~ By Nicky Horenz
I have this beautiful friend called Julie.
Julie has wanted to do Washie for years – and has asked me on a number of occasions to do it with her.
I never felt ready – hell – 100 miles !! - Are you EVER ready !!??
I had a pair of Vivolicious running tights on my Christmas wish list and was lucky enough to get them.
I went to Amsterdam just after Christmas and ran in them through the cold dark streets early in the mornings.
I posted a picture on FB and Julie instantly commented – “I LOVE those pants – where do I find them ?”
Julie is this ball of energy and life and she just loved the vibey crazy prints – she immediately went to the Vivollicious FB page and I got another message – “oh dear I am in trouble – I will have to buy them all”
I returned home to Cape Town mid-January and entered the Red Hill marathon. Julie lives in Gordons Bay and I live in Bergvliet so we mainly see each other at races. Julie was not there. I thought it was odd as she is at everything but left it. After the Lion of Africa Half Marathon and still no Julie – I called her to ask what was up !! Worst answer possible…. She had Cancer. And it was looking pretty brutal. She beat it once before years ago and being the upbeat positive person she is she was confident she would beat it again. She started chemo and got on with life as Julie does. 1000%
After Comrades I realised just how sick she was. The chemo was not really working and she was battling. I decided then and there I wanted to run Washie. I had to. Life is too short and I needed to do it for Julie. Luckily I have two crazy friends who also know Julie through running and it was pretty easy to commit once we all sat after a Comrades recovery run sipping coffee !! And so team #justforjulie was born. Julie was over the moon. She was so excited we were going to run it for her.
On 29th June I got a call – Julie was in hospital and it did not look good. I raced through to see her and I knew my feisty friend was not going to beat this one. We took turns sitting with her all through the night and we spoke for hours. I told her that I would carry her the whole way through Washie and that I was going to wear her crazy favourite pants ! I also told her that I did not know if I could do this crazy event but I was damn well going to try !! She looked at me and she said “You WILL finish Washie – because you CAN”… well that told me !!
Julie passed away on 10th July. My heart broke into a million pieces. Her memorial service was on the 14th July and I left for Washie a week later. I had to pull myself together and quickly.
And so I did Washie – for Julie…. In my Vivolicious pants !! – with my amazing sole sisters at my side supporting each other all the way. I changed tops part way through – but the pants had to stay !!
As the sun rose on Saturday morning I left flowers and photos of my Julie on the Washie road. She did Washie with me …. And that is why I HAVE a friend called Julie.She is with me still and boy did I talk to her lots on Friday and Saturday – and she kept telling me to keep my ass moving forward.
So it’s a pity you don’t have an outlet in heaven – cos you would have the funkiest dressed crazy assed little runner up there doing you proud !! J
I love my Vivolicious pants and look forward to expanding my wardrobe soon.