Running In The Rain Tips

Rainy weather doesn’t mean you have to train inside. In fact, nowadays, I tend to take full advantage of opportunities to run in the rain. After all, most races are not cancelled because of rain.

I have found sloshing through the wet and wild builds my mental toughness and makes me a stronger athlete. And once I begin running and warm up, I actually enjoy it! Granted dressing for the rain can be tricky but the hardest part is often just getting started. Try these tips to get you going, and enjoy a safe and comfortable run in the rain:

Choose the right gear

• Wear a hat or visor with a brim to keep the rain off your face and out of your eyes.
• If it’s warm and rainy, wear a breathable hat with plenty of venting so you don’t overheat. If it’s cold, rainy, and windy, choose a waterproof cap to keep your head warm and dry.
• In a driving rain, wear a pair of clear glasses to help protect your eyes from getting pelted. A good anti-fog lens cleaner will keep your vision clear in the moisture and humidity.
• Invest in a lightweight, waterproof jacket to stay dry on cold, rainy runs and during other rainy day activities.
• Wicking apparel is key—it pulls moisture away from your skin, which helps prevent blisters and chafing.
• Wear a pair of wicking socks to prevent blisters from developing.

Don’t overdress.

Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. Instead, dress for the temperature, as if it were a dry day.

Be visible.

Running in the rain often means drivers have poor visibility. So select outer layers that are very bright or light-colored and have reflective strips.

Prevent chafing.

Chafing can be much worse if you’re wet from the rain. So take the precaution to prevent this by spreading Vaseline on the parts of your body where you would normally chafe.

Use a garbage bag for races.

Use a trash bag as a rain poncho to effectively keep dry and protected from wind. If it stops raining, it is easy to rip it off and discard.

Watch your step.

To avoid slipping, take small steps, pay attention to your footing and try to avoid stepping in puddles as much as possible.

Change out of wet clothes as soon as possible.

You may feel warm when you first cross the finish line or finish your run, but make sure you change out of your wet clothes immediately.

 

Be in the know…2019 Comrades changes

Much speculation as to what more the 2019 Comrades might offer was answered at Thursday’s official and simultaneous announcements to the media and the Comrades Marathon family across the globe.

Many will have been surprised at the extent of the changes.

Those who believe Comrades is far too dominant a fixture in SA road running will have their belief strengthened in the wake of the enterprising changers the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) have introduced.

I must admit to straddling both camps of thought, wanting to see South Africa again become an international force in road running over standard distances, while also sharing the love affair so many of us enjoy with the KZN based epic.

Comrades simply keeps re-inventing itself.

The 94th Comrades, it was actually started in 1921, has opened the road from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, to 25000 runners in 2019. It is an epic number.

Two new medals have been introduced and few saw that one coming, though there has been pressure to name a medal after a woman.

The new Isavel Roche-Kelly medal is named after the 1980/81 double winner who ran was the first women to easily break the silver medal barrier time of 7:30 when she recorded 7:18 and followed that up with 6:44 a year later. A young exciting and talented runner, she tragically died in a cycling accident three years later.

The half gold, half silver medal will be awarded to women who finish from 11th position to and to all who break the 7:30 barrier. That means no women will again win a silver medal, though they are unlikely to be aggrieved by that.

The second new medal is so very special given that for decades, neither women in general nor any black folk were allowed to participate in Comrades.

Most white males have sadly shown themselves down the years, as being a peculiar lot and will forever be judged in history for harbouring prejudice. And yet road running in South Africa has generally been a ground breaker.

In 1935 Robert Mtshali was the first black man to unofficially complete the Comrades in a time of 9:30. So it is that the Comrades now offers a medal, named after his pioneering spirit, for all who complete the route in 9-10 hours. How special is that.

Other changes include a faster qualifying time of 4:50, 10 minutes quicker than in recent times. There has been some negative reaction to this, but seriously anybody can do it if they simply train effectively.

An inflated prize purse to R4.3m is what will seriously worry running puritans, while the winners cheques at R500,000 will lure marathon and even half marathon exponents.

That however, cannot be laid at the door of the CMA who are doing what is best for their historical race.

The controlling body of the sport in South Africa needs to  ensure that similar rewards are on offer for all internationally recognised distances, in particular the 10, 21,1 and 42,2kms.

It can be done, we simply need to want to do it.

 

 

Makaya “Smiles” Masumpa

Makaya Masumpa, a winner of many a race over more than three decades, is something of an enigma in that he is reserved, dignified and yet always jolly to the extent that his nickname in running circles is “Smiles.”

Makaya and his running career have been extremely close to me for the best part of his post school years.

The now 52 year old Masumpa stands tall in many ways. His height is somewhat intimidating compared to the generally slight of build athletes in distance running. His longevity has him towering over even greater runners than himself and his times and records speak volumes for a man who is still running competitively, 35 years after he started as a 17 year old at school.

Speaking openly he reflects on how he got into running, who he looks up to, his own highlights, his 12 year old son and the inaugural races he has been a part of and often won.

When I first floated the idea of a race like the Sole Destroyer, something totally novel at the time, Makaya and his friends embraced the idea when many said it would not work, it could not last, which is the theme that has followed Masumpa and his closest allies from the very beginning.

The race was launched and was named after another great mutual friend, Chris Sole, who trained often through Horseshoe Valley, the integral part of the event.

When asked who had the biggest influence on his running career, he does not hesitate – “Monde” he says with his famous smile. That is Monde Tutani one of the provinces most versatile athletes who was a national treasure on the track, a great cross country and road runner. Masumpa would follow suit in many of the same disciplines.

It was Tutani who encouraged a bunch of soccer playing youths in Mdantsane to run the Daily Dispatch Fun Run, while they were away at the Great Train Race. He said they could win many prizes. Masumpa was one of them and he went, he ran and he won prizes.

He also never looked back as he embarked upon a phenomenal running career that is certainly not over yet.

At school it was all track and cross country running – the very basis of every successful career in athletics. Only upon leaving school and joining Real Gijimas, the successful Mdantsane based club, did he add running on the road to his repertoire.

He remembers with affection racing on the track and turf against the same Chris Sole. He also recalls Neville Dyer as an influence.

They all ran against many South African greats on the “old” Amalinda track. So many memories that would be lost on some.

On switching to the road he beams at the thought of his duals with the Donald brothers, John and Stephen.

In 1987 Masumpa joined President Steyn Mine in Welkom. It was the “Mine System” of attracting athletes that turned South Africa, albeit it in isolation, into a powerhouse that no athlete or country could ignore. At the same mine was his friend Tembinkosi Bishop, David Chawane and David Hlabahlaba to name a few.

At the rival President Brand Mine were luminaries such as Xolile Yawa, Michael Scout and Shaddrack Hoff.

It was the inter mine competitions that pushed these fantastic athletes to still greater heights as they raced over 5000m, 1500m and the 3000m steeplechase.

I tell him Ewald Bonzet died recently and he looks at me in disbelief. “He was so fast and such a great steeplechase runner as well as in almost every other event in distance running.” Bonzet was just 65 years old.

While at the mines Masumpa ventured into road running. He represented Free State at all three disciplines of athletics and ran in every SA Championship provided.

Masumpa recalls with great pride having run the 60:11 World Record breaking SA Half Marathon Championships in East London in Free State colours.

Upon his return to East London he was encouraged by a true friend to link up with me at Oxford Striders. We, together with numerous others, formed probably the most potent racing team the province has ever seen. It was inclusive of the same Tutani, Bassie Mbenya, Mpumelelo Mawu, Mphumezi Bomvana, Mlamli Nkonkobe, Mthunzi Dyonase, Moses Fokazi, Edward Khangelani and numerous other great runners. Add to that the likes of Brett Kennard, Glen Wearne, Sole, Gordon Shaw, Rodwell Sims, the Donald brothers and Shaun Ninneman and it becomes clear that the team we assembled had few who could stay with it at club level. Those were the glory days of Border running.

The women’s team was also exceptionally strong.

Masumpa again smiles at the memory of these combinations breaking the World 24 hour record and winning the Great Train Race against clubs from all over South Africa. At that stage it was a case of athletes and management gelled as one. He adds almost apologetically, “I won so many awards in Border Road Running and at club level. It is a pity things have changed so.” They have indeed changed at both provincial and at that particular club.

Masumpa has a best 10km time of 29:58 which he ran in Durban, well remembered by this scribe who was there. His 15km best of 45:30 was set at an SA Champs in Cape Town.

Here is the most interesting stat of all though as his best half marathon and marathon were both at SA Championships hosted in East London. His 21km time is 64:02 and his marathon, which was on a supposedly “not fast course” was 2:20. Perhaps that is a  route that should be relooked at?

For the past two years Masumpa has won the silver medal in his age category at the SA Half Marathon in Port Elizabeth. So should we pursue the 60:11 Half Marathon in East London he is asked? “Yes” is his no nonsense reply. And so in 2017, now as Born 2 Run, a new exciting innovative running community, that is what we did.

The highlight of his running career? The 2002 London Marathon which he ran in 2:22.

His favourite SA Athlete? Mathews Temane who won the now most famous ever SA Half Marathon in 1987 on the East London Esplanade in a the then world best time of 60:11.

His favourite international athlete? Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia.

Virtually every weekend Masumpa is still involved in running races, encouraged by old mates, many of them now in the purple shades of Born 2 Run.

He has been beaten only once in his age group.

Will he keep on running? All the way to heaven suggests the fairly religious Masumpa whose 12 year old son plays soccer, cricket, swims and runs at College Street School. Given that the young Masumpa only dropped soccer at 17 to take up running, the chances are we could have more of the same for many years to come.

 ATHLETE and MENTOR

The life of an athlete who is on the up, is one of the most stimulating lives to lead.

When an individual runs a first 10km race and finishes it, it is a big deal. It is also, more often than not, the launch pad to a life IN running, but not necessarily OF running.

One of three courses can be followed when a runner crests the peak in their careers and the long downhill beckons. First, they may soldier on regardless and chase age group times and positions or secondly, they could simply accept the reality of slowing down and run more socially with friends, old and new.

The third option is open only to a certain breed of individual who has what it takes to coach or mentor athletes.

The past 15 months have been phenomenal in this regard and the results pre and post the re-launch of BOaST ought to have been stimulating to all that have followed the progress of runners who have been influenced by the team, either on a personalised programme or through a club structure.

No matter how talented, fast or strong an athlete is, achieving optimal running success is unlikely when going solo.

The training is paramount, but so too is race identification, goal setting and belief.

Runners who buy into the role of a proven and successful coach or mentor will inevitably achieve personal bests.

The reasons for that include trust, motivation, instilling belief and working through all aspects of preparation together and openly.

There are of course no quick fixes and it will often take a relationship three or four years to reach its full potential, particularly if athlete and mentor come from different belief systems in respect of training, nutrition, footwear and racing regimens.

A good sense of humour certainly helps when athletes  go a little wayward, as inevitably they sometimes will. Rather than be unsettled by such instances they offer a great opportunity to further build trust between each other as the athlete sheepishly admits that the mentor was (in most instances) right.

So it is that an athlete and a coach or mentor build a “story” that can be used by both to further their own paths and experiences within the sport. Growth is imperative as is change.

On the change front, nothing is more apt an example than that of nutrition and eating habits as espoused by folk such as Tim Noakes, Mark Sissons, Gary Taubs, David Perlmutter and many others.

On the footwear front the shoe companies detest the “barefoot” minimalistic protagonists, because they will simple sell less shoes, while in the nutritional field, many a multi-national would go out of business as the world became healthier.

Debate, and vigorous debate at that, should be the fuel that drives and seeks success. When we think we know it all, then we are indeed over the crest.

There is, at the end of the proverbial day, nothing more satisfying than being a part of the development of a runner and imparting life experiences so that they might achieve their goals.