The distance to make a change
“Just three more laps, Tim, and then you can sleep.” It’s some time after midnight, and I’ve been running (and walking) around a 1km circuit for the past 36 hours.
I am exhausted, but I respond to my Dad’s urging as he walks alongside me with a grimace and, in silence, I plod on for another four laps.
It’s 1am when I finally put my head down on the mattress in the tent I’m sharing with my dad, who is supporting me as a seconder, and we sleep. For three hours.
The night before, I’d slept for one hour. During my debut 48-hour race, which I competed in at the Modderfontein Sports Complex in Johannesburg from 15-17 December last year, I slept just four hours.
The idea of a 48-hour race is to try and stay on the circuit for as much time as possible. During the race, many of us even ate on the move. The conditions weren’t ideal. It was 37 degrees during the day, and at night the wind howled, buffeting us.
The circuit was mostly soft grass, with deep grooves in places that made it difficult to run smoothly. A far cry from the smooth tarmac of the long open road, which I am used to.
So what kept me going for those 48 hours? After all, I personally can’t see how one takes up these longer ultras if “just” to run a race.
I was running to help two-
RW Venter sits on his dad's shoulders as the family and others arrive to support Tim Stones in his quest to complete the 48 Hour race in Johannesburg.