After months of preparation and excitement, the Cape Town Marathon weekend was finally here! As you may know, if you’ve read one of my previous blogs, I made the decision to switch from the Marathon distance to the 10km a while ago for several reasons. It was a decision made with some sadness, but I knew it was the right and sensible thing to do.
As a competitive runner, I now needed a goal! The 10km distance wasn’t a challenge for me but what was would be working to a personal best (PB) time. So here we go Cape Town Marathon 10k!
After a little shakeout run and walk the day before the race, I visited the expo with the Africa Marathons team where we picked up our race numbers and enjoyed a bit of retail therapy.
We also got to meet some of the Cape Town Marathon Team and chat about the event. The expo was buzzing with excitement, and it was great to see so many people there who were about to take on the challenge.
After a relaxing afternoon, we joined in with the pasta buffet that was organised at our hotel for the runners. There were a lot of athletes who were staying there and it was nice to get chatting to them. We even saw a few familiar faces including Elana Meyer, the ex-South African long-distance runner, who won silver in the 1992 Olympics.
After a nice dinner, it was back to my room to prepare my kit and for an early night, as my alarm was going off at 5 am.
I actually woke up before my alarm at 4.15 am and I couldn’t get back to sleep due to a mix of excitement and nerves. I met one of the Africa Marathons team members for an early breakfast, which the hotel had put on for the runners. I loved that the drinks station included Powerade!
Once I was all ready to go we walked to the start. It wasn’t too far away and it gave my legs a bit of a warm-up. After a last-minute toilet stop and bag drop, I was ready to go! I got in my pen and soaked up the atmosphere, which was brilliant. A choir sang the Peace Song and National Anthem, which was quite moving.
At 7.30 the gun went and I was off! Thankfully I was in Pen B, which meant I was able to be quick from the start. I was especially glad about this doing a 10k as one slow kilometre over that distance is often enough to ruin your chances of a good time.
The other things I soon realised were how flat the course was and that it was a cool morning, perfect conditions for a potential PB! After leaving the Cape Town stadium area, we were soon onto the route along Beach Road, which was stunning.
The kilometres went by pretty quickly and I was able to keep a good pace. I developed a bit of a stitch around 4km, but thankfully it didn’t impede me too much and it didn’t last long. At around the 5k along Beach Road, we turned back and ran on the Cape Town promenade.
We went past an African band, which were brilliant and before long I was onto the final stretch. At this point, I knew that if I could hold my pace, I was on for a PB!
As we turned off the beach the sight of Table Mountain and the stadium were ahead, which gave me a big boost as I was starting to struggle at this point. I kept going and then hit the finish carpet where I gave it the biggest sprint finish I could find! I finished in 48 minutes 56 seconds, but I’d ran 10.12km, so on my Garmin, it measured as 48.22, which is what I’m taking! I did it, a PB by over a minute! At this point, I felt pretty nauseous from that sprint finish, but that soon eased after having a little can of Coke. It was now time to celebrate with the Africa Marathons team!
After the race, we decided a celebratory beer was in order and who cares that it was 8.30 am! We then got some photos and met up with some of the Cape Town Marathons Team. We were then very privileged to be introduced to Francois Pienaar, the South Africa rugby legend, who was one of the race ambassadors. He was great to chat to and I certainly felt small next to him!
It was then time to head off and re-fuel and relax post-race! In summary, I absolutely loved this event, regardless of my time. It was well organised, it had a great atmosphere, and it had a real sense of togetherness amongst all of the athletes.
For anyone wanting to run a PB, I would highly recommend this race as its perfect for it. And the best bit of it all, I now get to enjoy a few days in beautiful Cape Town!