Now that is a trail run!
The Bastille Day celebrations in Franschhoek included a Trail Run a few k’s outside of town along side the Berg River. I originally was running with a work colleague, and thus entered the shorter 12km route. In retrospect I’m rather glad it was the shorter route – the weather turned for the worse just after I finished, and I was still recovering from flu the week before.
Had the opportunity to meet Ryan Sandes at the start of the race – he was there as part of a JAG Foundation initiative.
The scenery at the start was rather awesome – video & full album links at the bottom of this post
The organisers did an excellent job. Registration was fast and easy – and I love the salomon race bibs – MUCH better than pinning holes in your shirt for your race number. There were plenty of marshals on the course – the only blip on the radar being some blue bibs taking the wrong route because there wasn’t a marshal at one of the race route splits. The race preview was also delivered rather entertainingly by an official in full dress:
The start of the route follows a pretty steep ascent into the mountains, offering some spectacular views:
I think the only thing that was slightly frustrating about the single-track route, is having to cope with the lack of passing opportunities – but then again it helps to have some forced stoppages to take in the scenery.
I think the most novel part of the race was the numerous river crossings involved. At the first stream I saw a number of ladies removing their shoes and socks in order not to get wet – well that proved pretty pointless, and that was just a promise of things to come. The last river crossing had waist deep (deeper for some of the more vertically challenged) strong flowing water.
For footage of the river crossings can be found in the video link below.
The final 2 k’s or so are pretty flat and open, allowing an open stride for the first time.
… and for the finish a rather novel prize: a yellow-wood tree:
All-in-all a true trail running experience (in my limited experience). I’ll definitely be returning for the longer distances next year. Some final pictures of the surroundings:
— Jean-Pierre de Caussde (1675-1751)