Humpty Dumpty Balmoral Burn | 2013

2m22s PB

Whose bright idea was it to stage a race that involves running up a road for 420m?

And we’re not not talking some gentle slope here but a cliff-like incline that has contestants defying gravity.

The sort of hill that requires traction-control, 4WD and the use of low-range 1st gear!

I grew up around these-here-hills and have always held Awaba St in some kind of awe.

Only fit for fitness-fanatics and hard-core crazies. (The irony regarding my current mental state is not lost on me).

The day dawns dreary and damp. Perhaps they’ll call it off?

Yet the warning on the website states unequivocally:

“The Burn is on rain, hail or shine, so bring your umbrella!!”

Needless to say there isn’t a lot of “sun” happening on this particular Sunday. It may be a day-of-rest for some but the rain god appears to be working overtime.

Yet, despite the cyclonic weather conditions, spirits are high. After all, it’s all for a good cause. And the amount of preparation and organisation that goes into the day is phenomenal.

I have decided to run with a few guys in a corporate relay team. As each one of us finishes the ascent our bib number is called out and the next runner heads off.

Gung-ho Olympic triathlon-types finish in well-under 2 minutes. As if they’re on those airport moving walkways rather than brutal bitumen.

I’ll be happy just to cross the finish-line without losing my breakfast.

Not being a sprinter or hill-climber, and having not trained specifically for “The Burn” (as it’s affectionately called), I’m a tad apprehensive.

But I’m nothing if not competitive.

And I am quietly confident that I can finish without walking provided I don’t go too-hard too-early.

Yet in order to achieve a respectable time I know I have to start fast enough as well. The gradient on the lower part of the course is far more forgiving than the final section.

The last 100m or so does not allow you to “kick” home at a sprint. More of a turtle-like crawl.

In fact, with about 150m to go, I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I must be out of my mind. “Why the hell am I doing this?”, I scream.

But I’m so short of breath this dialogue occurs only in my endorphin-muddled mind.

I’m caught in a dream-like state – or a nightmare depending on which way I look at it – where, no matter how hard I try, I don’t seem to be able to make any progress.

It’s as if my legs will not obey my instructions.

Yet I persist. And persevere. And push on.

Before I know it I’ve crossed the finish line. Yay!

Despite quietly swearing “never again” mid-way up the mountain, once it’s over I can’t wait to do it again.

Although next year is quite soon enough.

So. Who’s up for it?

Kim | marathon runner

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