Top athletes like Abea and me conserve our strength by riding to work

Because I do not drive I have been a faithful customer of the old South African Black Taxi Association, now supposedly called the South African National Taxi Council, for 20 years.

Because I do not drive I have been a faithful customer of the old South African Black Taxi Association, now supposedly called the South African National Taxi Council, for 20 years.

I break out in a nauseating sweat each time I try to learn to drive.

Fear paralyses me and spoils the rest of my day.

I am one of the few who are grateful for the taxi industry's willingness to "take me anywhere, any time".

The only drawback is that I have to use three taxis to get to work and the journey takes 90 minutes each way.

I would never have met some of the wonderful people who are part of my life if I were a car owner. They have evoked amazement, mirth, shock and a reassuring reliability just by being there.

The last lap of my journey to work yesterday was a damp squib because the person we wanted to applaud was not present.

We travel on most mornings, between Joburg CBD and Bosmont, with Abea Moagi, a runner who has been in the Comrades Marathon a number of times.

We are proud of her because she lends a lot of class to our decidedly unhealthy crew.

I must confess that I only learnt her surname this morning.

We have all used the same taxi route for a couple of years nowbut we really do not know much about each other - only the important stuff.

We are good at waking a sleeping fellow passenger up when her stop comes around.

We sympathise when someone moans about her boss because we have all been there.

We are also willing to help a member of our taxi fraternity rehearse an excuse for being late.

We take an idea, look at it from every point, polish it, refine it and pronounce on its excellence.

Abea is one of our stars. She is reserved but friendly and willing to teach us about her hobby.

We were quite sad when she took a break because of illness.

It was surprising that we have all unknowingly invested in her wellbeing and success.

Abea is back in training now and has won several races, much to our delight.

On Sunday morning I joined the runners of the Soweto Marathon via television because I wanted to share the race with Abea.

I went round and round the townships, up and down steep hills and had a thorough workout.

I looked at every face that flashed past hoping to see Abea.

I did not see her. At the end of a very satisfying race I put my tired feet on my bed and had a rest.

Back in the taxi yesterday I was looking forward to when Abea and I would rehash every kilometre of the race.

But she was not there.

I suppose she, too, was resting after the gruelling pace.

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