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Find your Inchanga
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Find your Inchanga

This June was all about running the Comrades Ultra in South Africa. The biggest ultra in the world. 14,000+ people running 54 miles over some serious terrain, with most aiming simply to break the 12 hour cut-off.

The entries have just opened for the 2014 edition; this time a down-run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on the coast.  As I write this I'm considering whether to go back and have another go.  Part of me feels like I've done the race and as time passes I've become ever more conscious that there are only so many races you can run.  Another, probably equal, part of me champions going back and having another go, this time coming back with a Silver medal and a back-to-back medal to boot.

My internal debate rages on characterised by alternate bouts of searching Expedia for flights and hotels in Durban and other alternative entertainment in its place.

The race attracts an immense amount of hype.  Though having said that I'm surprised at how many runners haven't heard of it over here.  Running it, it was almost inevitable that it couldn't live up to all that pre-publicity. And at the time I don't think it did quite.. but having lost a shoe at the start and being battered by the heat and the wind it maybe wasn't a calm frame of mind that made that assessment.  Don't get me wrong, it was still an epic occasion and I will never forget the atmosphere in the start pen before the off with the incredible mass singing and just the pent up emotion that we were all about to do something immense.

Since the race though, memories have become ever fonder of my time out in South Africa and the Comrades Race.  It was certainly like no other I have run.  And the passion the South Africans have for it has to be seen to be believed.

There is one overriding and lasting thing I have taken away from the race and that is that whenever faced with any difficulty, no matter what it is, some voice in my head reminds me that I ran up Inchanga.  I don't particularly know why it chooses Inchanga of the big five hills on the course as it's not the toughest.  Maybe it's because the name conjures up something massive and demonic?  But for me that word sums up the battle that this race is.

I am grateful to the race for that because it has pushed back my personal boundaries immeasurably and now it's no exaggeration to say that now I feel nothing is impossible.  

So my advice is not necessarily to go and enter Comrades and run it yourself, but I do recommend finding and conquering your personal Inchanga, whatever it is, because you will find problems in life will diminish and your horizons will expand.

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