Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017

Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017
Alfie's first medal

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Weskus Half Marathon - 25 April 2015

A race that I enjoy running, around the West Coast National Park.  I have run it three times before and this was my 4th time.  I had hoped to do well in the race this year but I knew that wasn't very likely when my longest run was only about 14km.  It doesn't bode well having a holiday a month before a half marathon!

There are the most beautiful sunsets at the West Coast National Park

We arrived at the National Park the day before the race and stayed in the Duinepos chalets (again), but this time we took our bikes so we could ride around the lagoon the next day.  (I can't believe I actually did that.  A half marathon one day, followed by a 40km cycle ride the next day - but I live to tell the tale!)  After registering and picking up my number that evening and trying to work out the new route on the map on the wall at the venue, it was early to bed and early to rise!

I got up to a very cool, damp, misty, dark start, and (my very kind) hubs drove us to the country estate where the half marathon was to start.  The day before had been very hot, about 30c, so it was a bit of a shock to have temperatures of half that on the day of the race.  Much nicer to run in, and it cleared up a bit throughout the day, but remained quite cool and windy.
The last downward hill

The first 5km of the route had been changed, and we ran out of the country estate up winding little roads, through a new housing estate, continually working our way upwards, with one rather steep hill in the first 2km, which isn't very nice when you are still trying to warm the body up!  I decided there was no point in trying to rush that bit and make it even harder!

At just over 5km we entered the National Park and, after following the tarred road for a kilometer or so, went off-road on to a sandy track, alongside the lagoon, which was part of the old route.  There wasn't a lot of 'stunning scenery' to see though as it was still misty.  On a clear day, it is easy to see Table Mountain in the distance, but not today.  At about 10km into the race, we ran back on to the tarred road and were on our way back to the country estate.

I knew the Black Mamba hill wasn't going to be much fun, but even though it is hard work it didn't seem to be quite so long this year.  Not sure why!  But I knew there was still another 5km to go, so had to focus and get on with it.  At the top of the hill, instead of turning left as in previous years, we had to turn right and, as we turned, we reached the top of another hill and looked out over much of Langebaan.  We were really high at this point, so it was all downhill from now on!  Much more fun - no more hills!
Never seen one of these on any of my runs before!

Eventually finished at an official chip time of 2:30:13, which actually took a minute off my fastest previous time for this race - even considering the extra hill in the changed route.  So, although I had hoped for a better time, it was actually a PB and a harder route than previous ones.

Position: 35/82

850 participants
446 women
82 in my age category

Do I prefer this route to the old one?  Mmm, not sure.  10km of the route is now outside of the National Park, whereas the old route started only a few kms outside of the National Park.  This means there is more running through residential areas, which is not particularly interesting.  There are also two horrible hills rather than just the one.

The good part is that there is not so much rocky off-road running, but we run more on sandy tracks instead.

Perhaps I need to upgrade to the full marathon.  That involves all National Park running, around the lagoon, and only 5kms outside of the park to the country estate!  Oh, and a lot more running!

Harvest Trail Run - 15 March 2015


Daughter, Taz, and I ran this one.  Taz was visiting from the UK, having come out a week or so before this run for the Cape Town Cycle Tour event.  Her hubby, Nick, and my hubs rode in that 47km event, much shortened due to the horrific mountain fires that had created such devastation over so many hectares the previous week, and renamed the Solidarity Ride.

Taz and I were entered into the 12.5km trail run.  Neither of us had done a trail run of this length before, in fact, Taz had never done a trail run before.  There were four events - a 15km, 12.5km, 7.5km and 5km runs.  Our event was starting at 7:45am.

Just before the run - preparing!

Taz couldn't believe how early races started in South Africa, but she did really well and managed to reach the trail centre at Delvera in Stellenbosch in time to pick up her number, although she didn't have time for a 'comfort break'!  Hope she doesn't mind me writing that!

The gun sent us off, and the 50 of us in the 12.5km race made our way up the road and out into the vineyards.
Taz - the first kilometre

I HATE warming up and running uphill!  There I was, huffing and puffing my way upwards through the vineyards and edge of the forest, and there was Taz with her iphone in her hand taking selfies and pics of mother struggling up the hill!  AND she runs with non-stop chatter ALL THE TIME!  HOW does she do that?!  After a kilometre or so, she obviously got bored and went off ahead of me, and that was the last I saw of her until the end of the race.  (And to think that just a couple of years ago I had to keep stopping for her to catch me up.  I'm so proud of her!)

Me - the first kilometre
We ran upwards, winding around the hill (?) for about 7 or 8km, the vineyards and forest changing from jeep track to single track, with fantastic views of the surrounding area.  At last, we started to come down again but as we were very spread out now, it was difficult to work out which way we ought to be going - in one or two places there appeared to be a lack of direction arrows.  Still, we kept going and hoped for the best.  Eventually, we came across a water point, so felt we couldn't be too far off, and then ran along a narrow track through a forest.  Eventually, we came out the other side and were back in the vineyards.

Nearly finished (yes I am in there somewhere!)

I kept running, meeting up with others from the other races, and could see the Finish across the dam, about 500 metres away.  Trouble is, we had to run about a kilometre to actually get to it.  Finally made it and staggered across the finish line!

We had been given a temporary trailtag to wear for an official time.  Trouble is, they didn't seem to be working properly and both Taz's and mine showed a totally incorrect time for each of us.  Taz's showed a time of nearly 2 hours, and mine showed a time of over 2 hours!  Not impressed as our actual times were:

Taz: I'll put this in when she reminds me what it was, about 10 minutes quicker than me.
Me: 1:37:06

Analysing the race afterwards!

It was a great run, and reasonably well organised, but it was a shame about the trail tag results.  Still, so far as I am concerned a trail run is more about the experience of running somewhere that has stunning scenery and somewhere where you wouldn't normally be able to run.  It's about the enjoyment of it, not about the time.

But they could get the time right!