“Why am I doing this to myself? This isn’t fun, it’s terrible”

Posted on August 02, 2019

Dr Llewelyn Curlewis, senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law, recently completed his 25th consecutive Comrades Marathon on 9 June 2019 in a time of 7 hours and 45 minutes.

His love for running started at an early age. He used to run cross-country and middle distance (1 500m and 3 000m). “To date, I have more than 3 000 medals and counting – for road races. These were for various distances, ranging from 10km, 21km, 42km and several ultra-marathons. I have run 25 Comrades Marathons, 24 Two Oceans Marathons, locally as well as abroad,” Dr Curlewis says.

He has raced in Amsterdam and Dublin and next year he is running the New York Marathon for fun. “Running is addictive. I wake up every morning around 4:30am and together with a group of friends – we call ourselves ‘The Angry Kenyans’ – we do at least 10 to 15km per day. Personally, these morning jogs help a lot with thought processing, planning the day ahead and reflecting. I have been running for 30-plus years now.”

Dr Curlewis says that during the Comrades there are more than 20 000 runners all gunning for the number-one spot. He says the first 10km is when runners normally get their groove and find their sequence. “Sometimes during that first 10km it feels like the end of the world but, miraculously, one recovers and pushes even harder.”

He says that during a race, when the going gets tough, he tends to ask himself “why am I doing this to myself? This isn’t fun, it’s terrible.” However, despite the agony of a race, two days after competing he finds himself preparing for the next one.

“At some point I used to run competitively. I wanted to participate and get into provincial teams to make my club (University of Pretoria), my province (Gauteng North) and my country proud. I have been fortunate to run for Tuks Club all of these years. The fact of the matter is that Tuks has been good to me and I do not see myself wearing different colours. It is Tuks all the way.

“Lately I run for fun, it’s entertaining for me. I enjoy extreme sports such as skydiving, scuba diving and hunting, but I always go back to running,” he says.

Dr Curlewis says running teaches him to be more tolerant, focused and happy. It also instils discipline, which also helps him in his workplace. He says it’s important for one to preoccupy their mind with something different after a marathon, perhaps a good swim or any another relaxing activity.

His advice to runners is that they must have a solid mindset, as it’s very easy to give up. Even if a person walks during a marathon, they must make it count. “Walk hard, fast and constantly. I encourage all colleagues and students to at least participate in one Comrades and or Two Oceans Ultra Marathons in their lifetime,” he says.

- Author Xolani Mathibela

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences