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COMRADES 2018: THE CHECKLIST

May 21, 2018

Oh my goodness I can’t believe I’ve rediscovered this blog! Seriously life has been so hectic between address changes, training, football and the odd event that it hasn’t been until now that I’ve been compelled or able to write something about the return to South Africa in just over 2 weeks time. I’m sure I’ll give an update on a couple of the race weekends soon enough as a lead in to the big day which is precisely 21 days from the time of writing.

At this time it’s time I played Santa Claus, no not to give presents to all the kids out there 6 months too early, but to make a list and check it twice of what I need to bring and do before it’s go time. Just about everyone of the 20000 projected starters will have some sort of list, but mine is as public as anything is going to get. This list may be handy if you’re planning to do an event overseas (not necessarily Comrades, but perhaps something like Boston or New York) or even if you’re travelling to a big event as many runners tend to do.

THE LIST

– Running Shoes

The clogs I’m trusting on race day

Purchased after the Canberra Ultra, my new clogs have been worn in and even used at the Wings for Life run in Melbourne at the start of May. As is my custom I’m not planning to wear them in the last week before Comrades, the fear of a blow out or other failure is too high.

– Timing Chip
Unlike most events these days the chip for Comrades is attached to the shoe, and I cannot obtain my race numbers in Durban without it (or I’ll need to waste time and money obtaining a new chip, for each chip is designed to be attached to one person and one person only). This will likely be the first thing to be packed in the big suitcase as for me behind the passport it will be the most important item for me to remember to take. I’ll probably attach the chip to the laces before going to sleep the night before in the motel room.

– Running Clothing
I have purchased new running shorts which I would like to test out before departure, as well as wearing the same singlet I wore last year with the addition this year of Australian badges being sewn on the front and back. The sewing is on the to do list for this week, getting them straight though is harder than anticipated. I also have 3 fresh pairs of socks given I like wearing a new pair of socks where possible for big runs (even if it goes against some advice not to try anything new on race day). Hopefully I’ll be able to buy a cheap pair of sunglasses either in Melbourne. Singapore or Durban to run in, and like last year the cap included in the race pack will probably go on backwards over a visor on top. I’ll probably also wear an older jumper for the start in Pietermaritzburg with will likely be discarded either at the start or shortly after, hopefully someone less fortunate will get as much use out of it as I did.

One of the badges to be attached is now on, the other on the back is still to come.

– Travel Documents
My Passport is on top of the bag I intend to use, the itinerary will probably be the last thing I print out before departing my home base. I’ll probably also print out copies of my accommodation bookings which I don’t often do these days for domestic travel.

– A new Phone
Given that I’ve had my current phone for 13 months I feel I need to buy a replacement, and Tuesday I should be able to get a phone. The reason for this purchase is so I can get an “Unlocked” (meaning not belonging exclusively to a network provider) phone to get a South African sim for data purposes, meaning I can upload some content from my phone whether it is a Facebook post, a tweet, an Instagram picture or even a YouTube video immediately rather than having to wait to return to the motel room to post everything.

– Travel Kit
Given the whole trip is a 2 week event I’ll be packing more clothing than normal. Perhaps some fresh casual socks and underwear will be required, and I already have purchased another towel. Toiletries and other items I feel necessary will go in as required.

– Alarms
It may seem strange to a few that this may go on a list, but setting an alarm is critical given the need to commute from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on race morning at an earlier than normal time, I’ll need to remember to set multiple alarms at an early hour to enable that I have enough time to be mentally ready, to have consumed some food (it is going to be a long day after all) and to have enough time to get on a shuttle as early as possible. Many I know are still trying to get rooms in PMB but if I was going to choose that option I would have needed to book 12 months in advance much like I do for the Gold Coast Marathon.

– Finances
The last thing I’ll need prior to departing Australia is to get enough cash in order to pay for taxis and for other food post race given that they’ll likely be cash only affairs. Fortunately I have enough loaded thus far to pay for anything on a card should I need that in South Africa, and at this stage I’m looking to load enough Singaporean dollars to secure the transit motel room booked for the long layover on the return trip.

– Race Plans
In the next fortnight I’ll be formulating how I’ll be looking to tackle the race piece by piece. The final plan however won’t be finalised until the bus tour on Friday Morning, as I will be trying to pick up any type of pointer I can if it helps. Of course it may also help if I actually read my notes, as last year I scribbled some notes on the course but didn’t really end up referring to them prior to race day as was the intention

– Race Eve shopping
Usually many try to have everything organised well in advance, but as part of my routine I like to purchase some things I feel I need to succeed the morning prior to the big run. Much like last year I’ll be likely purchasing Bananas (again hoping to remember to take them on the run), Energade (the sports drink of choice on course, this will enable I won’t have to spend time in the early stages battling through a crowd to get fluid), Vaseline, Bandages and perhaps even scissors as I’m loathe to take them from Australia for security purposes.

Of course there will be more specific lists of what I need to take and what I have to do, however these key items will be what I will be focusing on this time around. There will be a few more blog posts in the next couple of weeks detailing race plans and what’s happening on the trip. I’m actually feeling pretty excited about this now that the day is within sight.

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