Sunday, 26 April 2020

Lockdown loops may adjust circuit race perspectives

During lockdown, people are walking or running loops around their apartments and gardens to keep fit. Some of these loops can be as short as 25m, often in the 100m range and could be up to 230m. Even so, these are small loops to run around and around and around.

It got me thinking about running circuit races, where you run the course loop as many times as you can in the time available - usually 12hrs, 24hrs and up to 6-day events!

I've run two 12-hour events and I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences of these. I also did a trail circuit race in the Parys area unofficially in 2010 (I didn't stay over so I'd popped in to run for a few hours and then headed back to JHB).

In April 2006 I did a 12hr circuit race in Randburg on a 1km route. This one was run from 19h00 to 7am - through the night. It was superb! I clocked 98km and was the first lady and 3rd overall.

Dawn2Dusk in August 2015 was run in the day and it was swelteringly hot but a great experience nonetheless. For this one you had to reach at least 80km within the 12 hours available. I clocked 80km in about 10hrs and then retired to the shade and to shoot the breeze with friends. I was an idiot though because I was first or second lady at that stage and running well so I should have stayed out there walking and running to log more distance and an official placing. As I hadn't run more than 12-15km in months before this, I figured that 81km was just fine for me that day.

Runners (and non-runners!) will generally laugh when you tell them about circuit races with their response usually being, "And why would you do that???".

It really is fun!

I would reckon that right about now there are thousands of people that would see a 1km loop as a blessing. haha

You can argue that lockdown loops are run by necessity, because there is not another option. Circuit races are entered by choice, even though you have other options of running A to B or long-distance route.

Of course, circuit races are about mental fortitude but they're also far more of a 'party' that standard events and those that go through the night are quite special. You've got spectators, music, cheers and a great vibe from the company of other participants. This is really what circuit races are about.

For the sake of the circuit races out there (there are not many), I hope that after lockdown more runners will give these events a try.

With their lockdown-adjusted perspective, a one-kilometre, two-kilometre or three-kilometre loop will not seem such a ghastly thing anymore.

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