Diana! You can do it! Diana Ross, dirty Diana, Princess, Queen Diana! Diana,Diana,Diana,Diana- 6:37:57 long DIANNNAAAAAA GOOOOO,GGOOOO GIRLLL!!!

Honestly, I've never heard my name screamed out loud so many times in my life in such a short space of time! Comrades- a running festival that every runner should experience at least once. With about 20,000 runners at the start and felt 5 times more spectators along 88km. A crazy event. An actually very boring but difficult route on the roads of South Africa. Streets bustling with crowds.

And there I was, at the start with tears in my eyes - I was allowed to start at the front - for the first time in my life in the elite field. I ran for Nedbank Running Club. How did I get this opportunity? - Thanks to Holger Hedelt, my friend I met at the Spartathlon. Who swore I should run comrades at least once. And who put me in touch with Nedbanking. Thank you, dear Holger, you are the greatest.

Running in pain isn't fun for any of us. Standing at the start with pain and not knowing how it will go takes away some of the anticipation. But whatever, I'm here - even if my trip to South Africa was anything but pleasant - including the fact that I only understood 9 days before departure that I needed a visa. Then the storm in Vienna, followed by missing my flight and a night at the cold airport in Paris. Instead of 24 hours, it took me 48 hours to finally arrive at my destination. Well, sometimes it's easier (and faster) to just walk than travel 

Ki-ke-ri-guuuuuu—Start gun and crowds of runners rush to Durban. Towards an insanely beautiful sunrise. The most beautiful view of the 88km that lay ahead of us, as the route itself is really not worth seeing. But it is filled with thousands (really 10 thousands) of people who just carry you forward, who cheer you on. There isn't a meter on the side of the road where nobody is.

The first 20km is quite a bit uphill, then uphill again, downhill and from about kilometer 50 mostly only downhill. Painful for most. Anyone who hasn't broken their legs while training downhill will have to suffer a lot during the down run.

After the first 10-15km it is already clear to me that my goal - to finish in the top 10 - could not be achieved today either. There is a very strong starting field this year. The advantage of starting from the very beginning - you can see how many "opponents" have disappeared in front of you. I run the first 35km as if on autopilot and try not to think about my pain (about 3 weeks before the competition I got problems with my hips and thighs, every step downhill hurts my hips). I started anyway because I know that this is not a "real" injury, but a problem with the fascial chain from the back to the knee. Maintaining the pace, as discussed with my trainer, is not a problem. I don't have to slow myself down much because every step hurts my hips. I don't like running if I can't enjoy it. Should I stop? No chance- DIANA, DIANA,YOU CAN DO IT! I hear every second. Women are particularly strongly supported and cheered on during this run. My thoughts are kind of mixed, I don't feel any joy in running and it just seems wrong, but I'm still curious to see the track and meet the people. Even before the first marathon, I overtake more and more men, but I don't see any women in front of me. I then caught up with a few, but then let them run in front of me again because I had to take my famous bathroom breaks again  The fact that every second kilometer at the really great refreshment stations is also grilled and there is a strong smell of sausage doesn’t bother me either into the sky Well, I have to say - I've never experienced anything like it - I felt like a star - the women danced, children and men screamed, the music was great. Like in a movie. This is a run where the supporters won't let you give up. They bring you to your destination - no matter how you feel.

60-65 km… I realize that I have less and less time to catch up with the others. I look ahead and don't see a woman in front of me. Just men I'm overtaking more and more. I calculate the time and although I run as fast as planned, I won't end up with a top 10. I just keep walking blindly. My thighs are already feeling pretty tired and I don't know if I'd rather run flat, downhill or uphill. I get cramps in my calves when going uphill - I react quickly (well learned from Wings for Life) and the salt tablets work immediately. I'm looking forward to the experience in the stadium. About 4-5km to go I overtake Ann Ashworth, a former Comrades winner, but that's it. I finally walk the famous spot where it smells very strongly of a chicken farm, then there are another 30m uphill and I have to laugh - and that's before I reach the finish line. And then the last kilometer - like in a dream - people, cameras, ovations, green grass - and the finish. Done. Oh dear, that was too short, I think to myself. But at the same time glad it's over. Massage, beer, cold pool, dinner, wine and Jagermeister. What a day! I have to go back here. To really enjoy the run and the atmosphere. And the people in South Africa are simply unbeatably warm. I fell in love with the country.

Comrades Down Run