Monday, March 30, 2015

Now is certain. Tomorrow is not.

At races you get to meet really lovely people; and more so during small-field staged races where you spend days together. And very often it is the people that make these races more than the race, location and scenery.

In March 2013 I had the most wonderful opportunity to run in the five-day Namib Desert Challenge for a second time, having run the inaugural event a few years before.

One of the guys that I spent a lot of time with was Dave Gunner, who was out here from the UK with his brother Paul to participate. We ran all of stages 3, 4 and 5 together and as such he is pictured in many of my photographs -  a fine model to showcase the route and scenery and terrain of the race.

It it with sadness that I heard today of his passing from a few weeks ago.

Dave fell ill just after June last year and was diagnosed with leukaemia. He had a bone marrow transplant, which went ok but in January he got a lung infection. He passed away on 7 February 2015; his heart, which was under too much stress, had had enough (information on his health from a family member via a common running friend).

Dave's company and conversation on those long, long stretches at NDC made the race all the more enjoyable and memorable. Reading my daily blog posts and looking at the included photographs is a fresh reminder of the good - but tough - days we spent traversing the Soussousvlei area. We were well-suited running companions.

With 'English Dave' at the end of Stage 4 on top of Dune 45.
The passing of a fit and healthy running friend whose route through life has been cheated out of so many hundreds of kilometres is ever a reminder that for all of us that tomorrow is never a certainty.

Now is.

Stage 5 - Dead Vlei and only a few kilometres from the end. Photo by Hannisze.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Metrogaine Jo'burg on Wed 8 April 2015

With two weeks to go, event and entry info for MetrogaineJo'burg on Wednesday, 8 April 2015 is up.
We're starting from Fred's Mindful Runner store in Emmarentia (1 Olifants Rd).

As usual…

PAIRS at R140/pair

PRE-ENTRY only (please, please, please)

60min or 90 min course options

And before another person how asks me how far it is…

You've got a limited time (60mins or 90mins).

What you do in this time doesn't matter to me. Walk, run, crawl, sit-under-a-tree, go for coffee nearby. All that I'm concerned about is that you're back before your course cut-off. You can do what you want - whether 1km or 18km - just don't be late.

As it is school holidays, bring your children. Start 'em young.

I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I still don't get Twitter

Yes, I am on Twitter. In fact, I have two accounts. One is for FEAT-related content (@AdventureFEAT) and the other is mine, which I use for adventure racing/running/event content (@AdventureLisa).

I'm not very good at using either and although I post tweets here and there, I don't 'follow' anything or anyone on Twitter with any regularity. Actually, with none at all.

It's probably because I administer a bunch of websites, Facebook pages and email group lists that Twitter is, for me, the straw that breaks this social-media camel's back.

A few years ago I followed the Red Bull X-Alps event online with live tracking, and with Twitter. There were not that many people on Twitter and the content was very constructive - like notifications by followers of the weather conditions, when competitors were taking to the air.  This meant that I didn't have to keep an eye on tracking all the time and if something what happening, we found out about it immediately on Twitter. But now, with thousands more people on Twitter now, there's just too much traffic and nonsense to make Twitter of any use (I'll stick with online tracking).

And I enjoy using and following Twitter for Expedition Africa, where all tweets relevant to this expedition adventure race are hashtagged #expafrica.

For me, Twitter is that much of too much although I do appreciate that it is the social medium of choice for many.

When you die options

I don't want to be buried in a coffin. What a waste of space and money! And while I'm all for cremation, it doesn't seem such a waste to set fire to a body that still has a biological (and ecological) contribution to make and to just scatter the ashes to the wind.

I read the book 'Sky Burial' a few months ago. It's a lovely story named after the Tibetan funeral practice "in which a human corpse is placed on a mountaintop to decompose while exposing to the elements or to be eaten by scavenging animals, especially birds of prey" (tnx to Wiki for the definition).

Although we have vulture conservation and feeding programmes here, they're not quite up with presenting human carcasses to the birds. Imagine! A stash of human skeletons on top of the Magaliesberg! My mom doesn't fancy this at all - she doesn't want to be rolled off the back of a bakkie* and left for the vultures to pick clean.

* The rolled off the bakkie part - stark naked - is more of a concern to her than being picked clean by vultures.

This News24 column by Andreas Spath presents a number of eco friendly options.

This column was written in light of the South African Eco Film Festival, which starts on Thursday with screenings in JHB, CT, Pretoria and E. Cape.

On Monday night I'm going to watch the movie "A Will for the Woods". The story includes a movement that uses burial to conserve and restore natural areas. In other words, bodies become tree food.

I F-ing Love Science posted this NatGeo video earlier this year on "What happens to our bodies when we die". Tree food makes sense to me.

With my love of forests, it is little wonder that the Italian project Capsula Mundi so appeals to me.
"It's the first Italian project created to promote the realization of green cemeteries in our country. Capsula Mundi is a container with an old perfect shape, just like an egg, made with modern material -starch plastic- in which the dead body is put in a fetal position. Capsula Mundi is planted like a seed in the soil, and a tree is planted on top of it. The tree is chosen when the person is alive, relatives and friends look after it when death occurs. A cemetery will no longer be full of tombstones and will become a sacred forest."

Unfortunately this project has not yet been realised due to legislative issues. (check them out on FB). Also here's a piece from 3 March 2015 on IFLS. Here's their 'What to do when you're dead" edition.

Something like 56-million people die around the World each year (South Africa has the highest mortality rate in the World but a quick search online only gives murder numbers and not overall death numbers).

That's a big forest.