Runners share… a lot. We share long journeys on the trails, we share life stories, toilet breaks, emergency medical gear and, at a push, we’ll share our secret refuges or lesser known trails. But we don’t often share our truly weird race rituals or superstitions. Lucky undies? Charms in your pockets? Here is a round up of true stories that will make you feel better about your own quirks.
Consistency is King
“The same meal, for 8 + years, before every race. A bowl of warm oats and a teaspoon of honey. Changing that could have a disastrous effect on my tummy, and that’s a race situation I hope to avoid forever.” - Kelsey James, Johannesburg
Weird is ok…
“There is a specific order when it comes to socks and shoes pre-race. Left sock, right sock, left shoe, right shoe. Anything else is a crisis waiting to happen.” – Donna Preston, Cape Town
“I get dressed in the time it takes for the kettle to boil, never longer, that makes me anxious.” – Kim Stephens, Cape Town
“I have favourite race earrings… “- Sam Charles, Durban
“If my thick Falke socks go walkabout, I’m not racing. Klaar.” – Clayton Saville, Cape Town
“I have lucky undies. Having my good luck panty on helps. Must be comfortable and work with me on race day. It is a black one.” – Marlie Freitas dos Santos
The Race Tee Curse
“My brother in law refuses to wear the race garment until he crosses the line. If for some reason he doesn’t finish, he will never wear it.” – Bruce Viaene, East London
Fail to plan, plan to fail…
“I put out all my kit and nutrition the night before, so there’s no frenzy of trying to find that one sock. I also find it important to give thanks (pre-race) for the ability to run, for health and strong legs!” – Kerry Red, Cape Town
Get clean enough to get dirty?
“For longer races, I always shower first thing after waking up. I learned years ago that hair gel and sweat are not good for the eyes.” – Andrew Hollely, Port Elizabeth
“Pre-race has to be coffee, peanut butter toastie, dump, shower. Then, get to the start line with enough time for a second dump, just in case!” – Gerard Wallace, Cape Town
“A packet of dry mango the night before a race… for ideal pre-race toilet activity.” – Paul Diedericks, Cape Town
“Depending on the day, if I have specific race intentions then I wear black tights and a lumo green cap. If I do not have race intentions, then I wear grey tights and a white cap. I always have a quarter chicken and chips the night prior. I have my sister lace my timing chip on to my shoe, never myself. My race vest is always hung on the same wire hanger on my room door, and I put my socks inside my shoes before I go to bed. I could go on… “ – Mogammad, Cape Town
Runners, we’re a quirky bunch. Also, do cyclists talk about toilets as much as we do?
Words: Kim Stephens