Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 164 December 2023 | Page 28


Putting on My

Ela Meiring finishing the 2023 Totalsports Two Oceans Ultra Marathon

Big Girl Pants

When I blew out the 20 candles for my birthday at the start of 2023 , I didn ’ t know what lay ahead of me in the year I had signed up for on the road , but I knew I would be finding out a lot about myself , including how my legs would handle going further than they ’ d ever run before . I also knew I may have to convince a few doubters along the way that I can do it . – BY ELA MEIRING


get odd looks from people , and inevitably it is followed by that same question I ’ ve been asked all year long : “ How old are you ?” So , it was no surprise that it happened at the Comrades Marathon , too . When I arrived at race number collection , the lady behind the counter didn ’ t want to give me my race number , and I had to resort to the old “ show the ID ” trick , just as one has to do to enter a bar . But once she had seen that I am actually old enough to run the Comrades , we had a laugh and snapped a picture .
By pure coincidence , the next day after I had finished the Comrades , while surrounded by what felt like millions of people , I actually bumped into her again , and she couldn ’ t believe I had finished … which , by the way , she wasn ’ t alone in thinking . But let ’ s rewind the clock to the beginning of what has turned out to be a phenomenal year for me .
Going for a long run at the Weskus Marathon in Langebaan
Going to Need a Qualifier
It was December 2022 , and I had just entered a race I ’ ve always wanted to do , since I was an itty-bitty little girl . The Comrades Marathon is a gruelling ultra-marathon that takes place in June each year and the route alternates year-to -year , either from Durban to Pietermaritzburg , or as in my 2023 debut from Pietermaritzburg to Durban . As I submitted my entry and received the confirmation , I read the slogan “ Ziyashai ,” a Zulu word meaning “ This Is It ” – as in , this is the point of no return for Ela !
First things first , I needed to submit a qualifier .
Images : ABPhotoZA & courtesy Ela Meiring
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