In May 2011, Tich Smith, ex SA cricketer and founder of LIV village visited our church in Ballito with the children from Watoto, Uganda. These children put on an outstanding performance and Tich shared the LIV vision and my heart was captured!
I wondered how I could be challenged and use my gifts, talents and strengths to benefit the children of LIV village…and that was when I decided a huge challenge for me would be to commit to running Comrades marathon (89km Ultra Marathon) in 2012 and doing it to raise funds to further the LIV Vision. When I committed to this, the furthest distance I had ever run was 21km, so this was a massive undertaking for a novice runner!
I started training in July 2011 and the most incredible journey began! It was not without its ups and downs! But when God puts a desire and dream on your heart despite all the challenges and obstacles we face, we can be sure that if we do our part God will do His! In September I was diagnosed with FAIS (Hip condition) and told I would have to have a hip operation, needless to day, I was heart broken, but after much prayer and faith I was healed and no operation was needed. Then in April I had tendonitis and then a week before Comrades, I was devastated as I suffered from ITB and thought my dream was all over! That week I received a beautiful Comrades devotional which confirmed that despite everything going on I had done my part and I was not alone in this journey, God was with me every step of the way and I was to give it my best despite the challenging circumstances! And with the amazing support and prayers from my church, cell group, physio, family & friends I was ready to get to the start line!
As the 3rd of June approached, I had such mixed emotions of nerves, excitement, anticipation etc! And finally the 3rd June arrived, a day I had been preparing for, for 11 months, completed 1400km was here and it was very real. I was about to take on a huge challenge and embark on a journey to show my support for the children of our nation and the wonderful work LIV is doing to rescue, restore, raise and release the next generation of leaders for South Africa!
So an early 3:30am alarm got the day started! We got ready, had an early breakfast to get to the start line by 4:30am. The buzz and the vibe is indescribable, 14 000 excited runners, thousands of supporters and organisers all bundled up in blankets and jackets! And at about 5:20 Shosholoza followed by the national athem is sung by thousands of passionate runners and supporters…even grown men are brought to tears, what a proudly South African moment! And then Chariots of Fire is played and then…5:30 arrives, the cock crows and the cannon blasts and we are off!
Wow what a day, within the first 5km my injury was niggling and I thought oh boy what now…and then I remembered the prayer from the Comrades Devotions, and the reason I was going through pain was not in vain but for the children of SA and that was sufficient to carry me though the day! So I repeated over and over…a part of the St Particks Breastplate prayer:
Christ be with me, Christ within me
Christ behind me, Christ before me
Christ beside me, Christ to win me
Christ to comfort and restore me
Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger
I was so fortunate to have so many supporters planted along the route, there was nothing as awesome as seeing a welcoming familiar face to encourage me along the way!
The camaraderie and support along the route is amazing, it is such an inspiring and positive day! It was the most incredible day, a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical journey! The day of comrades is very much like the journey of life we all experience, there are ups and downs, pain and joy and friends and family to encourage you along the way! What ever you may be experiencing in you life journey right now NEVER GIVE UP, the hills don’t last forever!
As I ran into the stadium I felt quite emotional, I had done it! There were thousands of supporters and I felt like the winner…I was the winner of my own challenge! I finished in 11 hours and 29 minutes and to my amazement without a blister or a blemish, God had really comforted and restored me every step of the way!
Thank you to all my amazing supporters we raised R35 000 for LIV village!
I would love to encourage you all to step out and be the best you you can be and challenge yourself to find the true potential that lies within you! We are all uniquely gifted with a unique purpose to achieve in this life – BE BOLD AND DREAM BIG AND REACH YOUR FULL POTENTIAL FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHERS!
TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE SA!
If you would like to run Comrades next year to raise funds for LIV, please contact me and I’ll walk you through the journey of training and preparing you for a once in a life time experience.