“So how many kms do you run a week?” I asked innocently, “er”, he said calculating roughly in his head “240”. WTF? Last week I did 92km, like quoi?, I compose myself and add to my now shriveling running ego, “right, ah… and so how many days do you train?”, “five” he replies. I do the maths – that is 48km average a day. THAT IS 6KM MORE THAN A MARATHON, just think of that when you roll out of bed and lace up your running shoes. “WTF” I say in my head again. WTF indeed. Meet Zondwa, one of our club’s elite men. Zondwa’s dream is to run Comrades in under 6 hours which will place him in the top 50, yes that is a finish in front of 23,600 other people, at least 12,000 runners and four hours ahead of me.
Zondwa lives in Khayelitsha – a notorious township to the south east of the city, he leaves home at 3:30am, catches an overcrowded taxi and travels an hour into town, he changes at work and runs for two hours. He works a full day at a government printing company and then changes back into his running kit at 5:30pm and runs for another two hours. He goes back to work, changes and takes the taxi home at 8pm. He does this four times a week and then each weekend he runs 70km/43 miles straight. His weekend run takes him from Khayelitsha up Sir Lowry’s Pass and into Grabouw and back. Now believe me when I say that is a mother of all runs. Sir Lowry’s Pass is the highest mountain pass in the Cape, from sea level it rises 420m/1735 feet to the top, and this is no mean feat running half a kilometre into the sky with four lanes of traffic on every hairpin bend.
Zondwa is a true hero, he demonstrates a superhuman level of commitment in the face of adversity and disadvantage that I can’t even remotely imagine.
Route: Kloof Nek car park to the Lower Cable Station turn at the end of the tarmac on Tafelberg Road and back
Height climbed: 180m
Time started: 17:47
Total time: 1:18
Total distance: 12.5km
Weather conditions: Sunny but dark for the last 20 minutes
Runner’s condition: Very humble