Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 167 April 2024 | Page 50

( MIS ) ADVENTURES trail ( mis ) adventures by CARLA LEA FARINA


( MIS ) ADVENTURES trail ( mis ) adventures by CARLA LEA FARINA

Beast Level FOMO

In late February , I was all geared up to run The Beast , which I firmly believe is the toughest race in South Africa , with a finishing rate of just 20 percent . OK , in all fairness , I was registered for the 50km Monster this year , the ‘ little sister ’ of the 100km Beast , because I knew when I entered that I was not fit enough to complete two loops of the 50km route , but still , I was tackling The Beast ! Unfortunately , those plans were derailed when I found myself injured and wearing a moon boot !

I ’ m not going to get into the details of the injury now , but I clearly wasn ’ t going to be running up any mountains on Beast race weekend , so I sent race organiser Kevin Ruthven a text and asked if I could still come to the race and volunteer . He happily agreed , so off Nicky Booyens and I set on a road trip to Kingdom Trails in Mpumalanga , the arena for this epic race . Nicky ’ s words to describe this race are , “ If you know , you know . If you don ’ t know , you don ’ t know ,” and I cannot think of a better way to describe the brutality that is The Beast .
Carla and Nicky on their way to The Beast
If you are a runner , I am sure that you have experienced that fear of missing out ( FOMO ) from missing a race at least once in your life . Well , let me tell you , I recently experienced FOMO level one hundred for this reason !
Taking It All In
Nicky and I arrived at camp , picked our bunks and took in the atmosphere amongst the contestants around camp . The runners who ‘ knew ’ possessed a quiet respect and understanding for what was in store for them , while the runners who were new to this event held an almost naivety in their eyes , and watching the range of emotions of the runners made me feel a massive bout of FOMO . In fact , if I had been able to run , I may even have asked Kevin to upgrade , in spite of actually knowing what would have lain in store for me !
At 6am on Saturday morning , a group of 11 runners lined up for the Monster . I should have been standing alongside them , and I had to take a little moment alone to shed a few tears that arose from the pure frustration of not being able to run , but then I pulled myself towards myself and had a morning coffee with Nicky as she began getting ready for the Beast , which would start later that day .
As the main start time got closer , so the atmosphere changed . There was an eery silence that filled the camp as the contenders prepared themselves for the brutality that lay before them . I could feel it , but wasn ’ t a part of it , and that was awful . Slowly , the runners made their way to the start line , and at 12 noon , they were sent on their journey to face the massive climbs , man-eating hippos , venomous snakes and scorpions , crazy giraffes and deathly lightning strikes , and at that point , my FOMO was at its greatest .
Really is Tough !
I don ’ t have any exciting stories to share regarding the run , for obvious reasons , but I can still speak about the special sense of camaraderie that develops in a race with a mere 20-percent finish rate ! Whether the runners
A race so tough you get a medal just for being on the start line ! Flooded rivers , hippos , crocs , extreme heat , thunderstorms , and of course , all the rocks on planet earth . It is certainly one of the toughest 100km trail runs in SA ! Thanks for being my chauffeur and my one-legged cheerleader , Carla Lea Farina . – Nicky Booyens
Big fans of The Beast
finished or not , they all experienced a journey that took them to beautiful but challenging moments , and it reminded me why I love this sport so much . Everyone experienced the same thing , but in different ways , and it was still a wonderful thing to be a part of , even if I couldn ’ t run .
I would like to send a shout-out to Malcom Dunkeld ( finish time 20:33 ), Nicky ( 23:18 ) and Donovan Shirley ( 24:21 ) for being the only three finishers of The Beast in 2024 . Five finishers in 2021 , four in 2022 , just one in 2023 , and now these three … Kevin , your race upholds its standards , and I will be back next year to tackle the Beast ! Meanwhile , I have to thank my physiotherapist , Parys Edwards , for being my voice of reason . She has gotten me to more start lines than I can mention , and I know that when she says it ’ s best not to run , it is the right decision . Soon I will be gearing up for a few more bucket list races !
About the Author
While Carla ’ s ‘ day job ’ is Head Tennis Coach and Director of Tennis at Game Set Match Tennis in Johannesburg , her second love is trail running , which she tackles with an unquenchable thirst for adventure , a never-saydie attitude , and a healthy sense of humour about all the misadventures that befall her on the trails !
Images : Courtesy Carla Farina , Nicky Booyens
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