I sat on the other side of the pond watching Comrades on an app this year. Two sub-stories felt very real to me. Kerstin and Simone have both written guest posts for Swart Donkey. They were both running at about the pace I ran last year. Simone was supporting then, and saw me just before the final cut off. She knew exactly the right things to say. Kerstin had to make the same tough call I did, telling her friends to go on ahead. Although these two inspirational ladies don't know each other, their dots on my app were side by side for almost 12 hours. They both just missed the very last cut off, after 80km, by the skin of their chins. Makes me wonder how many other people with similar struggles push on in parallel. Ceci and Kerstin described the day...
Cecilia, Kerstin & Elke
Three Hamburg Ladies
By far: we have fought this one out... it was the hardest race I have done in my life and I don't know if I could have done it on my own...
Kerstin Dirks & Elke Sommerlade supported me up to the point were Kerstin was feeling weaker and told us to go on. it was a heartbreaking moment but this we had to promise each other before in case one of us was feeling bad.
The hills on the first 45k plus the heat were so hard on me... 'ZINIKELE' 'it takes all of you' says it all...: it was simply hard and people were fighting their way through... luckily in this race there is so much unity and everybody helps each other - I have never seen that in any other race! It felt like a battle together... on the 60k mark the water supply ran out for about 3 drink stops... that was the most frightening moment in this race...
Elke & I were worried so much about Kerstin and we didn't know that this girl had soldiered on by herself... this gives me the most goosebumps... you are my true heroine in this Kiki 💛!!
Elke and I had developed a mantra to get through this race: with every step we would say 'easy' - like a military-mantra... just to tell each other we can and to take us to the finish line... there were many moments to give up, but my head would not allow it, luckily neither did Elke... the km's streched and the last hill 'Little Pollies' wasn't little at all... the last ks were the worst as we new we had to run to make it to the finish line in time... it was the hardest race I have done.. I could not enjoy it as we were battling so hard... but having my vision to cross the finish line stamped in my head I truly more than wanted to finish my challenge... it's incredible how your mind can lead you through...
I am thankful for so many things... but truly thankful to have had Elke on my side... it wouldn't have worked if we wouldn't have supported each other - she more than once took my hand and this is what this race is about: its about companionship.
Elke and Cecilia
How does it feel to be sent out of a race? At the very last Cut off? After approximately 80K? With just 8K to go. On the highest point of the track? After 1000 m altitude? Because you arrived 2 minutes to late? PUZZLED. On the one hand you are disappointed and angry about yourself, about the sun and 27 degrees, and of course you dislike this hill - Polly Shortts. But on the other hand you are proud! You haven't given up, you were running through the 5th cut off at 62 K just to go on with the race, you overtook others and stayed focused again, after having made the decision to let your friends go after 35 K. You feel it was an honour to come this far. And you smile in the second another participant offers you a cracker ;) And finally you feel loved meeting your friends after the race, getting all the nice messages from everyone who followed (thx) and a lot of hugs. And additionally you are getting a medal from your friend because she managed to do the back2back. ❤️