TRAINING FOR COMRADES INSIDE PRISON

Sunrise Runner

“In anticipation of his release on parole by the end of 2018, Prisoner 218624186 started training for the 2019 Comrades Marathon from about May of 2018. His “training route” is a solid rectangular concrete slab of 100 metres by 25 metres inside a fenced-in enclosure where some 400 prisoners are allowed to walk about during the heat of the day – between 11am and 3pm. It takes 4 rounds of running in this confined enclosure, with no shade or access to water, to complete 1km.

Try imagining what it is like to run in-between and around some 400 inmates in a confined space in an attempt to train for Comrades. For example, running 10kms in this confined space requires running 40 rounds. To date Prisoner 218624186 has run the equivalent of 1400km, that is, 5600 individual circuits in order to prepare for the 2019 Comrades!

There are no water tables along the way, so an old plastic Coke bottle with luke-warm water has to suffice. Prisoner 218624186 has been following the training suggestions of well-known coach Don Oliver on his website. Don’s suggested programme is to run the RAC@ToughOne – 32km – by the third week of November in a time of 3hours 28 minutes to remain on target for a possible Comrades Silver Medal.

Because there are no hills inside the confined space, Prisoner 218624186 ran 15km (60 circuits) on 28 November (to tire his legs in simulation of hills) and then ran a solitary 32km (128 circuits) on 30 November – and managed to do so in 2hours 28 minutes and 26 seconds – on target! In order to have some nourishment along the way, besides a bottle of luke-warm water, he had saved 5 tablespoons of oats porridge from that morning’s breakfast and stopped at 15kms to have a sip of water and 5 spoons of oats!

His running has been the only thing to keep him sane in this harsh environment, and he is determined to finish the Comrades Marathon in 2019.

May the many others who are currently training for the 2019 Comrades gain inspiration from this brief account and be equally determined to finish the race in good style!

This month’s winner of the Arnica Ice hamper is JHS.