I would like to thank everyone at KPSMC who have supported, treated, trained, advised, massaged, consoled and mostly befriended and believed in me the past 2 years. Without your support, I wouldn’t have achieved my big goal and I certainly might not even have been running. Thanks everyone!!!!!!
Two years ago, for various reasons, injury being the most debilitating reason, I thought I won’t be able to run and compete ever again. I started with rehab and treatment and was encouraged to enter the 35km SA Long Distance Trail Running Champs that took place at Jonkershoek Mountain, Stellenbosch this past weekend. This is what happened:
Perfect weather greeted us at the start on Sunday and I was shivering uncontrollably, being quite apprehensive about the event, knowing that the 2000m elevation gain happens in the first 20km and that most of the trail will be on highly technical, mountainous terrain. That is not what I’m used to, coming from the sandy Ballito. I can say now that those trails I ran on Sunday made Giba Gorge look like a flat manicured highway in comparison!
The first 100m of the race was flat jeeptrack, then it went onto more technical, mountainous, rocky single track going up…..and up……and up……..until we were so high that we could see over Stellenbosch to the sea. The views were totally breathtaking and I did spend a moment admiring the mountains, but only until the first young gazelle came bouncing past me, as if I was standing still. I was carefully picking my way, taking care not to fall and break any 50-year old bones! She made me remember that this is the SA champs and I have to run if I want to feature! Then it was head down, concentrate and run. Through the pristine forests and mountains I went, going up and down until my legs cramped and falling seems compulsory because the leg muscles have morphed into jelly. My lungs were on fire, my legs wobbled, my eyes watered, but all the years of running Comrades, hanging in at the end when everything is sore taught me to byt vas and RUN. Which is what I did, and it felt so good! When I heard the announcers, the euphoria set in, my arms pumped, my legs started working again and I think I even managed an increase in pace to the end!
I didn’t catch the gazelles, but I managed to win my age group in a time of 4.34:21, finishing 11th lady overall. The ladies winning time was 3.37:17, by Katya Soggot, from Cape Town. The Dusi winner, Robyn Kime, was 2nd in 3:46:07, followed by Anita O’Brien in 3:58:03.
The event was organised by Wildrunner and included a 21km and 10km trail run. Results can be found on www.jonkershoekmountainchallenge.co.za