Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 160 August 2023 | Page 32

Meghan and Catherine , runner and second , at the finish of the 2023 Comrades

Tales of a First-time Comrades Second

There is something electric about the Comrades Marathon . The nerves and excitement in the air are almost tangible , and you get to see how this wonderful sport brings us all together . I was lucky enough to watch the most dedicated , phenomenal people pour their hearts and souls into training for this year ’ s run , and was then afforded the opportunity to be very much part of the journey when two brave friends of mine , Meghan and Shaun King , decided to entrust me with the job of being their second as they embarked on their novice Comrades Marathon journeys . The result was an epic day on the road and a chance to experience the Comrades Marathon in a completely different way . – BY CATHERINE DIXON ( with JANINE NORTJE )


vividly remember the first conversation I had with Meghan on 28 August 2022 – the day of the 2022 Comrades . She was a relatively new member at Westville Athletic Club , and other than having seen each other around and following each other on Strava , we had never really interacted . I was at the Westville tent on the route , when she approached me and invited me to my very first trail run . Little did I know that this invitation would lead to a phenomenal friendship , full of laughs and adventures – one such adventure involved us getting lost on a long run and ending up on the N3 for 400m – and ultimately the honour of being asked to be her second at Comrades this year ... all in the space of 10 months .
As a runner , being asked to be someone ’ s second , especially on a race as mammoth as Comrades , is a big deal . If you think about it , there is so little we have control over on race day , and to give that little bit of control over to someone else is really an act of faith , and something I took quite seriously . There was also a real element of excitement to it , being an actual part of the day and cheering on the members of my running family whilst performing a secondary duty of “ emotional seconding .”
I had been told multiple times – as had Meghan , I believe – to never absolutely bank on seeing your second , and to be flexible , because it could derail your race if you missed each other . Given the mass of runners that are on the roads , combined with the crowds of spectators , I understand why this advice exists , but the people giving this advice did not factor in three things … Meghan ’ s attention to detail and impressive planning skills , the fact that Westville kit stands out from the crowd , and the power of a magic green umbrella !
The ‘ Kings of the Road ,’ Meghan and Shaun King
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