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Home >> Blog >> Guest Blogger >> Medal or No Medal, I'm a Winner!

Medal or No Medal, I'm a Winner!

  • Ultra Marathon

Today we hear from inspiring runner, Rhea Koch and all the wonderful things that running has taught her...

The Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon is around the corner.  Last year I made the decision that 2016 was the year I was going to get an Ultra medal. Despite the fact that I’ve never been an athlete, have two jobs and two small children.  Plagued by injuries and tortured by painful long runs, the struggle is to stay positive.  With D-day less than a month away, some serious soul searching was in order. 

 Best case scenario, I finish within 7 hours and get a medal.  Worst Case scenario, I don’t finish in time/at all and I don’t get a medal.

But, here is the thing:  I have already won! 

This goal I set for myself enriched my life and helped me grow as a person. 

 These are the things I have learned through running:

1. A renewed appreciation for the break of dawn.  There’s just something to being around when the streetlights go out.

2. A greater respect for my body, because I can see what it is capable of and what not; An appreciation for the symbiotic friendship between my head and my body; a Peace and contentment with my bodily imperfections like (hypothetically speaking) a little bulge around the middle... And, it has to be said, runners don’t have cellulite on their bums!

3. The knowledge that you can do make-up and blow-dry your hair in less than half an hour if you have to!

4.  The growth of friendships:  Your running partner knows what you had for breakfast, what test your children had to study for last night and knows your husband isn’t really a total jerk when you complain about the typically male things he did or said the day before.

5.  The knowledge that talking to strangers isn’t always a bad thing.  Sometimes on a long run you meet up with other runners and you realise:  we are the same pace!  That’s grounds to start a friendship. Or somebody gets your number from somebody who knows somebody that needs a training partner and you start chatting and meet for a run.

6.  The appreciation for your running club.  That feeling of belonging when people you don’t really know cheer you on just because you are wearing that shirt.

7.  The realization that you cannot have a goal like this without the support of your husband and children.  Those mornings (when you try a new route and make a slight miscalculation with the distance) you think you are never going to make it in time for school, get home in a frenzy and find your children dressed and lunch-boxes packed, all by themselves!  Every Saturday your husband can’t organize anything because it is LSD day and his calming influence when I freak out before a race (like THAT QUALIFIER!).

8. The realization that it doesn’t matter how hard you work or how determined you are, everything is not always within your power (or the doctors /or the physios) Sometimes you just have to sing that Frozen song and focus on the next one.

9. A holiday! I am getting on a plane and going to beautiful Cape Town, on a four day (childless/husbandless) outing with one of my favourite people (sister/running partner)! 

10. A strengthening in my faith since my praying skills also got some exercise during the long runs, when you simply have nothing left and your mind is just so clear.

11. A renewed appreciation, thankfulness and a passion for the wonder that is life!

I hope you can think of other things you can add to the list!