Outsurance GunRun with Embark

Group training with Embark caters for all levels of athletes. Here are 2 different athletes experiences of the coached group running program leading up to Outsurance GunRun.
Talya's experience on her first half marathon: "When STeve asked me to write a blog post about the “Beginner Gun Run Program” I was quite stunned he’d been so kind as to call me a beginner. Before I started the program, I would say I was a below novice level runner. I would go even further to say I hated running. I know it sounds dramatic, but I’ve been a water-baby my whole life and sport on land has never been my forte. However, at the beginning of the year I started cycling with Embark and fell IN LOVE. So considering that was fun (with super cute colourful outfits!!) and I already had the swimming under my belt, I thought a half marathon was really the only thing holding me back from a half ironman. I had 9 weeks and couldn’t run 1km without stopping; if anyone was going to get my ready for a half marathon it was going to be Garth and STeve.

The training program itself is not as daunting as you may think, Track Tuesday is the speed session. Garth creates a killer interval session around the Green Point Track under the flood lights like you’re a true Olympian. The group is split up based on their speeds so the “slower” runners have a longer time to finish the distance which results in a longer break. The best part about track is no one will run away from you! You are part of the group no matter your speed and if you need a break, you just pop off the track and do your thing. I used to think track was my least favourite of the sessions until my Strava Medals started going crazy the closer we got the Gun Run. I was setting PBs each week. I’ll be the first to admit that when runners on socials post an “easy Sunday Run” with a 6 minute pace – I want to throw my phone at them too. WHO SAID 6 WAS EASY?! My current PB for 1km is probably a little more than 6 minutes and you know what that is 6 minutes faster than the person who didn’t rock up to Track that day. We all have to start somewhere and I really hope this post gives you that nudge that all you need to join this group is the right attitude and lots of gees. 
Okay so, lets steer away from the pep talk and back to the sessions. Thursdays we have a hill session (which is my personal favourite). It’s a mentally tough session and my stubbornness really gets to shine here. These sessions make you stronger physically but also mentally challenges to push past the pain (and severe heaving) which is super important on race day. Saturdays are for long runs (and the coffee after obvi). The first long run I did was 10km and considering I haven’t run in about 4 years I thought this was a pretty good start to my half marathon journey. I truly did it for Garth’s high five at the end, but hey, you figure out what motivates you. Both of these sessions often have different start locations across the Atlantic Seaboard which is way more motivating and takes away the monotonous feel doing the same run, in the same route, every week.

The morning of the race can go many ways but luckily for me I was feeling gooood. I was on the verge of injury, it was too early to eat anything and it was freezing cold but damn I was pumped. I got a lift with my friends and made sure we blasted some Cheetah Girls “Strut” to get the energy high. Just before the start I did have a split second “OMF why did I think this was a good idea moment” but luckily for me the music at the start line was so loud I couldn’t hear these intrusive thoughts.

The first 10km was the best run of my life. I truly thought the race was going to be a walk in the park… boy was I wrong. 12km in you hit the only hill of the route up Kloof Road but thankfully Garth had prepared us with multiple repeats up Kloof Road during one of the hill sessions. So I put my head down, ground my heels down and had Garth at the back of my head repeating “Stay Hard”. With the marshals cheering you on and the sweet knowledge of the down hill to come I ran/walked the dreaded hill and was greeted by the gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean. I stopped my watched. Sipped my Coke. Pretended like it was the first time I had seen the view from the top of Kloof so that I could get a lekker break *ahhhh*.
Restarted my watch and continued my trot down towards Camps Bay.
People may warn you about Kloof Road but no one really tells you about the longest 4km of your life – the prom. Did I almost stop knowing I was close but not close enough? Yes. Did I almost cry seeing my friends cheering me on? Also yes. But did I smile wide at the cameraman and force myself to run slow and steady and use that mental strength I trained at hills? ABSOLUTELY. I refused to let the prom beat me and I also refused to walk knowing I had less than 5km to go.

My watch beeped at 21km and that’s when the tears actually started but they were likely due to the fact that I still had 100m to go. Not only did the program prepare my body and mind for such a race but it also made me hate running a little less (I’m not going to lie here and say I love it just yet but give me time). There is no better sense of community than Embark. Waking up in the dark and training in the cold is a lot less shitty when you have friends and an annoying coach holding you accountable. If I can cross that finish line, with having zero running ability prior to the program, you can too. So I’ll see all of you at the next Gun Run!" 
Bronson's experience on his fastest half marathon: "In January 2023, I joined Embark with the hope of experiencing a more social and intensive training regimen. As time passed, I noticed consistent improvement in my athletic abilities, and the expectations for me to achieve good results grew. Throughout the extended triathlon season and the subsequent lengthy winter break, my running abilities saw significant progress.

I never imagined running a sub-80-minute half marathon, but I accomplished this feat during the Gun Run Half Marathon, completing it in just 1 hour and 19 minutes.
The race day had perfect conditions with sunny but not hot weather, no wind, and starting in the A batch ensured a fast pace from the very beginning. This achievement was a testament for the invaluable support from coaches STeve and Garth, as well as my training squad."

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published