Home of the Crocs ~ Founded in 2001
Home of the Crocs ~ Founded in 2001

Noel Sissison - 2007

When I moved to Empangeni in 1991, I was playing a lot of squash and in order to stay relatively fit, I did the occasional 5 km run on my own. I cannot recall where, but I bumped into Anthony Holmes who suggested that I come and join the club for a run. Thinking that I would be out of my league, I politely declined his request. However, after much persuasion, he eventually got the better of me and so began a new sport in my life.

I joined the then Empangeni Athletic club, and after a bit of training and assistance from my fellow athletes, did a local 21 km race. I was really tired at the end of this race and could not visualize myself continuing for a further 21, this making a standard marathon of 42 km's. As time wore on, I decided that I had to put this physiological barrier behind me, and eventually my first marathon was the Vryheid 42 km. This was one race where I battled and cursed like never before due to the fact that it was hot as hell, my shoulders were sunburnt, my feet were burning and to top it all, I was out of water. Runners talk about 'hitting the wall' at 32 km's, but I think I hit it a lot earlier. I recall having given Jan Badenhorst a lift, and I think he thought it would be in his best interest if he saw me through this one, as he may have had to hitch home if he didn't. Luckily for him he did, and we finished together just before the cut off.

Knowing that I had now completed a couple of 21's and my first 42, I had to set my goal on the Comrades as this is what every runner trains for.

A funny moment springs to mind whilst training for this years' Comrades. One Saturday run was the Melmoth Pass which I had nearly finished, when this vehicle with tinted windows came up behind me and the next thing, this banana peel came flying across the tarmac just missing me. I ranted and raved like a mad lunatic as the vehicle sped away. As I approached the finish, I noticed the vehicle parked amongst the runners and confronted the driver who looked somewhat bewildered at what I was saying to him. Bruce Grierson was meanwhile watching me giving this driver a mouthful, and once I had finished my say, Bruce politely came up to me and said that he was the guilty person. All's well that ends well and we all had a good laugh, with me being the total idiot.

I am very fortunate to be a member of the uMhlatuze Athletic club which has approximately 160 members and a lot of running talent. I have to date completed three Comrades Marathons and a number of standard marathons, but only one race has got the better of me. This was the Two Oceans where I experienced severe cramping but I will be returning to Cape Town next year to complete this marathon. I consider myself to be an average runner who is not out there to beat Tom, Dick and Harry. I run because I enjoy the freedom and comradie that goes with this challenging sport, and invite all those potential runners to come to the club and be part of our happy running family.