Our UCT Board Course Professional Programme students wrote an 8-hour exam this Saturday. It is not only intellectually challenging but also physically exhausting – many finished the Comrades marathon needing less time than that!
Caroline Wöstmann, who came 2nd in the 2016 Women’s race, needed only 6:30:44. She is inspiring. Not only is she a qualified CA(SA), who lectured Tax at Wits, but her victories in the 2015 Comrades and Two Oceans would suggest that she is an extremely determined athlete.
Anyone who watched the 2016 Comrades would have seen her leading for most of the race but then struggling at the end and relinquishing her lead with only a short distance remaining. At one point she crossed the road to get a drink and this resulted in a pile-up of motorcycles (see photo). She wasn’t injured then but was suffering already from severe cramps.
What was going through her mind as she got struck down by intense pain? How did she managed to push through and finish second?
Luckily, she has answered these questions in a great blog post. My favourite paragraph?
“I couldn’t help but laugh after I collapsed to the ground after finishing. On my hands and knees I laughed with relief that I had made it, I laughed about the bizarre events of the day and I laughed because in my obvious and clearly evident physical weakness I had never felt stronger or more empowered. I was humbled. I was a Comrades Marathon Finisher.”
Do yourself a favour, especially if you struggled with your 8-hour APC experience, and give her full Comrades race report a read. I learnt a lot from this legend’s attitude.