500.
If this is confirmed to be accurate reporting, then local races definitely become more viable, and I imagine sponsors will be reignited in their desire to support communities.
As mentioned last week, numerous locals are travelling to the Western Cape for the Sanlam Cape Town City Marathon and success at so high-profile a race will undoubtedly add further impetus to road running, ushering in a comeback to racing in all provinces.
The Tony Viljoen Marathon has just missed its date scheduled for Sunday past, which is rather sad given the fast nature of the route, while none of the other races on the fixture list have openly suggested they are ready to go.
We should hope that Cape Town sets runners free.
When races do launch, there are likely to be a few surprises in the age categories given the 18 months of not keeping tabs on potential new opposition, while those 18 months could have either positive or negative effects upon the category winners from 2019.
Either the rest from over-racing or an insufficient maintenance programme being in place to establish peak fitness soonest could be the result.
Required to rejuvenate interest in training, racing et al is the return of a race such as the Buffalo Marathon.
I phoned Craig Nelson to share that thought given the years gone of training together, sparring all the while in both racing and ideas, and he came back with a positive reply “the last weekend of February”.
Every road runner should rally around and encourage Buffs and other clubs to do just that.
The Comrades Marathon is the catalyst that feeds marathons and ultra-events around SA and so too does the Buffs marathon and half marathon lend interest to all forms of running in our province.
It is too early to be training specifically for a marathon five months down the line but by employing a meaningful programme to build up to an 18-week plan of focus is a great idea.
Yes, you need to be running regularly right now, building a base to launch your marathon training on Monday October 25.
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