Friday, May 14, 2010
    Stretching is imperative. Oh, and buying a good pair of running shoes. Carbo-loading; that's also recommended beforehand. Not to mention a good night sleep.

    But so much more is required in order to complete a Comrades Marathon. Nearly 17 000 runners have trained and trodden countless kilometres of tarmac in preparation for the 2010 Comrades ultra marathon, to be held on Sunday 30th May. The 89km race starts in Pietermaritzburg at 5:30am. In the morning chill, local supporters barbeque and cheer the runners along as they start on the first of 'big 5' hills that will require defeating. From undulating terrain that offers fairly comfortable running to a steep decent of 500m in only 22km, the Comrades Marathon route is both gruellingly agonising and spectacularly beautiful. With the rolling hills of the Cato Ridge farmlands and the large country homes that hug the hillsides of Hillcrest, the winter beauty of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa can hardly be matched.

    Televised to millions, the Comrades Marathon is an ideal opportunity for suppliers and sponsors to be noticed. Branding is seen from the first whistle to the winners finish tape. Unilevers' Flora Feather Banners are on display at the final lap of the Sahara Cricket Stadium and Reebok, Nedbank and Bonita’s Medical Fund Expand a Sign banners and branding are everywhere along the 56mile course. Restaurants at the roadsides set their banners up and Estate Agents, small businesses and franchise companies all take the opportunity to get their name and logo out there at such a significant annual sporting event.

    We have 2 Expand a Sign employees running the race this year (they have both completed it before so can't use first time ignorance as an excuse). We will all be enjoying ourselves that day, supporting the runners as they traipse like lemmings toward the sea and closer to that coveted medal.

    Personally, I intend to stretch myself out on a deckchair with a cuppa coffee and a blanket and watch the runners go by in the comfort of my winter woollies.

    See you on the day!
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