Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Nike We Run Jozi 10 k 2012

The Nike We Run Jozi 10 k - where on earth do I start?  Maybe I should start by confessing why I entered this race in the first place.  I entered long before the race route was revealed, simply to be a part of something big.  To be one of 400 000 runners from 17 countries and 34 cities to take to the streets and "run the city".  To experience the race day atmosphere, earn the medal and be able to say: "I was a part of that".

Why I initially entered the race: Bells and whistles.  [Source.]

The race route was only revealed weeks after my entry was confirmed: The race would start in Sandton (one of the wealthiest suburbs in Johannesburg) and then run through Alexandra, one of the poorest townships in the country.  Now, you should know that, growing up in South Africa, the only news about Alexandra that ever reached us (on the other side of the country), was bad news.  Violence.  Poverty.  Revolt.  And the thought of running through all of that on foot was quite intimidating.  Even scary.     

Did the race deliver?  Absolutely. The atmosphere: Electric.  The organisation: Outstanding.  The medal: One of the best in S.A.  But you know what?  In the end none of that mattered.  Because this race gave me something that no other race has ever given me before: It touched my heart.  It introduced me to the people of Alexandra and allowed me to see the world through their eyes for a brief 60 minutes: The groups of little ones holding out their hands for a high five from passing runners, squealing with delight each time they got one.  The salt-of-the-earth grandma, wearing her Sunday best, proudly welcoming us to her neighbourhood.  The vuvuzelas and the goats in the streets.  The family man with his kid on his shoulders, thanking us for our support.  The hundreds of smiles, despite the circumstances.  The grey old man in his suit, staring at the passing spectacle in disbelief.  And the school kids urging you to "run faster!", even though your heart already felt like it was going to explode.

Observing the passing spectacle.  [Source.]

Waiting for a high five.  [Source.]

All smiles.  [Source.]

Thank you, people of Alexandra, for welcoming us into your neighbourhood and teaching us so much in such a short period of time.  For reminding us how blessed we are.  For showing us again that one should always walk a mile in another's shoes before making any kind of harsh judgement.  For confirming what a beautiful rainbow nation we form a part of.  And for reminding us again why we love this country that we all call home.     

3 comments:

  1. Nice report! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. You must do the Soweto marathon if you haven't done so yet. One of a kind marathon. It seems that everyone that ran the Jozi enjoyed it a lot. What's next for you?

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  2. What a wonderful experience. I am glad you enjoyed the race and the atmosphere. As I told you SA is in my wishing list but the problem is that my wife is scared to fly.

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  3. You are rright it sounds like something big. Specially when it mentions people from different countries and a huge amount of people.

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