Sundays are reserved for long runs and always have been. In earlier days, Dick’s wife, Vreni, used to second runners. “One day she ended up with six bailers and three kids in the car and we knew it was time to get more people to help. We got more wives to second but then we made a fatal error, allowing the wives to run, and so we lost our seconds!” he laughs.
Today, RAC has seven set routes of about 25km run in rotation on Sundays. Runs starts at 6am in summer and 7am in winter. In the months leading up to Comrades, roughly 200 runners join the longer run. Currently, about 140 are running. “In winter, it dwindles down to only about 15, because after Comrades everyone is licking their wounds, taking it easy and bonding with families.”
Weekday training consists of different size and pace groups getting together at different places. “Most members join in a group close to their homes. Some run from Bryanston, Paulshof, Fourways or Craighall Park,” says Dick. He does not agree with the mindset that a big club is impersonal. “People will always pair up; be it a big or a small club. Our members are always there to help with entries and manning water tables when necessary.”
Every year before Comrades, RAC hosts a traditional 60km long run which attracts runners from different clubs. It is known for its good organisation and well planned refreshment stops. This year about 700 people ran.