MANN the running mann by STUART MANN
New Kid on the Block
As regular readers of this column know , I love running marathons and ultra-marathons , but due to the COVID-19 pandemic , I have not been able to get my usual fix that often for the past two years . Thankfully , the races are coming back at last , and in February I kicked back into marathoning gear with the new Joburg North City Marathon .
( Marathon # 244 / 13 February 2022 )
With two daughters and one wife , I am totally emasculated at home . Even our cats are female . In fact , the only remaining semblance of masculinity I have left is my surname . I am so thoroughly domesticated that I even put the toilet seat back down when I travel for a marathon by myself . However , one of the few vestiges of male privilege that I do have left is being the only member of the household who can walk around topless ( in decent company ). Sadly , even that is becoming difficult , as the sight of my stomach unleashes a verbal barrage of sledges that would put Australians with sandpaper in their pockets to shame !
Who knew we would actually miss the sights & smells of early morning marathon starts ?
Let ’ s just say that middle age spread has hit me hard . Two marathons towards the end of last year did nothing to halt the slide , and the excess baggage continued to pile onto my midriff . COVID kilograms are difficult to shed . At home I have been favourably compared to dadbod Thor in Endgame ( but without the good hair ), been offered a stomach bra for my birthday along with a tank top ( apparently because my stomach is the size of a tank ), and have even had had songs written about my waistline ( the main lyrics are ‘ belly ,’ ‘ wobble ’ and ‘ jelly ,’ used in every possible combination ).
Therefore , with things going south , running a marathon that promised to help “ Find your true north ” seemed appropriate . I ’ d entered the inaugural Joburg North City Marathon in 2020 , but it ended up becoming the first COVID-cancelled casualty , so I wasn ’ t going to miss the event in 2022 .
Good to be Back
Race morning parking was super easy and efficient at the Marks Park start . I was looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and immediately bumped into my mate Julian as I stepped out of the car , followed by the friendly face of Fourways clubmate Janine a short while later . After a quick catch-up , I headed towards the impressive laager of cubicles to ensure that I started the race as light as possible .
To cater for COVID regulations , the race was timed mat-to-mat and both the full and half marathon runners were allowed to start any time between 6am and
Images : Martin Mulder & Courtesy Stuart Mann
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