How to run on the promenade:

There are several reasons why you would want to run on the Promenade:
1)      To be seen
2)      Because it is convenient
3)      Because it is very beautiful in a weird urban kind of way.
For those who don’t know the promenade. It is a thin strip of pavement/cobbled walk way sandwiched between the Beach (main) Road and upmarket apartments and the wide Atlantic Ocean. It is one of those must run/walk/leisure strole experiences to do at least once in your life. The only other urban running experience which I feel comes even close is running across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco.
As with any new activity you need to know some basics before putting “tekkie to tar”. This is probably the most serious running arena in the country and there are several strict unspoken rules that may not be transgressed.
Rule no 1: Do not greet or acknowledge anybody or any other runner in any way. This is serious business.
Rule no 2: There are several distinct categories of runner who frequent the promenade make sure you follow all of the rules for each sub species. Outsiders are not tolerated! Best to blend in.
To better help you with this process I have outlined all of the running groups in order of social hierarchy.
Angel: Unless you are a full time model who does bikini shoots for a living then you do not fall into this category. (Yes you read correctly Bikini – so that excludes all guys. Some gorgeous male specimens may apply for honorary Angel status but….) Angels already know how to carry themselves effortlessly irrespective of what pace they are going. They wear the latest international active trend – tight fitting head to toe with the latest in minimal footwear. Their long straight hair floating behind them in a whif of rare perfume. Angels never sweat and if they do perspire then it always forms this perfect triangle shape on their backs. Angels are guaranteed to leave a wake of male and female jaws dropping behind them followed by whispers. If you don’t understand then I can’t explain.
Gym Rabbits generally have slightly too much bounce in their stride. Looking like they are avoiding a rugby tackle with each step. Open to both sexes. Gym Rabbits run only with ipods, the latest Nike Air Whateva and all so colour coordinated kit (pick up that pink detail from your shoes, in your top and hair scrunchy darling). Tri athletes have a honorary place the Gym Rabbit Fraternity. Only due to grown men wearing tights and looking good with shaved legs and the women’s outfits leaving very little to the imagination. If you fail to meet any of the above criteria then you are clearly the lowest of the low.
The Freak. Mid life crisis men and joggers of both sexes almost always have this look of eternal despair on their faces. Trying to do the mental arithmetic of how many more minutes they need to be out here to tick off their allocated calorie expenditure for the day. They often wear a heart rate belt which their “loved ones” bought them to “help with the weight loss program”. Hating every minute of it but returning day after miserable day because they are told this is what they have to do to “get into shape” whatever that may be. Freaks are easy to spot as they almost always wear t-shirt two sizes too big and the girls make sure these cover their butts. They know their place is pretty much at the bottom of the food chain in Sea Point. They wear the most supportive Asics Anti blah di blah shoe blissfully unaware of the Born to Run revolution. This knowledge and the Mc Donalds down the road guilt trip keeps them coming back day after day after day. The only salvation a Freak can hope for is to convert to messiah McDougal’s teachings and start to trail run (possibly one day looking down from Signal Hill and preaching the message).
The Imposter actually has no place on the promenade. They are tolerated and are here to hopefully be noticed by wannabe runners. If one is actually noticed by an Angel he is one step closer to fulfil his calling – to provide sperm to the Angels and to settle down and breed with the deity. Imposters move quickly (after having done some secret warm up sets around the corner). They hunt alone for fear of being left wanting.
and then there are the Real Athletes, moving undetected between the groups, unseen to the untrained eye……doing it for the love of it, the pure art of running, no need to dress for the occasion, all they wear is attitude, an attitude to run for the joy of running……so, if you spot one or more of these (yes this is the only species to congregate in groups), there is hope…..
All this complicated jostling for position takes place right under the noses of walkers old (in their colour coordinated tracksuits) and young (oversized Gucci Sunglasses and elbows paddling the air frantically).
Welcome to the socialites on the Promenade – a truly unique experience!

5 thoughts on “How to run on the promenade:

  1. I would think it would be to get as close to the wild weather as possible, I personally choose the forest, but to run along the promenade in a winter storm could be fun…

  2. Completely agree!
    That would make you a Real Athlete.
    Good point actually all this activity only takes place on those picture perfect evenings. not the winter storms of the last few days 🙂

  3. And which group have you subscribed to?
    The golden gate bridge doesn't compare. Firstly, it is always foggy so you can't see anything and secondly the pavement is too narrow for the whole herd to migrate on.

  4. Well explained! You got them all – except for the older dames with their equally aged hounds (but then they're not runners, are they…)

    still one of my very favourite places to move the limbs.

  5. Love it! (your explanation, that is, not the Promenade – I'm afraid to say I hate running there. Like Dion, give me the forest or the mountain any day, come rain or shine!)

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