A couch potato gets up to run a marathon

When Elardus started his training programme, he couldn’t run very far. But he improved slowly. Really slowly.

My son left for Cape Town last night. He is going to run in the Two Oceans. I’m jealous. I wish I was young enough to run in an ultra marathon. And I wish I could go to Cape Town.

To me, it’s truly the Mother City – my mother lives there, after all. But I also adore the slower pace, the friendliness of the people, the beauty of the place. He is going to the iconic road race with a group of friends.

He did “The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon” 12 years ago, but none of the other four who have entered have ever been a part of this legendary footrace. And only one of them has run a half marathon before.

My son, a running addict, will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the starting line. So will his former university flatmate, Ruan, an avid cyclist who never backs down from an endurance challenge. The third guy, Junior, will be ready for his first half marathon.

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But everyone is holding their breath to see if Elardus, the fourth entrant in their group of friends, will run. Strangely enough, he was the one who came up with the idea to compete in this year’s event. Oh, the irony … He’s a couch potato and a smoker to boot, but decided to enter the race last year when his mother-in-law completed it. The rest of them entered as support.

When Elardus started his training programme, he couldn’t run very far. But he improved slowly. Really slowly. He messaged my son in December. “Will I make it if I can’t run five kilometres yet?” he asked.

I can’t run five kilometres either, but I won’t be at the start of the race. I’ll be in front of the TV with biltong and coffee, trying to see Elardus. It must be the couch potato lurking in me, but I’ll be rooting for him. The others won’t need my shouting.

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When my son crosses the finish line, he’ll be near the sharp end of the field. Ruan will complete the race in under two hours and Junior will finish before the cut-off time.

All my support will be focussed on Elardus. You’ll be carrying the hopes and dreams of all the millions of smoking couch potatoes on your shoulders when you run (okay, mostly walk) that race, son. You go, boy!

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Cape Town marathon Two Oceans Marathon