Comrades Day 2014 #246

Daily painting #246. 4"x6" oil on primed canvas panel

As the sun sets in a golden sky this evening I am humbled by what is one of South Africa's biggest road running races ....the Comrades Marathon. As the sun is setting some runners are only just completing their race after starting out on the road this morning at 5.30 am to complete a distance of  89,28 kilometers (about roughly 57 miles....I think).  The runners run a route from Pietermaritzburg (inland) down towards the coastline to Durban....it is a grueling race with lots of hills and probably one of the toughest mental challenges these athletes will ever face. Thousands of people participate and many overseas athletes rate it as one of the best races in the world to participate in. I think this has less to do with the challenge of the race and everything to do with the atmosphere of sportsmanship, camaraderie and fellowship that this race brings out in the athletes. Thousands of supporters line the route from Pietermaritzburg to Durban to encourage the athletes along the way and provide refreshments. The atmosphere is amazing and I find it so emotional! My family laugh at me every year as I sit bleary eyed, tears streaming down my face watching people help fellow athletes, arm in arm to reach that finish line. Runners picking fellow athletes up off the ground when that finish line is in sight and yet their legs just will not move any longer.....athletes risking medal cut offs to help others cross that line! And my worst .....those brave athletes who have run the 89 kilometers and have the finish line in sight but just don't make it over before the gun goes off at a cut off time of 12.30 hours! My golly.....my nerves are shot watching the finish on the television and I salute all those athletes who crossed that line today (and those who didn't) and especially those that spoke words of encouragement or assisted in a way that helped someone find the will to carry on....you are all champions! I am blown away by the reminder again of the strength of human determination and how if we set our minds to something....anything is possible!

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