The members that have never served on the race committee will not gather the time and effort that goes into planning a race. No matter how much effort you put in, there is always something that will go wrong, or could be done better. So it stands to reason that after every race, the race committee get together and have a feedback session (post mortem) so to speak. After the ultra, the group decided that they will take a week off, and first gather their thoughts before getting together at Louis’s house for the feedback.
Well, maybe, just maybe one of the race committee members did not have that many thoughts to gather and arrived at Louis’s place of residence, Cornwall Hill one week earlier than what was decided. Werner v/d Merwe first smelled a rat when the security at the gate shrugged their shoulders and informed him they are not aware of his expected arrival at this residential area.
Doubt flooded his mind, could they, the rest of the committee have forgotten about him? Did he do something wrong that he was left off the guest list deliberately? Do the rest of the committee or be it Wynand or Louis not regard his hard work as justifiable to be attending?
A phone call later and the whole matter was cleared up, Werner was included on the guest list, his work is appreciated, he is not insignificant on the committee, he was just one week early. No problem Werner, I know of members that arrived at a race one day before the start☺☺
Putting on a race of the magnitude like our ultra, the chance that something will go wrong is nearly 100% so it is nothing new when a few complaints come in, after all that is what we expect. Wynand, as the manager must normally face the music and answer complaints or suggestions from people writing or phoning the club. There is of course the type of complaints that you cannot plan for or do anything about, but they still surface every so often, like the sun was too hot, or it was too cold, or my mother-in-law was in the crowd, or my ex was laughing at me. Normal logical complaints are welcome as it can only improve the future races, but then you get a complaint like this:
An irate member of the community wrote to Wynand complaining that he and his wife & children were shocked to their core, and at the time of writing the letter was still in shock. They saw 3 athletes relieving themselves of excess urine against the back of a tree on the route. For those that don’t know, the back of a tree is where the wet patch is. Wynand wrote back and explained that the club arranged to have strategically placed toilets throughout the route for just that purpose!
This irate person was adamant, he holds the club, and in as much for Wynand personally responsible for athletes urinating along the route. He suggested that the Club must educate the athletes not to urinate while taking part in a race. Personally I would have showed this person my fist with at least one finger protruding in an upwards direction, but that is me. Now what do the members think we should tell this complainant?
Should we suggest that he makes his residence available for toilet purposes, or should we use the goody bag and put a toilet roll in it? It is clear the this person has never run a marathon or something similar but let us not debate it further, but rather wish him a pleasant one-way trip and ask him to give regards to Nick.
We also have a case of blisters, caused by an upset stomach. I know your first question is how is that possible? Well two of our runners, Johan Engelbrecht and his running partner Yvonne, were at the Wally, in the hope of improving on his seeding for Comrades. They were like right in front; their vests were touching the tape at the start. And then the call from nature, and Johan had to seek a toilet with just about 6 minutes to the start. Working their way through the crowd to the back, and off to the toilet. Needless to say by the time the toilet break was had the front runners were off. These two now had to work their way through the never ending mass of runners in front of them, and it was like cold golden syrup, slow and moral breaking. And it was this snail pace, and ducking & diving to get past the slow runners that actually caused the blisters on Yvonne’s feet. Just in case you were wondering, the Comrades seeding did not improve. It was a bit of a shitty move.
And now for the juicy stories of this report and they emerged from the Wings for Life World run. Our club members were responsible for riding with bicycles next to the leading men & ladies, and also as buffer riders showing the runners to pull over as the catcher car drew near. One of the buffer riders, Leon Page, after his stint was informed he could leave and return to his home base. It was just as well, because while Leon was riding, one of those flies that make the jam, Mr. Honey bee, flew into his shirt and was working his way down. Leon pulled off the road and was frantically trying to locate and exterminate this potential sting.
I can imagine the panic, as Leon is allergic to a honey bee sting. The bee nearly made it all the way down to the bottom of the pants, when it crawled into a dead end, just past the water & lights section of the anatomy, and feeling trapped, delivered its barb into Leon’s groin. Leon, you were lucky, a few inches either side or you could have been in real trouble.
What is the price you pay for the lime light? We should ask Kerry Trentham that question. Kerry and Johan van Vuuren were the fortunate cyclists that were riding with the leading runners, thus being on camera basically all the time. When they went to collect their gear, supplied by Wings for Life World run, the only available sizes for these two cyclists were one large and one medium. Johan van Vuuren being there first claimed the large, although an extra large would have fitted better. When Kerry realised that the only size left was a medium he was not a happy chappie.
The organisers suggested that he switched place with Leon or one of the smaller cyclists that were riding as buffer cyclist. Kerry thought it over for a very long time of about one second and flatly refused. His moment in the limelight he was not going to forfeit. When, if ever will he be on camera, televised to the world ever again? Kerry, a natural 2 XL size squeezed himself into a medium size riding gear, stretching it too proportions that were never heard of before. I was going to say it fitted him like a second skin, but that is a name brand of clothing, so spray-paint is a closer description. Kerry I don’t know how you breathed throughout your cycling experience, but you had your tight fit moment in the limelight. On the up side, it just shows what good quality material the cycling outfits were made of.
Our other cyclist, Johan van Vuuren’s wife, Blanche was running the race. When the catcher car eventually caught her she returned to the stadium and awaited her husband. When all was done and dusted, the family van Vuuren returned to their vehicle and that was when the proverbial paw-paw hit fan. The battery of the remote to the car was flat. The car, not wanting to open its doors, caused another serious problem. The spare remote was in the house, and the keys to the house were in the car.
To make a long story short, Johan had to hitch a ride with another Irene member to get to his house, and then had to literally break into his own house using a grinder in order to get to the spare remote to open the car. And that guys & gals is just how easy it is to get into this report.
Well folks, that’s it for this report so cheers vir eers.
The Running Reporter