OMTOM: the sound that a 21km half-marathon makes as it chews you up.
Omtom nom om…
And because this one just happened to be in a torrential downpour, making my nipples peekaboo through my white vest and filling up my shoes with water, there was the sequential:
Squelch, squelch, squelch…
Add to this the fact that I hadn’t really done any roadwork, and you can imagine the 2 Oceans really savoring the mouth feel of a novice runner traversing its gaping maw.
My friend Brad – who should next try his hand at a business called Good Intentions Paving Co. – had entered the race a while back, only to blame his bum back for not being able to follow through, and so he offered me his race number.
I accepted on the grounds that I’d been doing all of this boxing training and playing the weekly football match and swimming every day, and it would be nice to see if it translated to being able to run a marathon. But to be honest I wouldn’t have been terribly upset had he forgotten about his offer.
He didn’t, and on Friday night I laced the Race-Tec chip through my Adidas Kanadia shoes, and pinned Brad’s number to the Bintang vest I bought in Bali. Both of which served me fine, but it was the Hurley Phantom boardshorts that really impressed me. Not only did I look much better than the other guys in their poly-shorts, but because there are no seams, extra stretch and the fabric rejects water, they played a huge role in the comfort of my run.
Still, as comfortable as I was, if it wasn’t for all the people on the sidelines shouting:
“Go Brad!” and “Nicely Brad!” and “Almost there Brad, keep pushing, boy!”
I would’ve almost definitely stopped and walked.
But when you see people who have pulled themselves out of bed on a Saturday morning, just to stand in the rain and watch what is quite possibly the worst spectator sport after golf, that or a 70-year old hunchbacked man pumping up a hill, it makes you tap into your reserves.
So I kept on putting one foot in front of the other, using the runner in front of me to pull myself along.
The runner in front of me was almost always a young hard body wearing form fitting running gear. (The nice thing about OMTOM, especially the 21km, is that girls outnumber guys. And call me a creep, but a lot of these girls had obviously put in the work and are the type to post their runs on RunKeeper and hashtag it #bunsofsteel.)
The end was a pretty lackluster affair. No Chariots Of Fire, no socializing on the UCT field, instead I just grabbed my bronze medal and my Coke, trudged through the mud, shook off the sludge and then continued to jog all the way home.
It was 8:30 am when I got home, and my wife and kids were still asleep.
So much for the welcoming party.