On Wednesday 21 March 2012 I did the "Run Jozi" running race. I did it, expecting it to be something fun and different...but it turned out to be so much more than that. The daily news that that we are exposed to everyday is constantly filled with the negatives things that happen in our city and country and we are very rarely notified about happy events, or good people who are making a difference.
This "Run Jozi" reminded me that the people of South Africa really so passionate about their country and the people they share it with and they have so much love to share. As myself and 9 999 other people ran through the streets of Johannesburg we were cheered on by hundreds of supporters who had come to share in the amazing experience. These supporters were not only friends and family of the runners, but mostly random people who lived in Joburg. There were children had come out of their flats in their pyjamas, who were standing on the side of the road shouting "Run, Jozi, Run" at no one in particular, while trying to high five the passing runners. Families had decorated the balconies of their flats and were busy waving South African flags and blowing their vuvuzelas to motivate the runners. One supporter was standing on the side of the road shouting "motivation...motivation...motivation" while another was advising the runners that she knew a short cut to the end if anyone didn't think they could make the full 10 Kms. As I watched the enthusiastic supporters shout, scream, chant and sing from the side lines for the full duration of the race...it restored my faith in human kind and reminded me to change my outlook on my country and my fellow South Africans.
|My personalised Nike Run Jozi t- shirt|
Nike had organised various entertainers to keep the runners and supported entertained and motivated before, during and after the race. These included the gum boot dancers below, people on stilts, jugglers, comedians, DJs, drummers and motivational talks from famous South African athletes.
Before the race started the crowed of 10 000 people sang the national anthem with such pride that it gave me goosebumps, and then the count down began.
Click Here to see a video of the start of the race.
As we ran over the Nelson Mandela bridge it changed colour and fireworks exploded in the sky above me and from this moment until the end of the race it felt as if I were not just a mere mortal, but someone GREAT who was about to make history :-) I think this was the exact objective of the race...and it was successfully met!!!
The race ended at Mary Fitzgerald square and we were welcomed to the finish with a medal, fireworks, a DJ and the most delicious smelling (and tasting) food, although any food probably would have gone down well after 10km of running.
|Part of the incredible fireworks display at the end of the race|
A quote from Nike at the end of the race was..."If you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone and finished the race with more respect for yourself than before you started the race, then you can consider it a good run." And that about sums up the whole "Run Free, Run Jozi" experience!!!