Rio Corre and beyond

Jason von berg at Christ the Redeemer

I’ve been a little quiet since my last blog post, but it has been a little crazy since my last update. So as you know we were here to compete in the Rio Corre 10km run on Sunday. This happened to be my first race outside of South Africa and I can tell you it was a fantastic introduction to the world’s sporting events. Nike never holds back and it’s always a festive, fun and vibey experience. We had an early call time, but that allowed us to take them selfies and absorb all of the pre-race excitement ahead of the race. I must tell you standing at the start was somewhat intimidating though. Obviously there are people who take this really seriously, so all them stretching regimes, psyching themselves up was happening around us… The crazy, loud South Africans. Anyways, we also got ourselves in the zone and then we hit the road.

I have never experienced such incredibly hot and humid conditions, but despite all of that I managed to clock my personal best time, sneaking in just under forty five minutes… Granted it was a flat route, but whatever 🙂 I pushed hard and it clearly worked. I wasn’t the only one who did well. Top SA runner, Gladwin Mzazi won the men’s race in a whopping 28:30, while the Phalula sisters came in second and third respectively. Represent Mzansi, represent. It really was a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to do more (I have my mind set on the NYC 21km next year).

After interviews, prize giving and general hanging out, our much needed showers were in order. I’m sure many were pleased to hear we showered, haha. We then headed through to the Ipanema hippie market, which was just a glorified market really, but it was good to see nonetheless. Ipanema has a really great beach actually. I assume that the surfing is better there, judging by the amount of surfers in the water. And despite the shit weather, people still did some beaching. I guess it’s a Sunday afternoon, so when in a Rio really. Later we headed back to the race area, where there was a free concert featuring some of the local stars. Obviously we got into the VIP area, but it’s always nice being around the crowds and experiencing the true concert experience. So that’s what I did. I don’t understand he language, but the universal language of music resonates with us all and that was good enough for me. Sidebar, the World Cup is going to be incredible next year and if I have a chance,I will definitely be aiming to head back here. The new Nike jersey was revealed at the concert and for this soccer-crazed nation, this was clearly a winner. So book your tickets… I can recommend a good tour guide too 🙂

Yesterday was one of my best days… Again, the weather wasn’t working in our favour, but we went up to Christ the Redeemer anyway and what a special part of the trip that was. I’m not a very religious man at all, but the presence and complete sense of calm I felt up there was amazing. It’s divine to say the least and an experience I will hold dear to me for a long time to come. Plus the views from up there were beautiful, with the city peaking through the clouds and all. The rest of the day was spent shopping and eating… We’ve done a lot of that since we’ve been here, gosh!

And now, here I am sitting on the balcony of my hotel room looking out onto the ocean and reflecting on this awesome experience. It really came at the right time for me, personally and professionally and I’m very grateful for it. I said on Facebook that my love affair with South America would be starting here and that it has. I guess it’s because I see a lot of similarities to the way we are back home; passionate,friendly and alive with possibilities. I also enjoy the new culture, the language and it’s simply awesome. No lies, I’m not overly excited to be heading home just yet, but it must be done and this love affair will continue for many years to come – cannot wait. Thank you Seruscka, Peter, Pippa, Simmy, Claudio, Alexander and the rest of the Nike team for making this #RioCorre experience amazeballs. To my fellow travelers, (Zama, Lebo, Lebohang, Thato, KK, Busi, Gladwin, Laura, Tasha, Xoli, Obet) you guys rock the party. I loved traveling with each and everyone of you.. Thanks for the laughs and memories!

Road to Rio Corre – departure day

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Just over three weeks ago, I got word on Twitter that I’d won a trip (I know right). I really wasn’t expecting that and I’d didn’t quite realize why people were congratulating me until fellow runner, Tanya showed up at the same event I was at and she confirmed that I’d won the Nike #mediaruns challenge and Rio De Janeiro was the destination I’d be heading to (I still get that wtf moment in my head, ha). The Rio Corre 10km is the main reason we were off to the South American nation, but there would be a whole bunch of other touristy things on the cards too.

So fast track three weeks later and I’d find myself lying in my hotel bed at the Sofitel Luxury Hotels, which is a meters away from the very famous Copacabana beaches typing this post. It’s just before 07:00 and it’s already cooking, albeit overcast. Getting here was long, but pretty painless. My dear friend, Kadie dropped me off at the Gautrain station, caught the train from Rosebank to the airport via Sandton and then it was check in time. Destination – Sau Paulo.

South African Airways was the airline of choice that would take us to the South American nation. It remains an airline that I’m not entirely sold by. I’ve haven’t had the best experience in the past, but the crew were really nice this time around and the flight was pleasant. The only down side is that the plane was “old” according to the head air hostess and it was for that reason why we all had to cast our attention to the shared TV screens above the seats. Old school much? Well the movies and he quality of the broadcast weren’t too,so thank goodness for the iPad 🙂

We arrived in Sau Paulo just after 4pm, local time all feeling a little light and tired but still very excited. Our lay over was three overs, so we got somewhat acquainted with the airport and we also got to know each other a little bit too. We’re going to have fun I tell ya.

After the wait we all boarded our Tam flight to Rio De Janeiro, eeeek! The flight wasn’t full and the cabin was really nice too. I’d recommend this airline for sure. The forty minute or so flight was a little bumpy (okay rather actually) but we were all so tired so it didn’t really phase us, haha. We boarded a short coach ride from the north of the city to the south and it was in that trip that we got to see one off the world’s greatest wonders of the modern world, Christ The Redeemer statue, which overlooks the city. That’s when shit got real for me… Excuse my profanities here, but I’m in fucken Rio De Janeiro!!!

More on our trip to follow in the next couple of days 🙂

Want to win a House Of Coffees hamper and some cash?

Listen up good people. It’s the start of a new week and there’s no better way to start it off with none other than a good cuppa coffee and some cash to go with it. 5FM Mornings with Gareth Cliff and House of Coffees are giving you an opportunity to win up to R5000 in cash. Here are the details.

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Sometimes it pays to confess. Tweet your confession with to their official Twitter handle, @HouseOfCoffees then tune into Gareth Cliff’s show all this week. If he calls you and you confess to your sordid little secret live on air, the money is yours. Remember to answer Gareth’s call with: It pays to confess with the House of Coffees Confessions. Remember to like them on Facebook too.

In celebration of the new flavours I’ll be sharing some of my obsessions, confessions throughout the week. Today’s Daily Obsession is the new track from Shakira and Pitbull called Rabiosa. It’s a hot track and while it might be a bit old, it’s still amazeballs. It makes me want to pack my bags and head to South America for a little razzle:

Dirty Skirts- Daddy Don't Disco

To all my American/European/ Asian and South American readers/viewers… guys and ladies, I would like to show case some of our musical talent to you guys. We get to see your artists all the time and while I love them, I just think you guys might love out artists as much. They’re rocking, styling and getting better all the time So here is the first of many music videos from our local stars. This song is called Daddy Don’t Disco from a Cape Town band called The Dirty Skirts:

Let me know your thoughts on them and if you like them, we can arrange to more of their songs for your listening and viewing pleasure.