Bosman wants the real thing.
SA road running veteran Charne Bosman is not a fan of virtual races. The 45 year-old won the Sanlam Cape Town virtual marathon Pretoria leg last month, saying it’s torture and would rather stay at home than to be involved in such a race again. The Murray & Roberts Running Club star clocked 2:56:19 to breast the tape first at the University of Pretoria. Annie Bothma, who was running her only second marathon, was the overall winner of the 42.2km race when she stopped the clock at 2:33:35.
Bosman stopped training for three days because of Covid-19 fears. She thought that she got infected with the virus. But to her relief, she is okay and ready to return to training. “I picked up an illness, and I thought coronavirus. I was so scared and feared the worst. But it turned out to be a false alarm. My wish is for everything to go back to normal because I am not a fan of virtual marathons. I want the real thing. There is no atmosphere in the virtual races, and you don’t run with a group of runners. It’s like you are racing with ghosts. When there are no elite runners, there is nothing special about that race,” said Bosman.
The 2016 Comrades Marathon champion also took part in the 21.1km Comrades virtual marathon in July. She is pleading with Athletics SA (ASA) to allow marathons to take place even if it’s with 1000 runners. The government Covid-19 regulation prohibits the public gathering of more than 500 people. Every year Bosman participates in the Nelson Mandela Remembrance walk and run in the capital city. She usually runs the half-marathon, but ASA is yet to confirm whether or not the race will go ahead next month.
If the race does not go ahead, she does not mind doing another virtual race - but only for Madiba. “I know I hate virtual races, but for Madiba, I don’t mind doing it. This race is very close to my heart, and would love to run it,” Bosman said.
Virtual races also generally don't have prize money because each run will runs their own route on different courses. This has come as a big blow to elite athletes especially who earn a living from racing. Bosman said she felt sorry for people who have lost income like her due to Covid-19, but is grateful for the monthly stipend that she receives from her running club. “I lost a lot of money due to this flu. I feel for the MC’s, vendors, and managers that used to earn a living off the sport. If it were not for my running club, I would have died of hunger,” she added.