Toontjie 4km - 14 October 2017

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

Monday, 19 June 2017

Patatfees Napier Half Marathon - Saturday 17 June 2017



I thought that I should do this race because it is held in our village and I won't find another race any closer than this one! It passes within about 50 metres of  the gate at the bottom of our drive. It would be nice to find out what this race is all about and the route - so I entered! I didn't intend running it fast but as a training run, as I am starting marathon training now and didn't want to jeopardise that. I couldn't help worrying a little, though. This is the write-up for it taken from The Whalers Athletics Club newsletter.

A tough, circular race which is run on a hilly course. The race starts off rather deceptively with an easy two kilometre downhill canter through the village before heading out into the farmlands. The course becomes a gravel road at the 6km mark and you'll enjoy running through fields of giant proteas. The hard work begins after the halfway mark with a steady climb through fields of barley, wheat, oats and canola. The road climbs for over five kilometres until you reach the 16km marker which is also the highest point of the race. After this is a gradual and pleasant jog back to Napier and you're home after a gradual and tough climb to the finishing post.

They neglected to say that it would probably have been raining in the day or so leading up to the race, or it will be raining on the day so expect a lot of squelchy mud and puddles! Oh, and it's likely to be very windy too - from all directions!

It was drizzling, very cold, and very dark when I staggered out of bed at 6am on Saturday morning. I got the cats and dogs fed, and opened up the doors so the chickens could come out whenever they wanted to. Then I made my breakfast of porridge and jam! Steve was doing the 30km mountain bike race, which started 20 minutes before my race - but he didn't need very long to get ready and had another 45 minutes in bed!

It was getting light when we left the house but continued to rain on and off. We, eventually, managed to find a parking space in a very rutted field at the school and Steve got his bike off the carrier at the back of the car.

It was still raining when we got to the starting area but eventually it eased off a bit, and just a few minutes later, it was Steve's race.



 While the 15km MTB cyclists got themselves lined up ready for their race, I went into the toilets - and there was no queue. That made a nice change. Then it was the runners' turn. The 10km and the 21km lined up together and both races started at the same time at 8:30.

We started off by leaving the school through a rather muddy area, then it was all downhill to the main road and through the village. We turned off (near our house!) and ran off down the gravel road for a few kilometres, which wasn't too bad, and I was able to keep a reasonable pace. Then we turned off on to a farm with a single track road. We passed some very sweet young calves in a field, then a bit further up the road it got progressively muddier. I was determined I was not going to slip and, along with a few others, gingerly held on to the fence posts at the side of the road taking really slow, tiny steps for a hundred metres or so to get through it. I'm glad I had the sense to wear my trail shoes, unlike one runner who was wearing new shoes.

Then there was a lovely dry bit, and after that we would go through the same scenario again - mud followed by dry patches, for what seemed like ages. This was going to be a long half marathon! The sun came out, then it got overcast again and started raining - again! We were also slowly (in more ways than one!) going uphill. Couldn't get out of the wind either!

At last, we found ourselves on the proper road again and there were a few lovely kilometres of running on road, albeit was gravel and it was very wet! However, that couldn't last and we found ourselves entering the gates of another farm, climbing, climbing. At least the sun was out now! We also had a few of the cyclists pass us at various points too on their races.

Have to admit the views up there were stunning. I hadn't realised that there were cereals and vines being grown up there in the mountains!









At last, we reached the top and then started the descent. It was lovely to be able to run downwards for a change, although there were still some very muddy patches. I had thought I was making fairly good progress and would be at the Finish soon, which was only about 5 kms away at that time, thereby finishing in 2hrs 30mins, but there was a long squelchy muddy area of about 150 metres long which put paid to that, and I had to creep over it slow step by slow step! Silly me!

Eventually though, I found myself back on tarmac, and the main road, and just a couple of kilometres to run. All uphill, of course, and the last 1 kilometre was real hard work, as the Finish was up a steep hill and around the running track.

Wow, I felt I earned that medal!
2hrs:51min.

Hooray! Finished it!
No, I don't think I want to do this one again. The 10km, probably, but not the half marathon. But at least I have had that experience and know what it is like! lol!

Someone else finished his race too! He should be proud of his achievement! A good time and a good position!






Thursday, 27 April 2017

Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon...

Hard-earned medal

 ... was held on 15 April 2017.  I had successfully obtained a place through the ballot and was delighted to be able to run this race at last. Having run a Bed & Breakfast for so many years with Steve, I had not been able to run at Easter so this was a bit special for me. It is also the first race I have run since last December, and that was a 10km, so really wasn't sure how this half marathon would turn out!

Sam and Finn were staying with us over the Easter period so I had booked a house not too far from the Start and the Finish so we could have a bit of a break in Cape Town as well. On the Thursday before the Race, we all went to Cape Town, and I did the Expo.

At the expo at the Cape Town Convention Centre

Picking up my number

Complete with number and goodie bag - a bit scary really!

Steve bought me some running stuff  birthday presents while we were there 😊and we all picked up our numbers for the Fun Run that we were all going to run with Finn the next day. I also picked up my Half Marathon race number too, and goodie bag.

On the Friday, we all made our way in our running stuff to Rhodes Memorial where the fun runs were starting, and we did our 2.1km. Well done to Sam, Steve and Finn for doing it so enthusiastically!

Before 6am!

On the Saturday, I had to get up at 4am for the 6am start of the Half Marathon a kilometre up the road outside the Brewery in Newlands. It was still very dark and quite chilly, but Steve walked me up there, where he left me and I sorted myself out for the pen I was to start from - C. It is a big race and it made me feel quite small standing in the middle of so many people around me - 16,000. And then there were the 56km runners congregating behind all of us - another 11,000!

The Start!

Just before 6am, they played the national anthem, and then we were off.  Steve said he had been watching from the Engen garage just up the road from the Start, but neither of us saw each other - too many people. It wouldn't get light for at least another hour but it was quite nice running in the dark with the street lights. When the street lights ran out on the dual carriageways, some very kind marshalls shone lights for us. We were steadily running uphill for the first 4 or 5kms and looked down at all the lights in the towns below us - very pretty. Then, the D and E groups caught us up and started overtaking us - well, all the quick, young ones anyway!

As we turned off left and ran over the road towards the mountains, I could see it was getting light and we ran a kilometre or so in one direction before turning back on ourselves on the other side of the road doing a switchback. It isn't good seeing so many people ahead of you, but it was good seeing so many behind! And we continued running towards the mountains.

We ran along Constantia Nek under the trees and it was such a long incline. It seemed to be uphill most of the time, and I had to walk in places. At last we reached the Kirstenbosch gates and the road opened up and there were some very welcome downhills. In fact, it was mostly downhill from Kirstenbosch back to the Finish at the University - about 3kms. One more uphill just before the Finish, which was a killer at that stage of the Race, but it was great to see Steve at the side of the road just a couple of kilometres from the Finish.

Nearly done! Just a couple more kilometres!

The last 100m or so seemed so long, but eventually I ran across the timing mat managing a finish of exactly 2hrs 30 minutes. I was very pleased with that as I had thought it would take me something like 2:45 with so many hills. It is not a flat race at all!

Eventually, Steve found me where we agreed to meet and we started walking back to the house. I knew there were a couple of coffee shops on the way, and we stopped off to buy a coffee and a custard pastry - the best food I had that day! After that, we carried on walking back to the house, where Sam and Finn were still in bed!

I was very achy the next day but managed an enjoyable walk around Kirstenbosch with everyone.

I mustn't forget that Alfie ran just about every run leading up to this race with me, so huge thanks to him for accompanying me. I am going to treat him to a new running harness! He is the most enthusiastic running partner you could ask for - never complains (but sometimes wonders why we go up and down the same hill a lot on some runs) and is always ready to come out with me for another run!

Time: 2:30:51 Chip Time, 2:30:05 Actual Time

Position: Category position: Ladies in my age group: 78/267 before cut-off.