Some quotes from during and right after the race that describe the situation best:
“I said I was not going to walk this time… but now look at me!” – Josien
“Here babe, take a piece of banana but just keep running! Am proud of you!” – Franklin
“I will never again do a marathon without proper preparation, this hurts!” – Josien
THE MARATHON PREPARATION
The year prior to our trip Franklin was extremely busy with work and finishing his bachelor at the same time. I was also very occupied with work, but next to that I could focus on our passion: triathlon. I started training with Yvonne van Vlerken, which was the best possible decision! Not only did I become a lot faster in all disciplines, we also have a fantastic community with athletes from The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Russia and Austria.
Of course, with Corona most races of the year were cancelled, and I could only show my improvements during the Ironman Virtual Championships. Which to be honest was one of the hardest things I have participated in so far.
Well long story short, two months before the Serengeti Marathon, I was ready to run FAST. But one thing Franklin and I agreed on for this year is that it is about fun, exploring, and being active. Because we love it, and NOT because we MUST train to compete. So it happened that we only ran a couple of times in the two months leading to this marathon. Also in the last four weeks we hiked the Kilimanjaro and I climbed the Ol Doinyo Lengai. Which was hard on the knees.
Franklin is a fantastic runner, so a marathon for him, especially in my pace, is apple egg as we say in The Netherlands (appeltje eitje). Easy Peazy Lemon Squeezy so to say. I know I have the endurance to go for hours, but at what speed? And how much would it hurt? We would soon find out!
But first carb loading. Dinner in the great Land Masters Hotel in Bunda consisted of Pizza, Chapati and Sweet Potato. We also ordered some warm water in a thermos bottle so we would have some coffee at 04:00 in the morning. We ordered at 20:00 it was brought at 23:00 when we were both sleeping. Honestly, back home I could get so frustrated about this, here I am a version of myself that I like much better. I stay relaxed. Maybe it also helped that I was sleeping so deep that I did not even realize that Franklin went out of bed to open the door to get MY coffee haha.
THE SERENGETI MARATHON
This was the third edition of the Serengeti Safari Marathon. Organized by Tim, Henry and China. Great guys from Arusha, who own a Safari company and who saw rightfully that more and more people are willing to travel in order to have a special marathon experience. And what is better than to combine your marathon with a fantastic vacation or even a few days of Safari in Africa’s most beautiful National Park – The Serengeti.
Also for them this Corona year is especially hard and they were super happy that we participated in the race.
The marathon starts in the Serengeti National park, at the West Entrance, which lies at around 1150 m altitude. The first 8 km are on the gravel road inside the park. If you are lucky you will see some Wildebeest or Zebra’s cross the road. It is very unlikely that you will see lions, leopards or cheetah on this side of the park at this time, but there were rangers present to guard the participants if needed.
Outside the park, the road is tarmac, which makes the rest of the run easier.