How significant role does age play in competitive elite sport?
If the former Comrades-winner, Charné Bosman (Nedbank Running Club), is to be believed the answer to the question is none. At 42 years she is not planning on slowing down at all. In fact, it would seem as if she is getting faster.
So it won’t be a surprise if she should win the inaugural Bestmed Tuks Marathon on Saturday. Bosman has already once this season shown her younger rivals a clean pair of heels when she won the Johnson Crane Hire Marathon in Benoni in a time of 2:54:59. At the time she ran it, it was the fastest time by a female runner in a local marathon this year.
She also clocked an impressive time of 1 hour 20 minute in a half-marathon and ran 36:50 over 10 kilometres proving that there is still a lot of speed left in her legs.
Bosman views age just as numbers that have no relevance to the quality of one's life.
“I might be 42, but it feels like I am 30. Age is not a handicap. I believe I still can achieve anything I have set my mind to.”
If nothing unforeseen happens, she hopes to finish the Bestmed Tuks Marathon in a time of 2 hours and 52 minutes. Maybe a little bit faster or slower. Bosman is quick to point out that in any marathon there is always that X-factor which no athlete can control.
“Sometimes you run a faster time than you expected. But the opposite is also true. I have run races where I expected to run a fast time, but it turned into a battle of survival.”
The reality is that should Bosman finish in a time of roundabout 2 hours 52 minutes there is real chance that she will win the Bestmed Tuks Marathon.
There is a good reason why Bosman chose to run the Bestmed Tuks Marathon. She views the Tuks Sports Grounds and the High Performance Centre (HPC) as her stomping ground. “I do a lot of my training at the HPC and Tuks, so it is like a home away from home for me.”
According to Bosman, she is not planning on explicitly tapering down for the marathon. She considers her participation as proper hard training in the built-up to Comrades, but as it is a more relaxed week she hopes to start the race with relatively fresh legs.
Bosman attributes her new zest for running to her new training partners. It is a group of male athletes known as the “Angry Kenyans”.
“In the past, I used to do most of my training on my own which at times gets to be difficult. The good thing about training with the “Angry Kenyans” is that they create a sort of check and balances for me. On a day when I need to be fast, they will make sure that I do exactly that, even if it means they have to gang up on me. The same goes for when I need to recover.”