As race day creeps ever closer the streets and beaches seem to be getting forever busier with runners peaking or in many instances simply cramming to ensure they make the 17.5km from Kwelera Mouth to Nahoon Beach.
Those who know what to expect come race day will vary their training with some tar (for the Gonubie stretch) some beach for those long stretches of sand and some rocks and pebbles to improve balance and mobility over such terrain.
The Sunrise-on-Sea parkrun takes in some of the Surfers course so that is a good option as is the Kidds Beach parkrun which also takes in some beach.
Speed is great and strength better still for even the front runners have to worry about soft sand now that there is a 10 plus kilometre and a junior 5km that starts earlier and the participants of which, churn up the beach.
The beaches have been looking magnificent, especially the stretch from German Bay to Bonza Bay and runners would be well advised to take it all in on this stretch and not to dwell too much on how heavy the legs may feel.
Entries are streaming in and it is best to take advantage of the early bird entry fee.
The sporting life, the health and wellness of the citizens of East London and indeed the Eastern Cape should always be centre stage for the authorities. They should provide the facilities, the stadia and the where-with-all for event organisers, coaches, clubs and schools to become the best they can be.
The Discovery Surfers Challenge is one of those events that has runners, walkers, paddlers and indeed families out in their hundreds preparing for the event.
Ironman is not for everyone, nor is paddling the ocean, or running, rowing, or walking, but every one of those activities will be in the limelight over the next two months, generating and injecting millions of rand into the local economy and enhancing our own self image in many cases.
Recent media coverage of some of our facilities is damning, while the hopefully temporary loss of one of the biggest community events in the history of East London has been devastating on families and others.
One of the oldest of the “good news” events is the Discovery Surfers Challenge and in just three weeks time up to 4000 odd folk will be running, walking and paddling from Kwelera Mouth or Gonubie to the Nahoon Beach.
With just three weeks to go there is not much that can be done to improve fitness, but as in any such pursuit, Surfers is also goverened by the brain and thought processes. Thus it would be a fine idea to get out at least five days per week in the build up and do something, almost anything. Walk to the shop, don’t drive, walk the kids to school, walk to work if it is feasible, but keep active.
In his book The Primal Blueprint, Mark Sissons, once a top American marathoner, tri-athlete and a man who has also finished 4th at the World Ironman Championships has a 10 point guide to health and wellness, and thus performance. This is what he says: 1) Eat good amounts of plants and animals, inclusive of fat. 2) Avoid poisonous things like processed foods, hydrogenerated oils, sugars, grains, inclusive of wholegrains – they are he says “foreign to our genes and make us fat and sick.” 3) Move frequently at a slow pace – try that one with runners, I know, but it works. 4) Lift heavy things with brief intense sessions. I would suggest even working in the garden and moving heavy objects would surfice. 5) Sprint once in a while. This triggers optimal gene expression and beneficial hormone flow. 6) Get adequate sleep and avoid artificial light. 7) Play – balance modern stresses with unconstructed fun. I have found out that children are the answer. 8) Get adequate sunlight – Vit D for healthy cell function 9) Avoid stupid mistakes – ouch. 10) Use your brain – engage in creative activities to nurture mental health and overall well-being.
In the short time that is left, visualisation would be a great way to get you mentally in shape. Find a coach or mentor who understands athletes, who has enjoyed success, both personally and with others. Such people are perhaps tough to find as even our national teams are finding out, but it is worth the search, you cannot do it all on your own.
The Discovery Surfers Challenge has confronted one of its own biggest challenges – that of littering along the route.
The organising committee has shown leadership and awareness by joining forces with the #RunClean Campaign.
The following points have been identified as being crucial to the success and most importantly awareness of the campaign:
* #RunClean branding will be highly visible at point of registration, on the registration forms and along the Surfers route for maximum awareness to runners and spectators alike.
* Water Points have been reduced from six down to just four. The eliminated water points are one that led directly onto the beach in a secluded environment and another on a beach itself.
* The final beach water point at Bonza Bay will have a “Drop Zone” tunnel with bins stretching 15 meters on either side. These will be branded as #RunClean zones.
* Nets will be used at both the Gonubie and Nahoon river crossings in order to catch any loose plastic water sachets
* Local schools in East London will be involved in a clean-up operation, forming part of their CSI portfolio. They will both assist in cleaning up around all water points and in sweeping beaches and roads.
This is the first year of the campaign.
The Discovery Surfers will have its second Comrades winner running in 2016.
Admittedly last years women’s winner, Caroline Worstmann will not run the full 17.5km Surfers but will tackle the 10 plus instead.
The latter race will be run for just the third time against the main event’s 42nd year.
Wosrstmann will be the first defending and current Comrades winner to tackle the race. The only other winner to run Surfers is Bruce Fordyce who will be doing his 10th on the same day.
Fordyce first came to run Surfers in the twilight of his illustrious career when his nine wins and numerous gold medals were finally a thing of the past.
Worstmann is a great runner and has a magnificent story to tell. One which should inspire every runner and women in particular.
She is also the current Two Oceans 56km Champion.
A recent swop over from her previous club to the new KPMG is interesting, though she retains her coach, Lindsey Parry, who worked wonders with her in 2015.
Surfers ambassador Hanlie Botha, has indicated a willingness to organise a Sunday run with Worstmann and our own 13th placed comrades runner, Stephanie Smith, along with their other training mates.
There are few nationally and internationally marketable runners, but Caroline Worstmann is most certainly one and she looks set to become the face of road running in South Africa for some time to come. A very refreshing arrival indeed.