After a week of superlative and decidedly non-wintry winter weather in Cape Town, the temperatures dropped and the rain clouds moved across the mountains just in time for the weekend. We had agreed to meet our friend Colette on Sunday morning for another 5 km fun walk, this time around the neighbourhood of Claremont Primary School, if it wasn’t raining too much.
When the cellphone alarm roused us from deep sleep at 6am this morning, a blustery wind was shattering solid droplets of rain against the window panes.
“So, are we getting up?”
Yaaaaawn… I stretched luxuriously all the way from the finger tips to the toes, careful not to disturb Tuffy-Cat, who was curled up tightly against my stomach, paws across her eyes, shutting out the world.
“I dunno… let’s wait a few minutes… see if the rain stops.”
Five minutes later, just as we were about to sink back into the land of nod, it did. Suddenly, the world outside fell silent.
“Right, so are we getting up?”
Deep breath, flinging the duvet to the side.
“Okay. Let’s do this!”
Ten minutes and a half-banana each later, dressed in two layers (Richard) and five layers (me), we reversed the car out of the driveway, as a very faint drizzle misted the windscreen. We weren’t entirely sure where the school was, but knew it was somewhere off Campground Road; fortunately, the marshalls were already on duty, waving us into a small side road.
We quickly found parking on an open field, where the parking attendants were doing a fantastic job, aligning all the cars in neat rows. Colette arrived at the same time, and we followed the crowds down the road to the sports field, where a couple of tents had been set up near the finish line. Registration went really quickly – the organisation at these events is excellent!
Just before 07h30, we made our way down to the start, where the runners of the 8 km race were already lining up, hopping up and down and jogging in place to keep warm, and impatiently waiting for the bang of the starter’s pistol. As soon as they had left, we took our places among the large group of 5 km fun runners and walkers.
Busloads of youngsters in yellow t-shirts, identifying them as JAG runners, came running up from the back, pushing and shoving their way through the crowds to the starting line. Their excitement was infectious. As soon as the rope dropped, they sprinted down the road, shouting and whooping with delight. Colette broke into a gentle yog, and said she’d wait for us at the finish line.
We started walking quite briskly – a little too briskly, as the legs were definitely not warmed up yet, and the calves started to whinge and twinge a bit after the first 500 metres… but we felt like challenging ourselves to see how fast we could walk the 5 km, if we kept up a solid pace. Apart from that, only the first 2000 finishers in the 5 km walk would be receiving medals – and despite the cold and wet weather, there seemed to be a LOT of entrants, so we didn’t want to reach the finish without getting a medal. In addition, I was planning to attend a church parade at Cape Field Artillery’s regimental headquarters in Fort iKapa at 10h00, in celebration of their 153rd birthday, and I didn’t want to be late for that.
As a result, we kept up a good walking pace for the entire ‘race’. We were just getting into our stride, and saying how remarkable it was that the rain had held off so far, when the clouds above us opened, and we got pelted with hail! Within a matter of minutes, our trousers were completely soaked… Mental note: Gotta get some quick-drying leggings or tracksuit pants! Walking quickly in sodden trousers that stick tightly to your legs is not fun.
The route led us around a maze of small suburban streets, among cute houses with neat gardens, each intersection guarded by a marshall or two, holding aloft their red flags to make sure that we didn’t step out of line. 🙂 At some stage, we walked through the very pretty Keurboom Park. The rest of the route went straight along Campground Road, until we turned down towards the sports field once more. As we approached the field from the back, Colette shouted encouragement at us! She had finished her race a little bit earlier, and was proudly waving her medal in the air.
Uplifted by the excitement of being so close to the finish, and energised by the cheers of those who had already finished their race and were now cheering on their compatriots and fellow runners/walkers, we broke into a jog for the last hundred metres or so to the finish line. It felt simply awesome!!!
As we crossed the finish line, we proudly took receipt of our numbers (I think mine was 823, and Richard was 824), and our medals. Woo-hoo!!!
I’m glad we got up this morning after all.