Home Sport A half-marathon that was very healing

A half-marathon that was very healing

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My daughter and I have struggled with asthma for many years. Back when our condition was severe, the family’s medical aid funds used to run out way before the year’s end, but since I took to running seriously in 2017, my condition improved so much that I actually am no longer asthmatic.

Runners taking part in the Two Oceans Half Marathon pass through Constantia. The Two Oceans Marathon is a 56 kilometres ultramarathon and 21 kilometres half-marathon held annually in Cape Town. Picture: Armand Hough, Independent Newspapers

Matshelane Mamabolo

I RAN part of the 21.1km at the TotalSports Two Oceans Marathon with my daughter last Sunday. My delight in saying these words knows no bounds.

You see, my daughter and I have struggled with asthma for many years. Back when our condition was severe, the family’s medical aid funds used to run out way before the year’s end.

Winter seasons used to be the pits, so much so that we had to invest in a nebuliser to “doctor” ourselves at home, and as a dad knowing the difficulty of the condition, it used to pain me to see her struggling for breath.

Since I took to running seriously in 2017, my condition improved so much that I actually am no longer asthmatic. My daughter, on the other hand, continued to struggle with the condition.

But a few years ago, she started jogging, and I silently hoped she would stick with it … while doing my best not to put any pressure on her.

Then, this year, she really got into it and when she told me she’d registered for the Two Oceans event I was over the moon, knowing that she could well be on her way to running asthma out of her system.

She trained with earnest, and looking at the times she was running, I was confident she would reach the finish line within the allotted three and a half hours.

I had the idea of running the full race with her, but I also wanted to compete for the prize in my age category. What a conundrum. In the end, I raced and finished sixth in the 50-59 men’s category.

During the post-race media conference, I received a distress call from my daughter. She was at the 10km mark and struggling, but such is her willpower that she said I should not come for her. She would soldier on, she said.

I did not listen and rushed to her aid, jogging in the opposite direction – to the surprise of many runners who kept telling me: “You are lost” or “You’re going the wrong way.”

I found her just before the 16km mark and she looked to be doing okay. She was happy to see me and we trod the route together for a while. Excited, I took some videos and pictures.

She does not like that, and she reminded me.

At what appeared declines, I ran a little faster, hoping she would make up time lost on the big inclines. She did not like that and told me so. “Let me run at my pace, Dad.”

After the 17km mark, she told me that she appreciated the support I’d given her but that my presence was putting her under pressure and that I should let her race alone.

She assured me she was well within the cut-off time and that she would complete the race.

I ran back to the finish to wait for her, and she reached it much sooner than I’d anticipated. I embraced her, a father’s delight at his daughter having completed one of the toughest half-marathons in the country knowing no bounds.

And I’d run a kilometre and a bit with her. Priceless.

I am super proud of you, Laiks.

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