Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 156 Issue 156 - Feb 2023 | Page 43

Some of the rocky sections did pose a navigational challenge , says Sediqa …
Sediqa at the start with travel buddies ( and antinausea medication experts ) Ishmaeel and Zulfah
and I arrived at that point during low tide , when the river was calm .
Attached to either side of the mountain were two thick ropes , which runners could grab onto as they waddled . Two lifeguards , clad in wetsuits ( and not the red Baywatch Bay trunks , I ’ d so hoped for ) stood guard . My favourite part of the crossing was the photographer : He told me that the more I splashed , the better the photograph . Understanding the assignment , I magically transformed from a waddling penguin to a leaping springbok !
The rest of the race was simply a test of my endurance and fortitude . I kept my head down , barely taking in the views , cognisant only of my breathing and the intense humidity . I just kept moving forward , stopping only to refill my water bottle or to unhook my skin from a thorny bush . I was so intent on the mission , that when a toned Adonis told me sit down and relax at the Munchy Point ( the only food aid station on the route ), this perpetually single woman simply rolled my eyes and thought , “ My physio will moer me .” In the weeks leading up to Otter , said physio had spent a lot of time shoving needles into my calves and taping me up … and she ’ d said , in no uncertain terms , that I was not there to take in the views , I was there to run .
Blurry Memories
After the race , my friend Jonkers asked me what I thought about this section , or that climb , but I honestly don ’ t remember a thing . It was all brutal . After a while , all the steps ( there were so many ) and ascents simply blended together . They became as indistinguishable to me as the Olsen twins .
I remember Zulfah giving me a hug at the start of the race , which helped calm my nerves . I remember the wonderful fragrance permeating through the forest – someone claimed it was lavender . I remember getting lost near the end , along the large boulders littering the coast . I was scrambling towards a huge yellow spot , which I assumed was a painted marker . It was not , it was moss . Minutes later I heard a shout . Looking up , I spotted a man , 10 metres above me , and he was on the actual path . ( Mind you , I got lost running towards the finish line , too . Instead of running up the stairs towards the little girls holding the medals , which would be the logical thing to do , I ran around the finish structure . Apparently , I have the navigational skills of a deaf bat .)
But mostly I remember the feeling of triumph and accomplishment once I ’ d crossed the finish line . I am so grateful to the race sponsor for giving me this opportunity , for Ishmaeel and Zulfah driving me to Nature ’ s Valley , and for everyone who made me laugh during this epic journey .
Fortunately , no sharks were spotted at the Bloukrans River crossing
The next Otter African Trail Run takes place in October 2023 , with the Otter Challenge taking place on 4 & 5 October , followed by the Otter Race on 6 & 7 October . According to the event website , entries are already sold out , but you can request to be added to the waiting list . More info at https :// otter . run .
Sediqa basking in that post-run medal glow !