With grateful thanks to Elena Nurgalieva – eight times winner.
Translated from Russian.
Just over 20 kilometres to the finish line. In normal life twenty kilometres is my favourite workout – you run easily and effortlessly, enjoying the views around you, negotiating with your sister or listening to some audiobook or energetic music. Time flies, nice and unnoticed.
On Comrades…… the pain begins. Time stops and stretches monstrously slowly.
If there is hell on earth, then probably sinners in purgatory are less tormented than you do on these final 20 kilometres.
This is real suffering!
Of course, if you decide to just overcome with stops and with respite on those 89 kilometres, maybe there will be no such agonies. But if you’re fighting for victory with the strongest marathons in the universe, there are completely different sensations. Here is the whole spectrum of feelings with a minus sign.
But you are very bad, heavy, unbearable, tough, terrible disgusting, just horrible. In – all those synonyms that could maybe describe your torment.
You run and swear to yourself that it’s not a leg anymore. No matter how much money in the world, you will never come to participate in this race anymore! Screw it, screw it! Screw it.
′′ Alena, why do you hate yourself so much? Why do you need this? I would stand calmly in the stadium with a stopwatch on my neck and take gym classes from my students. Why the hell are you suffering like that? Answer!”
The body already refuses to take Coca-Cola and other drinks, the stomach is inflated like a drum, bubbles from overwhelming liquid! Every gel station causes a nausea attack and you vomit in sight of a hundred fans and a non-stop press…And then it’s broadcast to the whole country…. You don’t think about it. You already have the autopilot mode on, you do everything on the machine!
In normal life, the fragrant smells of barbequed fried sausages or fried meat causes me to drool with hunger, excitement. But now immediately every wind blowing with the smells of cooking, causes another nausea attack.
Sweet gels, isotonics – liver can’t handle so much sweet either. Discomfort in the sub region, a twisting belly – but you can’t afford to handle even natural need – crowds along the road! Screaming, supporting, waving flags, taking pictures. And your shame is to stay in sight and fear that your opponents will get you, drive you and suffer from fatigue and even from all that causes you such discomfort. I just want to fall into the green grass on the side and lie down. So that no one touches you, does not disturb you! Let just rest and gain strength!
But you can’t afford it – you have to run, you’re still the first! You shouldn’t miss such a chance! Perhaps it only comes once in a lifetime, hold it to the last, Alenka! Work on it! God, how unbearably heavy!
This African sun bakes and dries the skin. You’re already burned in the sun, and you look sunny burned, but you don’t care! You’re rushing to victory. 15 km, 10 km, 5 km.
Three kilometres to the finish line. Looking back. No one is visible from the stalkers. Hooray!!!
Already running around the city. You can see the stadium where your long-awaited vacation is waiting for you. Be patient, Alenka!
The green mile. Crowds of citizens along the road welcome fiercely.
I run into the gates of the stadium – they hand a rose, and I see a huge yellow arch nearby – I’m going there. All you have to do is run to her and that’s it, I won. Running my best. Breaking into these inflatable gates and walking into one step. I am the first!
Fans rage, stretch their hands, wave flags, blow on vuvuzelas, knock their hands on fencing shields, the noise is unimaginable.
I’m happy, wandering and smiling standing still, giving away kisses, waving roses, welcoming fans and here…. seeing our South African manager with eyes full of horror waving my hands and screaming ′′ Elena, go, go!” I’m puzzled.
′′To run more? Where to go? And that it was not the finish line?”
Thoughts are working cramply. Fatigue, lack of glucose – my mind is slowing down!
Hard, but I think!
Yes indeed! I ran with a chip on a sneaker, but I don’t remember crossing the rubber path, and it usually gets put at the finish line so that the electronics can record the results! And there was no finish line, which usually breaks the chest of winners.
′′ Oh, momaaa!!!! So it wasn’t a finish, but just a beautiful arch! You still have to run to the finish line!”
I got colder from horror, giving me how I get overtaken by my opponents, noticing my stupid mistake. If they were near behind my back, they would take advantage of this opportunity. There are often such annoying misses at the finish.
I drowned under the monstrous roar of the stadium. Turns out there were 300 meters before the finish line. It was necessary to run through the perimeter of a huge stadium, where at the very end there was the same arch with the capital letters ′′ Finish “, and the same rubber track and stretched the same ribbon.
Tearing up the ribbon! They hang a medal on their neck!
Now I’ve definitely finished and I’m 100 % first!