I was not one of the cool kids at school. When everybody else was talking about the great weekend at Langebaan etc and how they scored girls I just held my head low and hoped nobody would ask me about these exotic locations.
doing battle with the Black Mamba
I obviously have some unfinished business as I have been to Langebaan twice in two weekends! No not to score girls but to do battle with the Black Mamba! Last week I was there to do the half marathon as a training run and see how my pace was coming on. My plan was to try and average at 4min pace until the bottom of the monster and then see what I can do from there. The gun goes off and we run into a headwind… nobody wants to run my pace so (foolishly – I guess) I try to break the wind sticking to my plan. The first few km’s are on pace but I am running too hard. Other tell-tale signs are that Alae and Ludwig are behind me (not a common occurrence). We do our little jaunt out on the dirt which I love and then turn onto the road. After a short loop to take up the slack we head back to town. All of a sudden the breeze is from behind although it never feels like it. The Road goes quiet, the tar radiates the heat and the sun stings the back of my neck! I knew this would come but I was hoping to hold on a bit longer.
I suck the last few carbs out of the water sachet at the next table and hang on as best I can…. Eventually Alae steams past followed by a freight train of guys attacking the Mamba! I stumble on…..
One week later:
My legs are tired from Saturday’s ride around Cape Point and trail run. I start too late and my mission is to get revenge on The Mamba. When I reach the 39km mark (for the marathon) I take a split hoping to impress myself a mere 1000m later with olympic results. It takes only a few meters of running and I realise that I am instinctively aiming for the shade of the waist high foliage on the side of the road. Of course it is useless but I know no better. Onwards and upwards I struggle through my private Badwater agony. Finally I reach the white 40 painted on the bitumen. This time there is no Coke Arch, no photographer, no cheers from WAG’s. Just me and my thoughts. I push on over the crest and to the first stop street then turn. Back up to the top and down the steep side I have just climbed to finally retrace my steps via the dirt road and trot back to town and the ocean. Two bottles of diluted juice don’t touch sides.
Sometimes it does not have to be fun to be fun – Mark Twight
Postscript: The West Coast Marathon is a fantastic event (so is the half marathon). There is only one hill with 3 km to go. It is a real test of grit to not walk it! Highly recommended!


Black Mamba is the last hill on the Marathon (far right)


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