Sunday, December 9, 2012

Muizenburg Mountain Run–08 Dec 2012

This was my first race this year on table mountain – and even though I’ve hiked plenty over these paths, it seems my memory is failing me, because I completely under estimated the difficulty of the route. For some reason I thought the profile was straight up, then level for most of the time, and then straight down again. NOT!
If you’re reading these because you’re thinking of running this event – then be warned now: It’s a leg breaker of note. Ignore the poultry 13.8km distance, and check out the finishing times of previous year events. I’m about a 5 min/km pace road runner for this distance, and I took just over 2:30 to complete the route. A handful over runners posted 4+ hour times. I’ve recently run a marathon ; completed a half marathon and Die Burger Cycle Tour (92km without any cycle training) on the same weekend ; all without any stiff legs. 13.8km of mountain running, and I can barely walk!
Warnings aside, this really is a great run – offering landscape scenery on both sides of the mountain. The run was well organised by quantum adventures, and well marked with little orange ribbons guiding the way – which I need, because I have absolutely no sense of direction.

The parking and finish was at the toad on the road, from which we had to walk about 1.8km to the start on Boyes drive. I’d advise heading up to the start at least 30mins before the start time.



The start was a staggered start – releasing 25 runners every 2 minutes up the single-track route – something I wish more single-track events would do: it results in a lot less congestion. The first group was seeding with the faster runners – they make it look easy running up that steep ascent:


I was in the second-to-last group. We were given our race instructions, and then merrily sent up the mountain to replace our legs with rubber bands.


Weather-wise it was quite interesting – as almost expected with running on table mountain. The base of the route (on both side of the mountain) was quite warm and clear, but once you reach to top, it changes into a much cooler mist-covered blustery landscape.


Coming down the other side of the mountain is probably was did my legs in, so if there’s any place to take it easy, this part of the route is probably it.


The most scenic part of the run is probably once you reach the other side of the mountain – offering some great views, and a natures treat of the local fynbos fauna and flora


Once we rounded some of the mountain, it was back up into the mist, and down the other side for more punishment


The last 2km or so was a down hill wind-supported run on paved road, which I think the legs much preferred.
This year we ran the route in a clockwise direction (opposite of last year) – so it would seem the route can vary each year - which gives me a reason to come back next year once I can walk properly again.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lourensford Vital Run Half Marathon–1 Dec 2012

I almost gave this race a skip because of another sporting event the next day, but boy am I glad that I didn’t. This was my first run in these mountains – and wow what a beautiful route. The race takes place on the jeep tracks surrounding Lourensford Estate.
This is also the first ASA organised race that I’ve attended, that technically is a trail run. This is good in that it exposes the hordes of road runners to the sport – but not so good because it’s not really a true reflection of the experience of a trail run.
The race does, however, offer a unique experience that you won’t get in your traditional road or trail run – it’s more of a mish-mash of a well organised road run taking place in the setting of a trail run.
The organisers (Run Walk for Life & Co) really do go all out to make it a fun experience – everything from offering a swim in the local dam ; Scottish bag-pipers ; small cups of champagne – along with an excellent route that really is a joy to run.
The only damper on the day was trying to get out of the venue once the race was finished – took me an hour just to get out of the wine estate. A few experienced runners brought cooler bags & eats to stick around after for a bit – so if you’re attending for the first time this is maybe something you need to consider.
On to the good stuff:


Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 Winelands Marathon–Race Report

The Winelands Marathon was the first marathon I ever did way back in 1999. So after a 13 year gap, and 11 years since my last marathon, I was back for some more punishment.
The route follows the undulating hills that host the cape wineland vineyards, offering one of the more scenic marathon routes in the country.
Personally, I don’t like running through the concrete jungle – so as far as road races go – this was ideal.
The start & finish was at the Coetzenberg Athletics Track, and the race was both well supported, and well organized.
It can get rather hot this side of the world, so I was with much relief that the runners were met with an overcast sky and a cool breeze – perfect marathon weather.
The overcast to clearing conditions also resulted in some well orchestrated scenery for the runners to admire as they ticked off the kilometres:
The skies did clear a little later – lathering those of us who neglected the sunscreen with a mild case of sunburn.
The final 5 or so km’s are all a very welcome downhill – although after covering 30 something km’s I’m not sure what hurts more – the up or down hills.
Be warned – the route is not flat – although thankfully (for me at least) most of the challenging hills are on the first half of the route – with only 1 really nasty hill at about the 30km mark.
The mat-to-mat timing system was a pleasant surprise – I even got sms’ed my time to my phone as soon as I finished. Cool.
Hopefully more races will take advantage of this in the future.
My only gripe was the race t-shirt. I suppose for R80 I shouldn’t have expected anything better, but the quality was not nearly on par with what’s usually on offer.
A most enjoyable race on an even more enjoyable day – I’ll definitely be back next year.