The former Comrades champion Charne Bosman (Murray&Roberts) can be forgiven if she has started her own personal countdown to 18 October.
To her, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is a red-letter day event and with good reason. For the first time in nearly seven months, she will be racing shoulder to shoulder with rivals. Needless to say, she can't wait.
"Virtual racing is not for me. I want to line up at the start of a race. It comes with a sense of camaraderie as in long-distance running; nothing can ever be taken for granted."
For most athletes, the Cape Town Marathon is a virtual race. The organisers, however, came up with a brain wave to make things slightly more exciting.
It has been announced that "the best of the best among South Africa's long-distance athletes" will faceoff over 42.2km in three different cities; Cape Town, Potchefstroom and Pretoria. The field will include 20 elite invitational entries alongside 21 wildcard entries.
The athletes will be doing eight laps of 5.2km. The exercise physiologist, Dr Ross Tucker, has been tasked to ensure it is a level playing field.
He will do a proper analysis beforehand taking into account such factors as the differences in altitude as well as elevation across the three venues.
Bosman and 12 other athletes (four female and nine male) will be racing at the Tuks sports grounds. It might give her a slight edge as she considers the Tuks and the High-Performance Centre (HPC) as her stomping ground.
"I do a lot of my training there, so it is like a home away from home for me."
Bosman, who is supported by the HPC-Tuks, is leaving nothing to chance. For the last four weeks, she has been doing most of her training running laps.
"I won't be surprised if there are people in Menlopark who think I am mad to be running around in 'circles'. It is, however, important to me to get used to running laps."
Although the Murray&Roberts athlete is genuinely chomping at the bit to race, she is also a realist.
"The biggest mistake I can make is to go out too hard to fast. I will have a definite race plan. The challenge will be to stick to it come what may."
"The reality is that I am not getting any younger, which means I can't race the same way as I did say ten years ago. What I might lack in pure speed I now got to make up by running clever," explained the 44-year-old who won Comrades in 2016.
According to Bosman, the Covid-19 lockdown has been an "interesting" experience.
"I am grateful for the HPC delivering a treadmill at my house so I could continue training in my sitting room. I must have done more than 1 000 kilometres with my dogs as the only spectators.
"Being in lockdown for so long has given me a lot of perspective on a lot of things. The most important is the realisation that there is life after running. That is why I enrolled in a course to become a life coach.
"The strangest thing about being lockdown is that at times it feels like months of my life have been erased. It is as if I have been a way to a different country where everything is different from what I am used to. Luckily things are back to normal. In 17 days I will be racing."