During my second attempt at the Comrades (Ultra) Marathon in South Africa I was convinced I was going to fail and DNF. In fact, by mile 13 of the 56 mile race I was finished. Despite traveling over 24 hours by air to arrive in Durban, South Africa, to participate in the World’s Largest Ultramarathon, I knew all my hard work was going for nought.
I would fail myself, my friends, and my family who had sacrificed so much to give me the opportunity to get a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a back-to-back medal. You see, at the Comrades Marathon, if you finish in your rookie year (your first attempt), and then return the very next year and finish, you will receive the coveted back-to-back medal.
You get one shot, and I was going to blow it. And I wrote all about it here.
Being Stubborn Isn’t Always Bad
The above picture shows my finisher medal and the back-to-back medal. So, if I was so convinced I wasn’t going to finish less than 1/3 of the way into the race, how did I achieve it?
By being stubborn and keeping a promise. You see, prior to my first race, I attended a meeting hosted by some of the best known Veterans of the Comrades race. During that meeting, I remembered one bit of advice:
“No matter what you do, don’t get on a bailout bus.” (A bailout bus is a bus that you get on in the middle of the race to get a ride to the finish, causing an automatic DNF).
I promised myself at the beginning of the race that I would not quit. Now, if I didn’t make a cutoff, if I was pulled off the course by the officials, […]