Look out for my smile at People’s Race

Thulani Mbele Running Matters
Thulani Mbele at the 2015 Soweto Marathon being assisted to an ambulance by paramedics after suffering from cramps.
Thulani Mbele at the 2015 Soweto Marathon being assisted to an ambulance by paramedics after suffering from cramps.
Image: Amos Mananyetso

I had hoped I would recover in time from my hamstring injury to be able to settle my Old Mutual Soweto Marathon score.

It is truly a sad day having to announce my withdrawal from The People’s Race. Once again, the Soweto Marathon wins.

It was not easy coming to this decision. I was in denial, and the more I ran, the more I agitated my injury.

I would rest and not do any running and at the slightest signs of some sort of relief, I would go out for a run only to be back to square one day later.

I held on to the fact that it was not a torn hamstring and that in a couple of weeks I should be back to my normal, but it was not to be.

I was not patient. I was eager to get back on the road. I had started training with the “Kenyans” and my running had improved, so I was looking forward to the new running season and settling the score with the Soweto Marathon.

What was supposed to be a few weeks off has turned into months of trying to get better.

Physiotherapists have not been able to help. I suspect Mikea Kubayi has gone into the dark world, danced around my photograph at midnight while speaking in tongues.

This friend of mine always wants to beat me at all costs, I would not put this past him.

As a runner it was frustrating sitting on the sidelines and seeing posts on social media about running, but I had to come to a decision to stop running completely until I’m fully recovered. There should be no rush.

One mistake that myself and many runners do is to want to rush our recovery, we don’t want to be left behind and miss out on races. We see other runners on the road and envy them.

We then quickly want to start running but only to make our recovery process to take much longer. I now look back and realised that in all that time I could have had at least three months of piano lessons.

I could have used the opportunity to learn something new and read a few books.

A lesson learned on my part, if you are injured, just rest until you are fully healed from your injury.

Leave that WhatsApp group, or other social media platforms, where people are always posting their running statistics.

Use this time as your “me time” or family time, try painting and completely forget about running. Your body is more important and Soweto Marathon will always be there.

What hurts me the most about not taking part in the race is that I will be missing out on the special 25th year commemorative medal that will be on offer to all finishers.

Runners are set to receive a collectors item to mark the 25th year of the marathon being witnessed on the streets of this historic township.

Look out for my wide smile at the Sowetan water point, I will be cheering, handing out water and doing a vosho dance on your behalf.

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