The up run starts at sea level, and finishes at an altitude of 650 meters. En route, runners will encounter 5 major hills, known as the “Big Five”: Cowies hill, the first, then Fields Hill, Botha’s Hill, Inchanga, and finally the ultimate in heartbreak hills, Polly Shortts.
A sea of faces crowds the cold winter morning streets—participants and those there to cheer them on alike. The atmosphere is electric, buzzing with excitement of those eager to run this race they have spent months training for. A few minutes before the start, the South African national anthem is sung.
A shot rings out in the dark and the runners slowly start to move forward—I say slowly because it’s several minutes into the race before the back runners can finally make a start.
Muscle, sinew and mental strength are required to conquer the 90 gruelling kilometres (56 miles) within just eleven hours. But the hopefuls set off, striving for one common goal—the finish line!
Many a time I just wanted to give up, thinking there wasn’t a chance I was going to make it. My laptop crashed, I had to relocate my son from Cape Town to Pretoria, and I was struggling with Bronchial Pneumonia. But with my family, my writers group (CWG-SA), my NaNo buddies, and Facebook friends standing on the sidelines cheering me on, encouraging me to believe in myself that I could do this, I pressed on. Slowly I gained ground, reminding myself that with every word I wrote, I was one word closer to the finish line. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! How do you make it through NaNo? One word at a time!” I kept myself going with this little chant (that, and of course, tons of chocolate combined with many, many cups of coffee).
And maybe, just maybe, one day soon I’ll be ready to submit Hungry for publishing.
The going was tough for NaNoWriMo 2010, but the tough just kept on writing!