My View from the Back (Last man standing)
By Rukayah Sadan
I know that many of you will read this and remember your first race, for some, it would be a fond memory, for others not, for me it’s a little bit of both. I bet you remember the feeling of exhilaration as you crossed the finish line, legs heavy, body aching, head spinning, your team mates cheering you on, tears streaming down your face, tears of exhaustion, tears of joy and best of all tears that it’s finally over. Your heart pounding, beating sooo fast you afraid it might just jump right out of your chest. The feeling is indescribable.
So after the Spar Ladies Race (which wasn’t too bad considering I walked most of the way) I decided to do the Prosano Challenge. No sweat, because if I get tired I can just walk again RIGHT? WRONG! About 5 or 10 minutes into the race I’m seriously questioning what I’ve gotten myself into when I hear a voice, “Keep going I’ll stick with you”, “No it’s fine you go ahead, you probably need to make good time” I say. “No” he says, “this is what I do, I am going to help you”. “Hi, I’m Ebrahim, just keep moving, you can do this”. So let me get this straight, this guy just comes out of the blue and thwarts all my walking plans, then tells me I can run, is this guy for real?
After 2km: “My legs are really sore, I am just going to walk a little bit ok”. Not okay, “This is a running club not a walking club, so keep moving you doing great”, says Hitler. “Come on you can do this, the walkers are walking faster than you are running”. Just kill me now someone pleeeeeese. After 3km: “Keep going the pain will go away”. “I think I am rather going to become a walker, I can walk real fast you know”. ‘Anyone can walk, but not everyone can run”, says the voice of reason. “Almost there” “I don’t think that I can do this”. “Of course you can, I was where you were, you’re doing great, these people looking at you are admiring you because they don’t think that big people can run”, they think that big people should be having a burger at Macdonald’s for breakfast and look you are proving them wrong. I am actually starting to like this guy even though a burger so won’t be bad right now. After 5km: The pains are gone, but my legs are soo heavy. By now I have learnt about the history of Itheko, how it was started, what happened when coach Farouk broke his ankle, something about Waleed (can’t remember), Ebrahim’s ID number, his favourite food, the ages of both his kids and his wife’s dress size (I kid you not). It kind of feels like its getting better, but I am not entirely sure, 5km to go, it seems like forever. “There we go you are moving a bit faster, look how well you are doing. You see you CAN do this. Just promise me you won’t give up”. I am looking good, as good as you can look with sweat pouring down my face, my fingers so swollen they look like Boeta Cassiems Worsies, and I am wet, thanks to Ebrahim’s attempts to cool me down by squirting ice water down my back, next time please warn me first …brrr. 9km: Home stretch, last km, some really mad people screaming and shouting their support (Thanks guys – Mwah!). Joined by my brother Mogamad (I think he’s my biggest fan/supporter) and together the 3 of us run towards the finish. You are almost there Rukayah, not far now. In through the gates, down the little hill (or was it a mountain). Elana Meyer eat your heart out. Are those Itheko people cheering and clapping for me? OMG they are, don’t cry Rukayah, don’t cry, waahhaaaahhaa snik snik, okay cry.
Tears running, nose running, me running over the finish line ALGAMDULILAH. Its over and I lived to tell the tale. I JUST RAN MY FIRST 10KM and guess what I made cut off by just under 1 minute.
What an amazing journey, Ebrahim my hero, my guardian angel. I would never have made it without your patience, motivation and the little pushes you literally gave me now and again. There’s a lot I have left out but none that I will ever forget. You motivated me the whole way and I can’t explain how it felt to have someone I don’t know believe in me so unconditionally. I know I complained a lot and there were probably times you wished I would just shut up but this has been an experience of note and this memory will live with me forever. I will always remember your words and I am sure they will carry me through many races. Bet you never thought you could ever finish a race in just over 1hr58min again. But hey someone needs to promote the club from the back.
To my fellow runners (who all ran away from me), WELL DONE! To the Itheko Family that came out on Saturday, Thank you for the warm welcome and for the well wishes as I entered the gates. I have listened to all of you and I have taken heed of all your stories and advice. I have learnt a lesson from you and that is through hard work and perseverance, lots of sweat, a little bit of tears and thankfully no blood yet I can achieve my goals, it can only get better from here. As a wise man said whilst running alongside me (very slowly) I might never come first, and I might always be last, the important thing is that I keep moving, that I don’t give up and that I cross that finish line.
One day InshaAllah (God Willing) I will get there but for now I will continue running slower than I walk, with both feet off the ground.