Thursday 24 April 2008

My Buff collection

I much prefer getting Buffs at big run races and ARs rather than t-shirts. Most girls will agree with me on this because the t-shirts handed out are usually too big - men style - with hems down to our thighs and sleeves past our elbows. Buffs, on the other hand, fit everyone. Whether you use it as a... Buff... or hankie or camera protector, this remains a small, packable and useful piece of fabric.
I've been collecting Buffs for 8-years now and my collection is looking healthy. Best of all, the entire bundle takes up less space than one t-shirt or sweater. These are my Buffs...

  1. My first Buff (2000). This is one of the original designs (Logo Blue) - still popular. [CORRECTION Thursday night - This was my second Buff! I forgot about the first one because I haven't had it in my hands for years - my mom swiped it. My very first one was the Rasta Buff design. Now that I'm feeling all sentimental about my Buffs I have reclaimed it ;)]
  2. SA Flag Buff (2000) - this is actually the second SA Flag version. I had the original one, designed by Sheila Collins (Mark and John's mom) but I gave it to a friend who was sanding wooden planks for a fence. The Buff worked like a bomb to keep out the dust. I think I got this one in 2005 or 2006.

  3. My light-blue Gecko Buff is missing from this photo because I don't know where it is. I know I had it recently because I use it to protect my camera out in the field. Mmmm... I hope it hasn't gone MIA. I got this Buff (the style is Salamandra Blue) at the Augrabies Extreme Marathon in 2001.

  4. My running friend Bob, from Virginia USA, have me this National Geographic Buff after I ran Jungle Marathon in Brazil (Sept 2003). I call it my "Jungle Buff" and it has become my ultra running talisman, accompanying me on all long races.

  5. Primal Quest 2004 Buff - this one has great memories of the first major event I covered on the media side. This was also the occasion when I got to meet adventure racing's icons, made famous by Mark Burnett's Eco Challenge races and productions: Ian Adamson, Mike Kloser, Robyn Benincasa, Rebecca Rusch... I felt like a tourist in Hollywood and was completely overwhelmed.

  6. Rob Howard, editor of, gave me this SleepMonsters Buff. I had covered a number of events for them.

  7. One of the great things about being a journo at events is the swag (goodie bags). I spent 3-days at Eastnor Castle in England in early February 2006 for the Land Rover G4 International selections. It was FREEZING (legitimae sub-sero temperatures). This Land Rover G4 Buff was attached to my body for the whole 3-day period. I also had a really fabulous beanie, which I think I lost in the ladies restroom at Heathrow airport; I was juggling bags and changing from outdoor clothes to aeroplane clothes. Still, I have this fabulous Buff as a reminder of a very neat experience over there.

  8. This Uge.Events Buff is very cool. Its design incorporates photographs from various events presented by Uge.Events. My logo is on the Buff and I took all the photographs featured in the design (except one which I can't clearly recognise).

  9. In July last year I ran the Rhodes Trail Run (52km) for the first time. It's an enjoyable run and I had a great day out, the weather was perfect and I got some cool photos of this lovely area. I'll take my Rhodes Run Buff with me when I return to run the race this July. I'm hoping it will remind me to stop checking the scenery and to improve on my time from last year.

  10. In June 2007 I accepted the position of Gear Editor for Runner's World SA magazine. My first gear section published in the August 2007 issue was on reflective items to improve the visibility of runners on the road in the dark. This bright Gas Fluor Reflective Buff featured in the review and I also got to keep it afterwards (Thank you Christo). I also received the yellow-and-black reflective Buff, which went to my happy helper who assisted in grading the visibility of items under the glare of car headlamps, at night and in the cold, on a quiet residential street.

This is one item you really can't have too many of. I pick and choose which ones to wear according to the type of race, where it is and what mood I'm in. But one thing is for certain, whether I'm competing or on the side as a marshal, organiser or media, I always have at least one with me.

Monday 21 April 2008

Disappointing Deepak

I was given a ticket to attend Deepak Chopra’s much-publicised seminar at Sandton Convention Centre this past Saturday. I’d heard the ads on radio, saw them in the paper and didn’t know much about him except that he was a big name in the consciousness and mind-body connection movements. I found him uninspiring, dull and unable to string a logical sentence together.

The newspaper advert announced, “Do not miss this rare opportunity to: See one of the most influential personal development authorities in the world today; Learn new knowledge to help you stay ahead of the same; Discover new ideas and practical tools required for success; and Become energised and inspired to break free of your fears and awaken your potential”.

Deepak promotes a number of themes: the holistic interconnection of mind and body, especially relating to meditation and self-awareness in healing; various religious themes relating God as a projection of human awareness; personal consciousness, where a person’s awareness in the present shapes their existence after death; and the development of a critical mass of people operating on a higher consciousness.

I’d been online before the talk to read up a little about him and to check his age; he’ll be 62 this year (he looks early-50’s in the photo used on the ads).

We were told to get there at 12, with the talk starting at 13h00. As usual, I was punctual. Over the next hour 3000 people filtered into the massive room, which was filled with chairs arranged in blocks and rows. Deepak rocked up on stage at 13h22. I was already irritated; punctuality is important – lateness shows disrespect and inconsideration for his audience. He then thanks he friends and “renaissance” for hosting him in South Africa… it was Regenesys (a business school; he corrected his error promoted by those in front); their name and logo was projected on the 4 massive screens and on the wall above his head.

For the first hour of this presentation I was flabbergasted; and not by any display of profound thought and insight. He was like that guy on The Apprentice who my friend eloquently agrees was “that awful prat described as stringing words together and thinking people would be impressed”. His verbal sentences didn’t make much sense (to me). I frequently listen to TED Talks and I can comfortably follow neurologists, rocket scientists, architects, mathematicians and writers so I do not doubt my comprehension abilities nor intelligence.

Deepak spent the hour flinging numbers across the room like how often the liver replaces its cells (he worked through various organs) and how many atoms are in the human body. This was linked to the concept that the body our mind resides in today is not the same body we had 3 months ago… And in the breaking down of the old cells atoms are released which we share with other people so I am made up of atoms from you, and a person in Durban and another in New York… and because atoms are conserved I even have atoms from Ghandi in me…

I quite liked his bit about the body we’re in now isn’t the same as the body I had 3 months ago (new skin, new blood, new liver etc) but I don’t buy it. You replace an exhaust pipe in a car one week and a battery the next but it is still the same car. As for sharing atoms… He then hammered on about consciousness this and consciousness that.

I’m all for colour therapy, chakras, meditation, yoga, Feng Shui and related esoteric elements but I wasn’t sold on Deepak’s concepts. Perhaps it is because I’m an ex-cell biologist and geneticist? Of interest, Deepak is a medical doctor board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology.

At half-time I asked the girl next to me whether she could sum up in a few sentences what he’d been talking about. She was about my age, Indian, a lawyer and a big Deepak fan; she’s read all of his books. She couldn’t sum up his message. I hoped the second half would be better.

I made a couple of notes in the second session to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything. He blabbed on a lot about universal consciousness and universal manifestation… I still don’t get what they are.

He did 3 “meditations” during the sessions, which were guided by loud, swelling music and voiced by a movie-trailer voice that didn’t seem logical and coherent either (the meditation was not guided by him).

My experience of meditation has been quiet, focused on self-awareness and the stilling of our “naughty monkey minds” which are never content to be in the present; instead our minds constantly turn to the past or future. I prefer this less “Americanised” version.

He has music CD’s, videos and has authored 40 books - pumping out two to four books a year. He pulls crowds. The cheapest tickets were R390, next at R590 and next at R700 and a couple of VIP tickets at R1300. There were probably close to 1000 people in each of the three ticket categories.

Deepak says, “Money will not make you happy; happiness will make you money”. I’m sure he’s a very happy guy.

After listening to this presentation by “one of the World’s greatest experts in the field of leadership, personal and emotional intelligence” I should have been moved to rush across to the bookstore to buy his latest offering. I wasn’t.

Another thought I did have during the talk was that if he’d taken on a physical challenge like a multi-day adventure race in his younger years he would probably have found a different path to enlightenment.

For me adventure racing and staged ultra running are life-altering journeys of self-discovery. There is no book or seminar that can teach self-reflection and the lessons about yourself, your abilities and other people as succinctly as a distance event. These challenges put you in touch with your existence, they repackage your perspective on life, aspirations, stresses and priorities; and they take you out of the river of memory and into the present, where nothing exists but eating, sleeping and forward progression.

Don’t waste your time indoors in a massive hall with 2999 other people listening to a talking head on stage. An adventure race or mountain run is the best unlocking your potential and deeper meaning, true nature and purpose of our existence seminar you can attend.

Sponsors support our sport

Last week I went to a sponsorship contract signing; the signing of an agreement between a team and their sponsor. Since Gideon and Christelle du Toit started a few years ago they have been supportive of adventure racing. They advertise on and they sponsor a team; in a cash donation and by offering the team a substantial discount on products. What I like most about Kreature is that they don't care how well the team does. They want the team to compete regularly, be proud Kreature ambassadors and - most of all - have fun.

While some sponsors want to sponsor only winning teams, others - like Kreature - are more interested in getting their name into the community by supporting people who are involved in the community (attend club evenings, meet-and-mingle) and actively participating in adventure races (sprint and distance) and related disciplines (trail running, mtb, orienteering, paddling). And it works. The new Kreature team has just setup a Blog to showcase their team and activities -

My mom recently told me about a thing she read about the person who selects young students for the Bolshoi Ballet school. They don't always choose the best dancers; they choose those students who are willing to learn and be trained the Bolshoi way.

Tying this back to AR; a sponsor's return is probably far greater when they support a team that gets involved and has fun taking part in all kinds of events. Teams that win don't make the front page of the Sunday Times anyway and I've yet to discover what the actual return is from tv coverage of an event (for team sponsors and the sport). Minimal at best.

A sponsor's biggest exposure avenue is within the adventure racing community. These are the people who buy and use their products; and adventure racers have friends and family who they introduce to these products and services. In this way the message spreads.

Mark Goulding sent an email to the National AR email group earlier this month about this - sponsor return. He is formerly of the first Team Kreature; currently playing dad and offering his marshalling services at races, like Swazi Xtreme. I have pasted his comments below because Mark really puts into perspective how people in our community support sponsors because the sponsors support our sport.

"Here are some examples of how I have done this for the last 6 years that I have been involved with AR," says Mark.

  1. I needed a car so I bought a MITSUBISHI as they sponsored Darkzone, Moolmanshoek etc.

  2. I had to service the car so this was done at SANDOWN MOTORS

  3. I must eat veggies each day so I think (and buy) MCCAIN. Sometimes I even buy their oven chips!

  4. For carb drinks when training, protein shakes between meals at work when I was racing (and diet meal replacements now that I am fat) I use USN. If it works for Heidi and Stephan it works for me and I specifically moved from other brands to USN due to their long support of that team.

  5. I bought cycling kit from Linden Cycles and SUMMIT CYCLES.

  6. I need sunglasses for when I drive to work so I wear WILEYX or NIKE.

  7. All my sporting clothing is FIRST ASCENT or CAPESTORM.

  8. I must eat breakfast and JUNGLE OATS is a good low GI index food.

  9. When I drink bottled water I try to make sure its AQUELLA and POWERADE for sports drinks and I get my company to stock them and Liqui Fruit in the canteen.

  10. I buy all my AR equipment from and only if they dont stock the item do I look at CAPE UNION MART or DUE SOUTH.

  11. All my business casual clothing is JEEP and when we needed a pram and baby car seat we bought the JEEP range.

  12. Having been informed by my wife that I must take vitamins I now buy FOODSTATE.

  13. I race in MONTRAIL shoes and now have 4 pairs and have given away about 3 when I wore them out

  14. I have SALOMON that I wear as casual shoes and I use their 30L backpacks for AR's (or my 2nd clean bag as my hand luggage bag when I fly) and the 15L backpack with bladder when I trail run and mountain bike. I will shortly be buying their Aqua shoes to try paddling in.

  15. I bought all my boats etc from COMPASS SPORT and have just bought a PFD and other equipment from Robbie Herreveld.

  16. My next bike will be a SPECIALIZED.

  17. I tried STIRLING LIGHT LAGER but could not go that far and had to move onto other SAB beers (sorry Saffy - at least I gave it a go and still stayed with the company!)

  18. I have talked a number of my family and friends into SUUNTO watches, SALOMON clothing and shoes and ever a SUBARU WRX (that was a fun one)

  19. NETCARE 911 is the ambulance that gets called when we need it at work.

  20. Being in the financial field I will go and check out BUNKER CAPITAL to see their products and will hopefully learn more about them as the Bull grows so I can see whether they are people I or my clients may want to work with.

  21. There are a couple of other sponsors such as GRAVITY TRAINING who I am unfortunatly unable to give work to as I don't move in those circles (not many accountants want rope skills training as part of their profession!) but if I ever hear of a client or friend that needs it - I will be in there like a shot.

Mark's email is on target and his email is a true reflection of the impact that sponsorships have within their target community.

Sponsors, we appreciate your support of our sport.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Is there a doctor in the House?

I've just finished watching series 1 of House on DVD. I'm a fan. One of House's stand-out traits is that he believes that patients lie: "I don't ask why patients lie, I just assume they all do". If they'd actually let me into medical school and if I'd qualified I fear that I may have turned out as curious as House and as irritable when faced with mundane complaints; but at least I'm a bit more of a people person. Still, where House believes his patients lie, I believe that patients don't listen to advice, especially when you have something to say that they don't want to hear.

I'm no exercise scientist; in hindsight I took the wrong fork down the road of medically-related biological studies. Nonetheless, I benefited from a healthy dose of cell biology, genetics, physiology, neurology, histology and anatomy. Still, none of these have anything on common sense, which no primary, secondary or tertiary education can teach.

There was the woman (about the same age as me) who I bumped into at the gym a few weeks ago. She runs for my old running club and has been battling with a stress fracture (anterior tibia) since November last year. She'd been in pain for FIVE MONTHS. Cause: too much running, too little rest - a lovely, common over-use sports injury. Symptoms: pain when running which diminishes after two days of inactivity but flares up just as bad as ever within 5-minutes of running. Her treatment: rest two days, try running again, be in agony, rest two days, try running again, be in agony...

I suggested that she rest, lie on the couch and watch loads of DVDs for a few weeks. I then offered sound rehabilitation advice that included walk/run sessions on grass and a steady build-up. Wikipedia has a fantastic paragraph about treatment for stress fractures:

"Rest is the only way to completely heal a stress fracture. The average time of complete rest from the activity that caused the stress fracture is three weeks. A fracture requires 4 to 8 weeks of recuperation, however, which may include no more than light use of the injured body part, as long as the activity does not cause pain. After the recuperative period, another 2 weeks of mild activity without any pain may be recommended before the bone may be safely considered healed and activity may gradually increase."

You don't need a MBBCh to understand this.

Aside from "Really?" she also said, "No, I couldn't do that". Although I hadn't yet watched House - I would have maybe learned some more articulate responses - I said, "Then don't and keep running in pain. Your choice."

A friend of mine ran a fantastic marathon this weekend. He went running today and "had a shocking run this morning". I replied, "I'm not surprised you had a bad run this morning. Give it a rest for a few days!" He probably won't. (I hope you're reading this friend)

Tonight I was chatting to a gym friend while we were on the Technogym Cardio Wave machine (love it!). We were discussing the fantastic Ironman results achieved this past Sunday (neither of us did Ironman).

"How long should you take a break after something like Ironman?" she asked.

"A week and a bit of doing nothing can only do good," I replied. "It's like saying 'Thank you Body. Enjoy the break 'cos I'll be needing your services again once you're rested'."

"Nothing at all?" she asked.

"Take the dog for a walk every day, do a yoga class... no running, no cycling, no exerting yourself."

A few years ago after a 60-odd hour adventure I took two or three days of rest and was feeling great. No sore muscles and my feet were in perfect condition. I felt like some exercise so I went to the gym, got on the treadmill, ran for 2-minutes, turned off the treadmill and went home. My body felt dog tired. When you're walking around at work and home you can feel fantastic but when you up the intensity that's when your body starts to talk to you. Open your ears and listen.

I returned a week later and was back on form. After long races I now always take a week off whether I feel fatigued or not.

Why do we seem to think we're missing the boat if we're not back in the saddle 24-48 hours later?

Continuing my discussion with Michelle at the gym I revealed my "Extended Rest Theory": "It's not just the race. It's the weeks of training before the race too. A week or more of rest and a slow build-up again is saying thank you for all of that too."

Her eyes lit up. "We forget about all of the pre-race training stuff, don't we?" she commented.

"Ja," I answered. "And it isn't just about the training, the race, the rest and the present. There's a big picture - the rest of your life. You should want to be in good condition for all those years to come and hammering your body with no thank you rests is ignoring the big picture."

Our 20-minutes were up and we went our separate ways.

How many people do you know with recurring injuries or little niggles that just don't seem to ever go away completely? We can probably count at least two, or three, or four - that is if you're not including yourself...

In 2001 I met a 67 year old German man at a 7-day staged ultra. Seven years later he is still running ultras around the World and even holds several Guinness Book records for his age group achievements. I also know an amazing 64-year old woman will beat me at a 15km road race (or even a half marathon) if I don't move it.

This is the big picture... it is my big picture. These people are my role models and I want to be just like them (or better!) when I'm in my 60's and 70's.

When you're next in the mall look at how many middle-age people hobble around. There could be various reasons: old injuries too serious for complete rehabilitation; injuries that could have been competely rehabilitated through disciplined correction and (my favourite); lack of exercise and body neglect. Since the latter are not related to exercise I'll conveniently ignore them. But disciplined correction... rest is a part of disciplined correction.

Bringing this back to House... most athletes don't lie about their injuries (I don't think they do?) and they do expect to be right-as-rain a day or two after completing a substantial physical challenge. And they expect to chase a niggle away with a run. Substitute a half-dozen training sessions for a box set of House; a week invested now will return a decade of weeks later.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Happy 7th Birthday

This day, 7 years ago, this adventure racing website was born. It was originally launched with the domain, After only a few months the website address was condensed to

The site has seen various layout designs, colours and even logos; the current logo has been around for about 3-years.

Every year on's birthday I reminisce about the site and how much it means to me; just like a parent remembering their child's birth. seems to have been in my life for ages and it is still there constantly demanding news additions, calendar changes and updates.

Editing and writing content for the site has also been very rewarding; aside from the community aspects and contribution to the sport of adventure racing, the site has opened many doors for me in terms of media and event reporting.

For the past week I've been thinking about the number 7 - it really is quite a milestone. I came up with a number of "seven" references and found some other interesting ones online.

So, as I celebrate by baby's birthday with cupcakes and tea, enjoy reading these (in no particular order).
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sneezy, Bashful, Sleepy and Dopey
  • The classic staged, self-sufficient ultradistance footrace duration is 7-days, like that of the "grand daddy" of staged ultras, Marathon des Sables ( MDS is now in its 23rd year. This format has been mimicked by many other events including Augrabies Extreme and the 4 Desert Series races. Staged ultra running is one of my favourite things.
  • Seven days of the week (Monday to Sunday)

  • Seven deadly sins - lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride

  • Seven virtues - chastity, moderation, liberality, charity, meekness, zeal and humility

  • Although the phrase "Seven Year Itch" has been around since the 1800's, it was popularisted by the 1955 movie of the same title, staring Marilyn Monroe . The plot suggests that many men have extra-marital affairs after 7 years of marriage. Thus the meaning of the phrase describes this supposed urge for infidelity after seven years of marriage. It is now often extended to refer to an urge to move on from any situation.

  • There are seven notes in the Western Major Scale - A to G (or do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do)

  • Seven heavenly objects are visible to the naked eye; Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.

  • According to Jewish mysticism, heaven is divided into seven realms; Araboth, the seventh heaven, is the highest and holiest. Islam also recognises seven levels of heaven.

  • The Secret Seven is a delightful series of children's books, by Enid Blyton, about a fictional group of child detectives. If you were born in the 50's - 70's you probably grew up reading these.

  • Steven Covey's book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published in 1989. With over 15-million copies sold - in 38 lanuages - it has been the most successful self-help book. Covey's 7 principles are simple and effetive: 1) be proactive, 2) begin with the end in mind, 3) put first things first, 4) think win-win, 5) seek first to understand, then to be understood, 6) synergise and 7) sharpen the saw.

  • 7-a-side rugby is a variation on the traditional 15 player team format.

  • There are many Seven Wonders of the World lists, including those for Natural Wonders and Wonders of the Industrial and Underwater Worlds. The earliest extant version of a list of Seven Wonders was compiled by Antipater of Sidon, who described the seven ancient structures in a poem (approx 150BC). As the Great Pyramid was the only Wonder of the Ancient World still standing (the other six were destroyed by earthquake, fire or other reasons) in our modern World, a list of New Seven Wonders of World ( was recently voted (July 2007). They are: Great Wall of China, Petra, Christ the Redeemer (statue, Brazil), Machu Picchu, Chichen Itza, Colosseum, Taj Mahal, Great Pyramid (I've seen only one of these - Taj Mahal)

  • The current Seven Seas are: North Pacific Ocean, the South Pacific Ocean, the North Atlantic Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Antarctic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. In Medieval European literature, the Seven Seas referred to any seven of the following eleven bodies of water: the Adriatic Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Irish Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea.

  • We're all well aware of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on the Seven Continents. These include: Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mt Elbrus (Europe), Vinson (Antartica), Denali (North America), Aconcagua (S. America), Carstensz Pyramid (Australia-New Guinea) and Mt Everest (Asia).
        • I recently read Heinrich Harrer's book, "The White Spider" about summit attempts on Eiger's North Face. Written in 1958 it is a classic. Harrer was one of the trio who made the first ascent in 1934. He is also the fellow who spent "Seven Years in Tibet" and wrote a book about it (Brad Pitt was in the movie version)
        • Lance Armstrong won 7 consecutive Tour de France races (1999-2005)

        • Michael Schumacher won 7 Formula 1 Championship titles (2 with Bennetton and 5 with Ferrari) - I used to be a F1 addict

        • When asked to think of a number between one and 10, most people pick seven

        • We spend seven years in primary school (grades 1-7).

        • In Vedic Hindu tradition, the human body features seven basic chakras, or "wheels of energy

        • Almost all mammals have seven cervical vertebrae (including those with very short necks, such as elephants and whales, and those with very long necks, such as giraffes). The few exceptions include the manatee and the two-toed sloth, which each have only six cervical vertebrae, and the three-toed sloth with nine cervical vertebrae.
        • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet were originally named as the seven colors of the rainbow. Some consider indigo and violet to be the same colour.

        • Telephone numbers have 7 digits, excluding area code

        • Seven is considered a lucky number. A row of 7's is the winning number combination on the one-armed bandit (slot machine): 7-7-7

        Happy 7th Birthday !

        Wednesday 2 April 2008

        "I'm just not that calibre..."

        This evening at gym I met two chaps, Darryl and Paul. Brothers. They were next to me in the stretching area. Darryl says to Paul, "Isn't there an adventure race on this Saturday". "I think so," Paul replies. Unable to resist I add, "Ja, the Jozi event".

        We get chatting and Darryl asks, "You doing the Swazi one?".

        "No," I replied. "I'm helping Darron with some of the organisation stuff. I hope you're going to be there?"

        "I'm just not that calibre...".

        Darryl didn't make it much past the last syllable.

        "This is just the problem," I continued. "Preconceptions and misconceptions. You think you can't do it before you've even tried."

        99.2% of the people lined up at the start of Swazi Xtreme (and any other distance race for that matter - Eden, Nguni, Bull etc) are not of that unattainable, imagined calibre. They're normal people with jobs, children, families, responsibilities, overtime, social committments and home maintenance. They also enjoy being outdoors and active and even though they may skip a whole week of training, they just decide to go for it anyway.

        They then got the usual from me on how sprint races are no reflection on an adventure race; that teams that make it through a race do so because they're consistent, not fast; that they would have probably considered entering if sprint races never existed and a 3-day was was all there was; and that they should enter the SPORT event (essentially a 3-day, staged sprint race) as a pair - then they need only one support crew and one vehicle.

        In the course of the conversation two other elements emerged as to why they hadn't entered (aside from not being of the imagined "calibre"):

        "My life is not very organised" and "But..."

        My responses to the above were:

        "Get it organised" (I've been watching a lot of Dr House on DVD) and "Procrastionation! If you have a heart attack in the middle of May or are in an accident I bet you'll wish you'd just given the race a go?" (I've thought stuff like this a lot recently - first after the untimely of my dear friend Paul in Oct 2004 and then again when Philip passed away last year).
        Darryl asked, "Do you get commission?". Funny boy.
        If it wasn't Swazi it would be something else; and whether it is Nguni, Singletrack Mania, Eden, Bull, Mondi or Quantum Adventures they'd get the same talking to. Believe friends, believe.

        One Sunday afternoon, a few weeks ago, I stopped in at my uncle's place to say hi; it was the afternoon after my SPUR event. There were a whole bunch of people there, including my cousin's cousin, who was out from the UK to visit. I think she's been over there for about 3-4 years. She says to my younger cousin, "So what's new?". "Nothing," he answered, holding his 1-year old daughter (I personally thought she'd count as "new"). Nothing new in 4-years?

        Readers-of-this-blog... I do hope that you don't answer "Nothing" to that same question.
        You can choose to make your life interesting. You can choose to present yourself with challenges. You can choose to open that door. What's the worst that can happen? You can be really buggered after Day 1 and choose to spend Day 2 in the shade and continue on Day 3. There's no shame in this.

        But there is shame in not giving yourself a chance and being able to answer "What's new?" with a tale of an adventurous escapade.

        Darryl and Paul: you go to my gym, you obviously live nearby and I can get your contact details from event organisers of sprints in which you've taken part. I do hope you'll think about it.