Bets were against us to finish this 250km adventure race through Swaziland - a notoriously tough one that I'd participated in since it started in 2001 - organised by Darron Raw. But, finish we did. The event wrapped up in 2010 after a decade of annual events.
It's 10 years to the day that we took part in this event and I got to know not only one of the icons in South African sport and running, but also an incredibly kind and warm-hearted man, Bruce Fordyce. It never ceases to amaze me, when I see Bruce at runs, how people gravitate to him. He always has a moment for a photo and a special word for runners - from novices to those that have been running for decades.
At the time I knew Evan from adventure racing. Young and strong, he enthusiastically joined the team and proved to be a fun (and funny) teammate and a superb navigator.
David Vlok was fresh off many years of staring in the tv soap, Egoli. I'd never watched it but from what I know his character was a nasty fellow. In person, David was a bit of a celeb on the outside and could come across as quite ego-y, mucho and even aggressive (he is not unfamiliar with bar brawls). But in reality, David is friendly and with a gentle nature and good humour. Although I see him rarely, I think of him with fondness. I'm not quite sure what he is up to these days; I think he and Bruce still see each other here and there.
Evan has been cycling around the world for just over a year. In December he biked through Syria and Iran. I'm not sure where he currently is. His blog is ontheroadtosomewhere.weebly.com.
Bruce, as you well know, is the father of parkrun in South Africa and still so much a part of Comrades and running culture.
If you're up for a bit of a read, my race report from Swazi Xtreme 2006 is still online. It's in a side directory on my www.AR.co.za website on a sub-site I built for the event.
|Team Jungle before the start: David Vlok, Bruce Fordyce, me and Evan Price.|
|Team Jungle at the finish: Bruce, Lisa, Evan and David.|
|Still clowns. As Bruce says, "From Swazi Extreme to parkrunning!" 10 years on. Lisa and Bruce yesterday.|