According to the board at the Comrades Expo, that is all you need to take to get to the finish line. I don’t know if that sounds easy or ridiculously hard. What I do know is that when I went to register yesterday it was an absolute dog show. I was standing in the queue so long I actually counted the people in front of me. Now at Two Oceans their system works, there are a number of mini queues according to your race number so, for example if your number is 49268 (as mine is) I get in the queue for runners 49,000-51,999. That means you might have 5 people ahead of you and you are out before you can say ’12 hour bus’. Not here, oh no. No let’s all get in one snaking queue (that will stretch out of the building and around the block by Saturday lunchtime) and wait. There were ten terminals with about 3 people fussing round each one and one of those unfortunates fetching the race number from giant stacks of boxes and then collecting the right size t-shirt. So they walk from one side, say if you were number 500, to the other if you are extra large. MOVE THE TOAST CLOSER TO THE TOASTER PEOPLE! (That’s Kaizen if you don’t know what I’m on about). I waited an hour and 10 minutes to scan my chip when the wifi went down. When the wifi reappeared my chip didn’t register, ‘please can you get in that queue over there and talk to Championchip’. The man behind me went bat-shit crazy as runners started queue jumping and I turned into an ugly thing that you see on those airport programmes on TV. ‘I WILL NOT QUEUE AGAIN OVER THERE, I JUST QUEUED FOR AN HOUR OVER HERE!’ I must have looked like I meant it because the lady took my shoe (with my chip attached) and went over there herself. After 5 minutes I started to panic I might not see my shoe again, when she started waving at me to join her. Now apparently it is scanning, but my details weren’t coming up, so who knows if I’ll even get a time on the race. Panic building, I calmed myself by dropping a thousand bucks on Comrades souvenirs (beach towel, hooded top and a present for my sister) before I get sucked in by the man selling Gu and spend more money at random sock stalls.
When I do finally make it home I sneak a peak at my Comrades t-shirt. Not only is it bright pink, but they gave me a ladies medium, when I asked for a men’s medium (I only ever run in men’s t-shirts), this thing won’t even reach my belly button let alone stretch over my chest. Stopping the traffic on Kloof Nek Road as I jiggle to the top is, not what anyone needs to see. Ever. With the tears building, I drive back to the expo to ask if they will change it. They will not (I knew this when I got in the car). The tired manager-lady told me they were surprised when they opened the boxes in the morning and discovered ladies t-shirts and that she was very sorry. Every bloody year unisex t-shirts and they bloody changed it. Now I have a pink rag that is only good for cleaning the kitchen.
My sister said that if this is the only thing that goes wrong on Comrades weekend I should be pleased. She’s right, and a good cry definitely released some tension. Today I will pin my numbers onto my AAC vest and I will lay out my stuff and I will forget about the offending pink article and I will eat my carbs and I will have a good day.