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Simphiwe Fiddy Ngcobo
Jun 18, 2016

As I type this in Thommo Hart’s bedroom which we have turned it into our small office/thinking space or a dream space if you must. This is the place where Thommo first told me about his crazy idea of running from Pietermaritzburg (our city of choice) all the way to Maputo, Mozambique. His reason for this madness is break a world record in the longest barefoot journey in the world and to raise funds for Pink Drive one of the organizations that have decided to roll its sleeves up in a fight against cancer. Although he had this valid reason for his madness, I still did not see myself running with him to Mozambique or anywhere for that matter. However, it was not long until the idea started to take over my thoughts. I started playing the outcomes of this challenge in my head. I started to fantasized about the potential outcomes. Before I knew it google was at my aid. The looming question was, how many kilometres would we need to cover for this to be possible. 1800 km was the answer. I remember repeating that number over and over again, suddenly I had this itch for this challenge.

A week went by and again me and my buddy Thommo we were back in our office/his bedroom. Oh by the way let me introduce Thommo to you. Thomas Bongani Hart is his name, dude loves adventure, the outdoors and he believes and invest in people a lot. He also loves good wine and company but I don’t know which order I should put those two things. The time went tick tock and it was 12:30 pm, at this point Thommo asked me if I was keen for some coffee. Well we always have coffee or tea around this time. Instead of a simple yes, what came out of my mouth was “I accept the John Ross Challenge”. Thommo did not sound surprised about my decision although he sounded excited but he was far from being surprised. It was almost like he knew all along what I knew deep down that I will accept the challenge and we would run to Mozambique. If you have read this till this point, I know what you are thinking and to answer you. No this is not the point where I strapped my sneakers around my feet and ran to Mozambique. I had to get fit first. This was the beginning of our famous adventure filled morning runs.

Our run time was set at 6:30 am. 6:30 am was now a symbol of what would be become. The first 6:30 am was difficult to deal with. Just few minutes into it, I could feel the oxygen slowly escaping my lungs, my knee which got a mysterious injury sometime back started acting up. I was sweating but it was not due to the run but it was due to the internal duel I was having. A part of me wanted to stop and end this madness but the other part of me reminded me of the fact that I always finish what I started. It was now, way pass 6:30 and we were on our first run and the more 6:30am faded the more it became clear that I was indeed committed to the challenge. There and then I realized that my 6:30am will never be the same and I had to also prepare myself mentally as well. There is a saying that reads “It is not how you start but it is how you finish’’ however what’s apparent about this challenge is that. How you start is as equally important if not more as there are days where it’s too cold or you simple lack motivation to wake up and go for the run. As I rest my head on a pillow tonight I will be anticipating the ring of the alarm when the clock hits 6:30am.