A VIRTUAL RACE
Running 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) is possibly a normal distance for most long distance runners. However for a walker, walking at an average pace of 5 kms an hour that is a lot of mileage and hours on your feet. This is the story of my 1,200 miles and why I participated.
In December 2018 the algorithm of Facebook linked me to the site by Run Motivators called Invincible 1,200 miles in 2019. I dwelt on the distance and the fact that it was a virtual race. Something I had never done before and the challenge of a minimum of 100 miles (161 kms) a month for 12 months intrigued me. So I signed up with the kind help of Run Motivators based in the USA.
A virtual race is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym or on the track (or even at another race). You get to run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself.
On the 7th January 2019 I started on my 1,200 mile journey. I walked formal events. I walked trails. I walked road races. I walked up and down roads, valleys, mountains, beaches and anywhere I possibly could. I met people on these walks who have varied and interesting lives. Walking gives you time to talk, interact and share. My routine was usually to walk five days of the week with Monday’s and Friday’s being my off days. But soon it became an addiction. If I didn’t get my daily ‘fix’ I was grumpy and irritable. A pattern started to emerge from the people I chatted to on my various walks (formal and informal) and I started doing the math. The average South African women, who has no transport of her own, who is reliant on taxis and public transport walks this mileage every single year. She walks to catch the taxi/public transport. She has to walk from where the taxi/public transport stops to her place of work and then the reverse takes place at the end of the work day. In addition she has to carry every packet/parcel/sack of food which she will purchase for her family. In addition she doesn’t have the walking shoes that I was privileged to wear. She has to walk with her work shoes and work clothes. This is a woman to be admired. So it became my mission, that with every mile completed I would ensure that I spoke out about these amazing, uncomplaining women who walk to work and back every day. Making employers aware that they need to be empathetic and offer support to these ladies. When they sit down for a cup of tea with their breakfast, don’t berate them, celebrate them.
I completed my target of 1,200 miles on the 29th September, way ahead of schedule in position 80 of 480 participants from 53 countries across the world. This way of life has become a habit. Time out, time for reflection, time to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. We have a beautiful country and through this walking challenge I have participated in events that have taken me to places, on my door step, that I didn’t know existed nor would ever have visited. An absolute privilege and blessing to be able to walk and enjoy my surroundings. I have never once felt unsafe or threatened on my walks. I have truly been blessed.
My journey continues and I will continue to log the miles for the rest of 2019. I have signed up for 2020 to walk 2,020 kms. I will again use this platform to raise awareness of the strength, tenacity and determination of our women. The walks have been a true test of determination for me. Nothing is achievable without determination and dedication. A soft lesson learnt and treasured. My journey continues and I will continue to log the miles for the rest of 2019. I have signed up for 2020 to walk 2,020 kms. I will again use this platform to raise awareness of the strength, tenacity and determination of our women. The walks have been a true test of determination for me. Nothing is achievable without determination and dedication. A soft lesson learnt and treasured.