Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 164 December 2023 | Page 46

Guillaume Smit taking on the West Coast Marathon
Tackling the Festival of Running 50km

Running When

The Running Pastor after another successful race

You ’ re Old ( and Big )

I may not be the same shape and size as many of the other runners in the races that I enter , but I ’ m still there , putting one foot in front of the other … and in spite of sometimes forgetting my age , and picking up a few injures along the way , I ’ m still enjoying my running !

When I report at the starting line of a race these days , it feels as if I ’ m the only guy present with the size of a teenage hippo . I mean , I am humungous . I do not run , or walk … I waddle . At the start of a 10km , my friends ask if I have entered for the 5km . I always answer “ no ”, indignantly , since I ’ m doing the 10 , just to see how they roll their eyes in a way that communicates , “ we ’ ll see you in hospital , then .” My wife , even though she disagrees with the self-evaluation of my tremendously vast visible appearance , will tell me to take it easy in the races … and that I should start acting my age .

To be honest , my friends and family are partly correct . I did , ironically , do a 5km fun run a few months before the telling of this story , only to tear a ligament in my left knee . I had to hobble past Christmas and through New Year ’ s , waiting for a surgeon to return from holiday so he or she could do the operation . Then I was on crutches , only to report for a second operation two months later – this time to that part of the body that usually affects old men . In the end , I couldn ’ t run for almost six months .
The problem , though , is that I cannot use these ailments as a valid excuse any longer . I am normally big , built to elephantine proportions . I look at food and my stomach expands , just like a natural chubster . I even seem to crave a midnight snack every evening after 10pm . And when I get anxious , I eat . So , when I ended up on crutches and recovering in bed with a sensitive bladder , I wallowed through my self-pity with all sorts of snacks and what not . Of course , my wife thought it ’ s more a matter of discipline , perseverance and self-control , but my inner whale was swimming somewhere in the Antarctic , where he couldn ’ t hear anything she said !
Back in the Day …
When I started out as a runner , things were simpler . I trained for a race , I ran , I lost weight . The more I ran , the faster I got . I almost broke through the 60-minute barrier for a 10km once . That was awesome . But
Images : Awie Badenhorst , Mogamat Shahmieg Allie , Thomas Sports Photography , Moegsien Ebrahim , Oloff Crous , Guillaume Smit
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