Over the years, whenever I am talking to someone about a recent adventure or gruelling exploit, the question I am most often asked, is why? Why did you do it? Why go through all that pain? Why go back? It is a question that speaks to a deeply personal part of our being. It is both unsettling but quietly exciting. If we spend a moment contemplating it, it shakes us in a profound way because it is actually asking who, or what do we worship?
During last few months a number of circumstances have conspired to push me back to the Freedom Challenge and once again do the Race Across South Africa. I was certain at the end of last year's race that I was done. But I have learned over the years that our hearts can change from season to season and what once pushed us back, now draws us inexorably towards it. I have learned also not to fight it, but to rather go with the grain. But why race it again? Why go through the pain of days of sleep deprivation and cold in the middle of nowhere? Why do all of that again if you are the record holder?Coming out of Baviaanskloof during the 2021 RASA.Superficially, there are some low hanging fruit that we can pick to answer this question.
The Freedom is a spectacular race, traversing some of the most rugged and remote parts of our country. Like the back of an old Buffalo, the route wends it's way over bush and bump and reminds you of what it means to be African. It is this strange mix that presses deep into your soul and genuinely compels you to change, for the better. As a matter of fact, part of the Munga's DNA lies in the Freedom as I wanted to create a race that had a similar power to transform, but in a shorter format. But that is another story for a different day. For now, let's just say that whatever your mind can conjure up when beholding magic, you will find it on the Freedom.
But what is the deeper thorn that cannot be removed from my flesh? All my life I have been obsessed with potential. When you strip away the fluff, what you are really asking is how have we been made? How have you been made? In the embryonic womb of your genesis, what forces were conspiring to make you love numbers, hate dirt, crave music, gulp at heights? Whatever it is that makes you you, why is it that you are you, and what is it that you can do? Genesis 1:27 says we were made in the image of God. If this is my blueprint then somewhere in my DNA is a cosmic, supernatural primordial mix that only our creator can ever truly know. But how much can I know?
It's a cop out to wait to the end and stand before God only to be told you could have done this and you could have done that, if only you had tried. I want to know in this life what is possible. And so it is to that end that my body serves as a tool of worship. His majesty. His strength. His grace. His power.
Last year I raced to a plan. It was meticulous and calculated with no deviation. The end goal was a sub ten day race, nothing else. And while it felt like the race went perfectly, there was a nagging feeling that I had left some meat on the bone. So the plan is simple. Leave nothing in the tank. Go till you blow then rage with your maker that you were right or wrong!About to start the notorious Struishoek portage in the 2020 race.