Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon

Jonathan Rowland represented ZANE in the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (click for pdf information sheet) in October 2015 and raising funds for the elderly in need in Zimbabwe in the process.

Jonathan is one of 'Zimbabwe's own', young at heart and a Zimbabwean by birth.He is knocking on the door of 60 and will be one of the older competitors in the multi-stage event. As such, this is yet another typical ZANE instance of the 'old and mature' helping those less fortunate other 'old and mature'!

He recently retired with his time spread between working with NGO's, participating on a number of company boards as a non-executive director, assisting part-time at a local orphanage and studying towards a degree in psychology. The psychology aspect, he maintains, is to enable him to professionally counsel the psychologically disturbed whom he flippantly considers himself to be one of and therefore well able to relate to those needing such help!

Jonathan has run more marathons and ultra-marathons than he can recall, with the extreme, multi-stage events providing both a personal challenge and an ideal vehicle to focus attention on the plight of those in need in the hope of raising much-needed funds for their care.

Should Jonathan's 'touch of insanity' arouse an element of curiousity and encourage you to help the elderly in need in Zimbabwe, please make your donations to ZANE while following his progress during the race, being run from Saturday 24 - Friday 30 October, on www.kaem.co.za. and related links. His race number is 263.

We realise that Jonathan might just be crazy, but could you do a sponsored walk/ run/ cycle...?

Jonathan has written the following articles about running and runners:

Weight Reduction

Did you ever think of running as a crash diet programme?

Apart from the fitness related benefits that come from endurance running (other than the heart strain, muscle damage and sudden death in extreme cases – it does make the sport look insane doesn’t it?), there is one quirky angle that is probably little known but possibly of whimsical interest – weight loss!

Short distance runners tend to convert fat to muscle and, in so doing, become more toned and exchange fat for muscle. There is generally some overall weight loss too which definitely entices some to run.

With multi-stage events, there is an ‘instant diet’ process which is not to be recommended and occurs by default rather than choice. Endurance running needs a constant supply of energy while on the move. ‘Fueling’ along the way with carbohydrate gels and energy drinks is critical in order to keep going. However there is an imbalance between energy burn and the body’s ability to refuel at the same rate. Depending on the runner’s size and the load he is carrying, energy is consumed at anywhere between 500 and 700kCalories an hour. The average person can only effectively absorb about 250kCalories an hour due to the way our metabolisms work. So where does the shortfall come from? Quite simply, when the ‘free’ energy in the muscles and liver runs out, the runner’s body starts burning body fat (and muscle too if he hasn’t enough fat!). The net effect of that is that the already thin runners finish even thinner. A light runner can expect to burn about 100grams of fat for every hour on the trails. In a multistage event where the total running time for the mid-fielders can be of the order of 35 hours, a loss of about3.5kg during the event is the order of the day!

Should you be following the race out of mild curiousity (and please make a donation via ZANE if you feel the effort merits helping the old folk), look for a finishing photo of a seemingly unsupported pack being carried by the invisible man crossing the line because, by that stage, yours truly will be hard to see from the weight loss!

The race starts at 0900 on Saturday 24 October. Runner results will be posted daily on the race website – www.kaem.co.za You can also message runners should you feel inclined to offer advice, abuse or encouragement!

Runners and mind games

Running. What attracts runners to spend hours on the roads or trails, sometimes alone? A touch of insanity as some have suggested, or maybe more? After all, it was the run after the Battle of Marathon that resulted in Pheidippides? untimely end. Yet now the distances are frequently greater, the conditions more extreme. Finding one's limit is a driver, the enjoyment of being out in the open and often one with nature another, and the almost meditative state that occurs on the long runs brings a sense of inner peace and tranquility.

Races covering large distances and sometimes major changes in elevation in running trails in mountains sometimes run into hundreds of kilometres. Impossible distances are now possible with focused training and clever nutrition both before and on the runs. And then there is the mental aspect.

At the beginning of a training season or after a layoff, your mind looks for any excuse to walk or stop. Aches and pains appear that prompt unrealistic thoughts of body damage or worse, sudden death! As the distances build and the fitness returns and you settle into a comfortable rhythm, the mind too adjusts.

The long training runs become a private 'place' where your body is on autopilot and your mind is reviewing challenges at work, or designing things, or often slipping into a meditative mode. All is still, peaceful. Only the occasional inward 'review' of your rate of breathing lets you know that all is on course. Occasionally a hill or tricky piece of ground snaps you out of cruise-control, and mind and body become one again reminding you why you are out there.

As the distances grow and your body starts hunting for energy and fatigue is setting in, your mind now drives your body. Focus shifts to actively monitoring and maintaining pace. Those growing aches are assessed and 'turned off' or at least mentally controlled. Visualization becomes an even more powerful tool as the remaining kilometres are reviewed in your mind and physically reeled in. You desperately want to stop or sometimes have an overwhelming urge to rest and close your eyes for a moment. You know if you do that you will not get going again. You drive on.

Finally the end is reached. Weary but content in knowing that you have not only covered the distance but taken another step up that mental ladder. Now for a bigger challenge?..


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