Tick… tock… tick… tock…
The clock is ticking… There’re seven days and counting til the World Ultra Trail Champs 2013 in north Wales, where the SA team will be battling it out against 80 men and 60 women from 22 countries.
While SA’s sports administrators squabble in their boardrooms and play at politics, leaving the country’s road, track and field athletes foundering about their future, SA’s trail running fraternity is gearing up for two massive opportunities to showcase its best.
This time next week, Saturday 6 July, a team of seven of SA’s top ultra-distance trail runners, (3 men, 4 women), will be competing in the 4th IAU World Trail Running Championships in Gwydyr Forest, Llanrwst, North Wales (IAU World Ultra Trail Running Champs 2013). And in five weeks’ time, on Saturday 3 August, eight of our country’s best long distance trail speedsters (4 men, 4 women) will be blasting the field in the World Long Distance Mountain Challenge in Poland (World Mountain Running Long Distance Champs 2013)
To say athletics is a hot topic in South Africa at the moment is an understatement. It has been in a mess, plagued by financial maladministration and fraught with corruption for years. The few good souls (or single good soul?) in the ranks trying to steer the gravy train towards straighter tracks have/has a hugely unenviable task.
That trail running happens to be the one sport within SA athletics that will be representing the country internationally right now says everything about our sport: as a fraternity we’re not swayed by politics and we’re driven by our passion for our sport. Just yesterday we saw an act that epitomises the essence of trail running – the community rallied together to raise more than R12 000 to enable SA’s long distance trail champ, Thabang Madiba, to get to the race in Poland. In just a few hours, trail runners did what our highly paid sports administrators weren’t able to do in more than a year. It says it all, really.
Political gripes aside, the team for Wales is ready! I’m proud to say I’m on that team, together with Charl Souma, Christiaan Greyling, Dirk Cloete, Tracy Zunckel, Landie Greyling and Chantel Nienaber. And we’re so excited to soon be standing on the start line in our Green+Gold, shoulder to shoulder with many of the world’s best.
Truth be known, I’m terrified. My build up hasn’t been nearly what I’d have wanted it to be – an inflamed sesamoid bone in my foot has meant my mileage and training intensity has been far less than what it should be for an ultra. But one thing’s for sure – I’m certainly not OVER-trained!
Tick… tock… tick… tock…