Anees GAMIET, chairman and coach of Bo-Kaap Athletics (BKA) Club, shared his experience of running his second Two Oceans Ultra Marathon (56km) on Saturday March 31. Mr Gamiet, who has completed five half marathons, started the running club to support, encourage and motivate people to live healthier lifestyles.
What a day, what a weekMy alarm went off at 4am. I had breakfast and started preparing for the race. When I woke up, I was saying to myself, there is no power, no might, besides Allah. We plan and Allah has better plans. Today is a day where I have to be ready for all challenges that may come my way.
Thursday (March 29) before Oceans we were blessed with a beautiful girl. No words can describe the moment of birth -holding her for the first time and meeting her after nine months and hearing a her voice crying, just brought tears of joy.
That morning was filled with mixed emotions because my wife was not there to say “you’ve got this”.
In 2014 I did my first Ultra and in 2015, while I was preparing for Two Oceans again, I cracked my L5 vertebrae and was out of running for while. I did some extensive rehabilitation, silently strengthening myself for this journey.
In 2016 we established Bo-Kaap Athletics and I was thinking 90% of the athletes came to the first training session saying they can’t run and that they just wanted to walk. Surprisingly, 56 members lined up for their first Two Oceans and did super well.
Back to the race. The gun went off and I was thinking I still needed to pass stool. While running I had a few cramps and a slight headache but silently carried on thinking I would find a toilet along the way. Hitting the 21km, still no toilet, and despite the cramps, I kept soldiering on.
Up Klein Chappies there was still no toilet and the cramps were getting worse. Eventually I saw one along the way and took the opportunity to relieve myself – but realised I had lost six minutes. And then my hamstrings pulled. I did a few stretches and a little voice whispered, “Keep moving forward”.
I ran and walked for a bit, got some momentum and slowly moved forward. As I hit the top of Chappies, my hammies pulled again.
I was thinking before taking the run downhill that it was going to be so loooonnnggggggg. But first, while at the top, I drank some water to rehydrate, ate dates and made a small prayer. My legs were taking a pounding running downhill but I continued smiling.
At the bottom of Chappies I needed water and to my surprise there was none until I think… at the 44km mark.
As we hit Constantia Nek my muscles were pulling stiff again but I kept the smile, thinking of my little one and wife in hospital. I was sure they believed in me and that gave me a mental boost.
After walking up Constantia Nek, I reached the top, with much relief. I reset my mind to push to Top Gate. I bumped into Uncle Aslam and Boeta Suleiman from Itheko running club who were pushing and driving the running bus – and who were encouraging and motivating me. I could not have done it without them.
The support of the crowd encouraging every runner was also amazing. A little girl screamed “You are all champions”, and that gave me an extra kick.
Running down towards the M3, my legs were feeling dead but I just kept smiling. What a tough flat, long run it was.
Taking the left towards UCT, I felt emotional and wow, my brother Saud, popped up to push me through, telling me I have 14 minutes left to cover the last 1km and that I’ve got this. I heard the crowd and UCT came in sight. What a feeling!
This was probably the most challenging event in my life. Seeing my family and BKA family was emotional after six hours and 57 minutes of mental journey.
Thanking Allah, I finished in time. Am so grateful for all the support before and after the run.
Running is not about being better than anyone. Running has taught me to appreciate life and the gift of our health.
I have also learnt to be more resilient. Running humbles you.
But for now, it’s time to rest and spend time with my wife and baby girl.
Other BKA members who took on the Ultra Marathon were Yasser Adams, Shaheema Barodien, Allie Fredericks, Sadick Fredericks and Gasant Salie.