Is it possible to be Friend Zoned by an inanimate object? Probably not, but read this anyway.

The Urban Dictionary defines the Friend Zone as: A state of being where a male inadvertently becomes a platonic friend of an attractive female with whom he was trying to initiate a romantic relationship. Females have been rumoured to arrive in the Friend Zone, but reports are unsubstantiated.

This sums up my attempts to have my way with silver medals at half-marathons. I came pretty close to sealing the deal with one at the Two Oceans earlier this year but had to settle with being one of the first bronzes. This is kind of like winning Miss Personality at a beauty contest, except it does nothing for world peace.

I’m no stranger to the Friend Zone and its Amish levels of action. I’ve endured the agony of hoping that one day my childhood sweetheart would have the decency to put out, but to no avail. Also, I’m a lifelong Stormers supporter so I know a thing or two about investing in effort and not seeing any results.

The 90 minute cut-off time at half-marathons is no different to the girl that you devote your selective hearing to. And at the Gun Run, I got Friend Zoned again. By one minute. Don’t get me wrong, I love medals of all colours but I don’t like the fact that right now that high-maintenance silver medal is gossiping with her girlfriends about how we are “just friends” and how I am a such great listener and really good at carrying shopping bags.

Despite my inability to hit sub-90, the Gun Run was a superb race that climbs and winds through one of the most scenic drives in the fairest Cape. This year’s route took runners through the spectacular views of Beach Road, Kloof Road, Bantry Bay and the Sea Point Promenade.

The race began with Patricia de Lille firing off a cannon. This must have confused the rest of Cape Town who no doubt thought this was the Noon Day Gun, which is the traditional signal for most Capetonians to wake up on week days. Fortunately, it was a Sunday and nobody ran the risk of being productive.


“Hey Ian. It’s Silver Medal here. Sorry I can’t hang out after the race, I got back together with that Kenyan. We should go shopping some time.”

I had been following a training programme designed by Professor Andrew Bosch of the South African Sports Science Institute that focused on getting plenty of kilometres in the legs in the months leading up to the race. Through this method I was able to get used to half-marathon distances and spending long hours on the road. The Newton Gravity shoes that I had been training in have corrected my running style that tended toward running on my heels. Running with a forefoot strike instigates a more natural running gait and provides more a better energy return, which came in handy on the deceptively long hill on Kloof Road.

Kudos to the softdrink company that refreshed 4 000 Gunrunners via osmosis with their convenient, easy-to-spill cups. It was a commendable exercise in product placement, as runners inevitably placed their product all over their bodies except for their mouths. That’s no fault of the race though, that’s just refreshment technology for you. Perhaps drinks companies should spend less of their budgets on chucking Austrians around space and more on getting their products inside people’s faces while they’re running.


“And then I turned to them and said, ‘Who needs guns when you have biceps like these?’ And then we laughed.”

Fellas, all I can say is: Don’t let the Friend Zone be the End Zone. I don’t really know what that means but it rhymes so that puts it up there with Catches win matches or Use it or lose it and other profound sayings that tracksuited poets would yell at us from the sidelines in PT classes at primary school.

In the meanwhile I live in hope of shaving off that glaring minute and escaping the Friend Zone. I’m taking solace in the fact I’m being relatively honest with all my shortcomings. If I were a cyclist I would have turned to drugs ages ago. Also, if Ron Weasley with all his impediments could blast through platonic purgatory and pull Hermione then I stand a chance of cracking sub-90.

That’s right, Silver Medal. I’m talking to you, you shiny tease. You just wait. I’ll win you over with my sweet nothings of forefoot strikes and the irresistible musk of the efforts of hill training. You’d best be prepared for the some vigorous heavy petting on the futon of athletic accomplishment.