This post is a special shout-out to John. He is an avid runner, a tall lean mean exercise machine. He would go out for runs well before sunrise. Usually a lone runner, he offered to pair up with me. Was it that piteous look in my eyes or the hovering and dropped hints, or maybe the “can I come with you?” that broke his pattern? More likely it was kindness.
We would negotiate the starting time as though we were bartering for a wooden elephant. John: 5am? Me: Uhm how about 5:30am? John: Hmmm Me: Okay, how about 5:15? John: Sounds good.
While running in Cape Town along the waterfront was beautiful, it was our Victoria Falls run that was my favorite.
We set out in pitch black, running away from town (I admit to wondering what I would do if a lion, Cape buffalo, or hyena came out of the bush). We’d come up on silent others riding bikes or walking. The road was hemmed inn by forest and brush. I could see this momentarily when a car’s headlights would light up a small area. The car would fly by and then we’d be back in a companionable darkness. As we got further out from town you could begin to hear the village sounds hidden behind the greenery (okay more like blackery as we couldn’t see much – so I only presumed that it was a village hidden behind green). As we ran the sounds of a worship sound grew louder; it was enthusiastic singing and chanting, they were raising the roof and readying for the day with fervor. I was running to an entirely different track than my usual i-pod list.
John suggested that we run out to “the bridge” – a turn-around place for other runners that he had found on an earlier run. We got to the bridge and suddenly there were people limbering up. We pulled a U-turn and headed back with the sun rising and the roads much more active with other joggers, walkers, bus waiters, and police. No doubt John and I made an odd pair (I’m 5’2”; he’s 6’4”) but, as everywhere we went, people called out or nodded a greeting. Thanks John. I wouldn’t have gone without you!