For the 2007 down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, Comrades Marathon runners knew they would get a warm welcome at the Fedics water table at the top of Inchanga – ideally located after making it up the hill and roughly halfway along the route.
A constant for the last four years, runners are spoilt for choice at the Fedics water table which actually comprises seven tables – three water tables, one Energade, two Coka Cola and one fruit and food table. By the time runners reach Inchanga, most have been running for a good few hours and a trough of wet sponges is just what they need to cool down.
One of 50 water tables along the Comrades route, Fedics staff get whole heartedly behind this endeavour with over 80 employees from head office, catering and the cleaning units manning the tables.
A DJ as well as six dancers kept both runners and supporters entertained and energy levels high. Staff started setting up at 5am to make sure that it’s ‘all systems go’ when the first runners come past.
Fedics organiser Margaret King says last year she was contacted by a lady from Johannesburg whose husband was running and she was not going to be able to come to Durban, so she asked me to please give him a good luck kiss when he reaches our site.
King says, “This is really what it’s all about, the camaraderie of the race and how by the end of the day strangers are new friends. When runners come past with cramps we will assist with a rub down and a word of encouragement.”
Friends and family ask often ask the staff manning the tables to look out for certain people by giving them the relevant race numbers, colours they are running in etc. King says this makes it exciting when a runner is recognized and everyone can spur them along.
By getting involved in the Comrades Marathon, Fedics also supports the charities that benefit from donations from the Comrades Marathon.
As yet none of the Fedics staff who have manned water tables have converted to running.