My experience at the event:
The last 94.7 (now 97km officially) I completed happened a long time ago, in 2017 (in what was my 9th consecutive event). Since then a lot of things changed. In 2018 I broke my hand weeks before, in 2019 Avery was born and after an expensive trip to Italy I did not have that much money to spend on an expensive race, and in 2020 it was COVID's turn.
Honestly I thought that 2021 wasn't going to be the year I comlleted my 10th edition, since after my hip surgery in December 2020 I've been struggling to get any power behind my legs, either if I'm running, swimming (well, I was never that fast to start with) or cycling.
But with cycling being a low-impace exercise, I convinced my brother in law Curtis to do it once again with me (we completed the first 9 together). And so, without much training on the road, here we were, on a very cold morning, with the new start from Soccer City (the FNB Stadium, apart from the World Cup final in 2010 I think the last time I came here was for the Soweto Marathon few years ago). From the start I knew that, while I could pedal without breaking sweat, on the hills I had nothing to offer. Overweight, undertrained and generally disappointed, I was very thankful for the support provided by Curtis, who had to wait for me at the top of every hill while I slowly climbed away.
The new course was a killer for me. Compared to the past, the start at the FNB stadiium was better (flatter and with wider roads), and at least until half way the speed was relatively quick compared to the previous editions.
The second part though was hard. From the mid point at Kyalami (on the GP track), a series of hils started pretty much from 45th km up to the 85th or so, with at least 4 massive hills (you can check the official garmin stats here: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/7852057182
At the end of the course, I was tired, but thanks to the unusual weather (usually we cycled in 30 degress), wasn't sunburned or exhausted. Eventually I finished in just below 4.30 for the 97km (almost 3kms more than the past). Only 4 times in the past I finished with a worse timing, but you know what? I did it.
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