Friday, 22 March 2013

Race Report: NGK Universitas 10 k

Yesterday was a public holiday (Human Rights Day) in South Africa, and to my delight one of the local churches in our area celebrated it by hosting a 10 kay race - yay!  I discovered that the race route would wind through a quiet, safe part of town and  decided to run with Baby Girl and the stroller - our very first 10 kay race together!

Dutch Reformed Church Universitas (source).

It was a glorious morning - the thermometer in my car read 22 degrees Celsius at 06:45 a.m. (the race started at 07:00 a.m.) and there was absolutely no wind.  Perfect.  As Baby Girl and I were busy chatting away, setting up the stroller and loading up on baby bottles, fruit pouches and the like, an elderly gentleman (also participating in the race) approached us for what I thought would be some friendly pre-race chatter.  Boy, was I wrong.  He started giving me some straight up, in-my-face criticism about running with a baby in a stroller.  Right there and then, in front of everyone.  Wow.  Totally unexpected and so hurtful.  Each to his own, I guess, right?

The girls!

Anyway, Baby Girl asked for a quick top-up right before the race started, so we stood right at the back in case she was still drinking when the starting gun fired.  She ended up finishing her bottle right as the minister said "amen" after his starting line prayer and with that, we were off!  After crossing two busy-ish streets (traffic was stopped for us by traffic officials), we entered the campus grounds of the local university (where I also completed my studies many moons ago!), where the largest part of the race took place.  The streets were deserted that early on a public holiday, which made for perfect, safe running conditions with my Girl - loved it!

The route was relatively flat, with a few gradual climbs here and there, but nothing too serious.  But let me tell you this: At about the 8 kay mark I could definitely start feeling that we were doing a 10 kay and not a 5 - it was tough!  We got so much encouragement from fellow runners along the way, though, so we kept pushing.  

Upon seeing the 9 kilometer marker I thought we were home free, but right as we passed it, Baby Girl announced that she wanted out.  She had had enough.  [My general rule of thumb for running with Baby Girl is that if and when she wants out, we stop.  She very, very rarely fusses in the stroller (to give you an idea: this is only the third time she's ever fussed in all of our 11 months of running together), so if she fusses, I know that she's really had enough.]  And we're a team, so we stopped.  I took her out of the stroller, and we walked and chatted the final kilometer to the finish line.  (A kind gentleman offered to run the stroller to the finish line for us while we walked, which I gladly accepted - thanks so much!!)

Our pace chart says it all (click to enlarge).

In the end we still finished in less than an hour (our official finishing time was 58:19), but this race just reminded me again that running with my Girl is not about good finishing times or medals or winning.  It's about spending time together, and having fun.  Both of us.  Right until the end.  And that's exactly what we did yesterday.    


  1. A beautiful morning of sport and a nice adventure with your baby-girl.
    I don't succeed in understanding the bad behavior of the elder man.
    Memories: in Edinburgh 3 years ago, during a 5 km, I was smoked by a woman with the stroller!

  2. What a wonderful memory. I got a bit sappy reading about you stopping and walking with your kiddo when she wanted out. I don't know why, it just hit me in that special spot. Great job on your race! And even better job on knowing what is important when running with your girl!

    As to that guy, I have nothing nice to say.

  3. Well done Karien, that's a cracking time to say you were running with Junior in a stroller. You must be jolly fit! And oh God, how I envy you that 22ÂșC. Send some of that warmth over here where it's currently snowing and sub zero in the wind chill.

  4. This is such an inspiring story, great job mama, following you now!


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