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.
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!