Experiencing Life’s firsts through Running
Michelle Davis, Pirates Club, Greenside
21 September 2017
“Being on an airplane was scary- especially when it goes up. I felt the fear coming to my mind and then when we were up in the air, I felt free.”
These are the words of Jack Makganyoga, 44 years, a Pirates member who experienced flying for the first time in his life as he travelled to Cape Town to participate in the Cape Town Marathon. Jack represents the Pirates Running Club Development initiative and together with fellow runner Katleho Monaheng, have been training hard to break personal records at this coastal run in the Mother City.
Jack Makganyoga (left) and Katleho Monaheng (right) about to take their first airplane ride
Katleho’s goal was to break 30 minutes for the 10 km race. Explaining the details of his race he notes “To start I wasn’t nervous. I was excited. I was very tired because I didn’t sleep well and my neck was sore but at the start, my body started getting excited. In the beginning, I was leading the race and then started running my own race at 2h50 per km. The advice I had before the race was that I must always be able to see the leaders. I didn’t leave them but at about 6km, I realized my shoes were too small as my left toe was curled in and painful… but I could still see the leaders and didn’t let them out my sight. Each person that passed me, I ran with them. With 2km to go, I met up with a runner from a rival club and we pushed each other to the finish. We were sprinting!”
“..When I run I am so focused I don’t see anything. But this time we ran alongside the beach. Just for a few seconds I looked up and I saw the sea, the mist and the waves crashing and it gave me energy…”

Katleho finished the race in a time of 30 minutes 20 seconds- beating his PB by close on 2 minutes, although unfortunately not breaking his own goal of sub 30 minutes. He notes however that it was all about the experience. “Normally when I run I am so focused I don’t see anything. But this time we ran alongside the beach. Just for a few seconds I looked up and I saw the sea, the mist and the waves crashing and it gave me energy. I thought to myself ‘wow I can do this!”

Jack’s race didn’t go as well as he had hoped. Commenting with disappointment in his voice he notes “I started fast because its known to be a flat race. But after 24km I felt the cramp was coming and so I started to slow my pace. At 30km 1 leg started cramping and it was painful so I walked a bit saying to myself ‘I am going to finish.’ In the last 5km, both legs started to cramp. I got help from other runners who rubbed my legs. I was amazed. Runners always help each other. I was disappointed but I will try again next time and ask fellow runners how to deal with cramps.”

Jack enjoying the sights of the V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain

Both runners note fondly how friendly and engaging the Capetonians are and how electric the vibe was amongst the fellow travelers on the plane. “We met so many people at the airport. One guy- you could see he was a runner- came to greet us and wish us well. And then there was another traveler who was our biggest fan and wasn’t even a runner” notes Katleho.

The Development Squad at Pirates Road Running is an initiative started by the club and spearheaded by member David Case and his wife Sandra to afford an opportunity for local, disadvantaged athletes to meet their running goals and dreams through the provision of funding. This was a weekend of first for both gents- not only flying for the first time but also watching rugby in a local restaurant and topping it off with wine tasting. “I had white wine first and it was very bad so I told David I needed to try the red wine. They gave us 5 samples and I could only get through 2 but could see that Dave and Sandra were experienced at this” says Jack laughing. “David and Sandra also took us to a restaurant in Observatory where we ate the best burgers I have ever had in my life” recalls Katleho, adding “they are a good couple. They have good hearts. They always made sure we were alright and Dave even cooked beef for us!”

Jack recalls how he went and stood in the sea and Katleho notes the awe he saw in Jack’s eyes as he collected shells from the beach. Responding to what the best part of the whole weekend was, Katleho notes “My best moment was around 7pm when we all sat down to dinner. No TV. No cell phones or technology but just the big windows with a view of Cape Town. We were all relaxed and had pure conversation together for 30 minutes. This was with our whole spirit. This is what it means to be human.”

Runners who reside or work in the Greenside/ Parks area who are interested in joining the Pirates Development initiative can visit the Pirates Road Running website to view the criteria for applications. www.pirates.co.za/running