Tuesday, July 12, 2016


So where does one start? I've been running for as long as my memory stretches back... 40+ years! And today finds me lying in my bed with my knee in a brace dreaming of those days... I'll be back but the road will be long! This story goes back to 17 April 2016... remember this is my story and I tell as I think it could have gone down. JMC was run on the 17th and while I wasn't running well I was in the running for a top 3 in the 40+year old race when I kicked a rock (not very bright of me) and took a tumble, or should I say whacked my knee hard as I hit the ground. While there was a lot of blood the knee was fine, but I believe I might have tenderised the meniscus, but not torn it.
The knee

Two weeks later I raced HMC and that didn't help it recover. Cartilage doesn't heal fast like muscle or bone... a week later 8 May I raced VWS and did some hard downhill running with a couple of turns and dodging of slow runners in the shorter race. At the end of the race I was sore. .. mostly quads, but that's normal for this race! Now the back of the left knee was sore! Not a sore that worried me and it wasn't there the next day, but over the next days I felt my knee would 'lock' if I kicked my leg up. Not sore or inhibiting to my running.

A monster 3h45 training run with 2000m climb was great training but didn't help the knee, not that I felt any difference to it. The sessions in the week were getting faster... my knee wasn't a problem. Then on an easy run through Kirstenbosch it started to hurt... The session the next day turned into an easy run and a week later I was at the physio!

I saw her again the following week and it was off to the Doctor for a second opinion and then a MRI on the 27th...That afternoon I got the call from the Doc... Dion it's not good!  Like that my running streak ended 1661 days without missing a run!!!

I was wheeled into theatre on Wednesday the 6th...Ok so what did the scan show and what was the plan of the doctor? I had torn the medial meniscus at the back of the left knee. Not a little tear,  but all the way through. This is not good news. Again, this is how I see it: picture the top of the shin bone (tibia). Indented to take the 'ball' at the bottom of the femur. Now you don't want bone on bone so the meniscus is attached to the indent of the tibia to act as shock absorbers... tear that and every step of bend of the knee can cause pain or trouble. If it was a little tear they pop in there and trim the area and in a couple of weeks you are good to go... me not so lucky it was really torn! Like in two!
Mine is the left knee, and torn all the way through!

So the good Doctor went in with a needle and thread and sewed it up...Surgery went well and now it's up to me to be a good boy for the next month or so... but that's not all since the meniscus is made of cartilage it doesn't really heal like muscle or bone it also need a lot of encouragement!  (Stimulating, blood, prayer. ..)

Feet up!

For now it's no running... it's hopping around on crutches, I hope to be in the pool and on the bike in a month or so!
That's all he did!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


I wasn't up for 50km of hard trails on Table Mountain this year, so I was going to sit The Beast out... But Trevor had put in a shortcut for people like us! No not a soft farm run on gravel roads, not a run that could be run by road runners, but 30km of mostly rocky single track over Table Mountain.

Race Number

The 50km race had started 30min before us and us we set off the race was on to catch them. I shot to the front from the gun (OK there wasn't a gun, it was more like: You can do now!) Knowing the route I wanted to set the pace for the first couple of hundred meters before settling into my pace. I wasn't alone up front, but Kevin was with me...

The first loop was through Newlands Forest, my running home for 35 years, so I just had to set the pace, the legs felt good and the running was easy. (but then the 1st hour of a 3-4 hour race always is...) I like to say I've run every path in the forest a hundred times, but the climb to the contour path, I might have only ever been up once! By now we had started to reel in the back markers of the 50 and on route to Kirstenbosch and our climb to the top up Nursery Ravine I start to test Kevin, but he didn't have and weakness! The race was still in the early days and it was looking like it would come down to who could pick up the pace at the end.

I pushed a little up Nursery and smiled to myself as I opened a little gap (30sec). I thought I was moving OK as I headed for the concrete road, but Kevin caught me on that single track and the dumped me as we headed up the road... I thought to my self: he's gone to early, I don't have legs to run at that pace to the dams.

I conned myself into thinking I would catch him on the climbs to Maclears, but as I reached them I had legs to pass a friend, Jana, doing the 50km, but the gap on her didn't grown and the gap to the lead did... I was getting slower. I reached the top and turned to Maclears. Still feeling sluggish, Jana caught me and with her pushing from behind I was able to up my game and lead her to the highest point of the race.

The path back to Platteklip has the most amazing views from the face of the mountain, then Jana turn to head to Corridor I turned down Platteklip...

Boy was I slow, the clock doesn't lie, it was my slowest time ever! 5min slower than I should have run and 10-12min slower than I use to run! On the way down I lost 2nd place to a youngster who bounced down the rocks with no fear of death!

Running so fast the mountain was blurred (no eyes floating in lactic acid)

My leg didn't have any go left in them, I'm guessing racing 25km 2 weeks before and then a week spending over 3 hours training on the mountain didn't help!

Selfie on the run!

I was passed again before the climb up Devils, and I then passed on the climb to the saddle and wait for it I was caught again while heading to Mowbray Ridge. The 10 min scramble down took 20min but I was almost home...

No floating over the rocks today

4h36 later I crossed the finish-line in 6th place almost 30min behind the leader... I bet I'll be back next year and I hope I'm better prepared.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


There's a story to every startline, and the excuses are always thrown around to give your competition hope that they are the stronger runner on the day. It was Mother's and our plans with my Mother-in-Law had changed in the week so I picked up a late entry, excuse number 1

We had had my Mother and some family round for a braai the night before, excuse number 2

Then... the weather, not the current weather, which was perfect for race morning, but the electric storm that had past in the night turning my adorable sleeping puppy into a nervous shaking wreck! Excuse number 3
Lord Peanut
While Chatting to Colin (A previous winner of this race) at the start he said he was going out easy as the 2nd half of the race wasn't easy and he wanted to save himself...

I didn't go out easy, I went for it from the gun (ok it was a siren) and was joined at the front by Colin, Pieter, and a guy I didn't know...

The first couple of km are easy running, not flat, because there is no such thing as a contour path on this mountian of ours. I tried to dictate the pace to gauge the others strengths. At 1.2km there is a very steep down hill and I went with the 'stranger' and was happy that he didn't have the free-wheel gear some guys do! Pieter also came with us leaving Colin a couple of meters behind.

Taking Colins words on board I didn't gun the climb that followed, but our pace (Pieter and I) was hard enough to see that the Stranger wasn't going to be there at the end! He did fight to get back to us on a down hill, but at 5.5km when we reached Heart Break Hill! Not not some little undulation like in Boston Marathon, but 105m climb over the next 700m...

Good, I was looking stronger than Pieter and he fell back and wait, was caught by Colin... I reached the top and knew that I had to kick along the top, I would rest on the down, down hill  was where we had first open a gap on Colin...

I got to the tar road (the one that leads to Rhodes Mem) but Colin was right here, and looking back I could now see the other 2 guys as well. Colin wasn't catching as I set a good pace up the hill, but he wasn't falling behind.

OK I was in trouble... I was working as hard as a could and the gap wasn't growning, and if he was running as to his plan, not going out to hard, saving himself for the 2nd half I wouldn't have an answer...
At about 15km we met up with the 10km route, on a hill Strava calls " Unrelenting Pain" also only 700m, but with 125m climb! I broke trying to weave through walking 10km runners and was forced to walk myself (will have to go back and run it) just too many 10km running in the way so I couldn't focus! Looking back didn't help, was Colin walking or on my shoulder? Over the top and push, now with 10km runners to pass to rocky downhill wasn't fun, but Colin would have the same challenges.

Still no sight as we passed the finish line on the upper paths, 6.5km to go, out and back. Next big hill, maybe 500m long with 90m climb, again I walked as I passed 10km runners, but then I looked back and the white shirt of Colin was there... no more walk breaks, it was race on!

3.5km to go at the turn around and I looked at the time, 12sec to Colin (maybe 20sec lead).

one hill to go, no make that 2... dam, I forgot, they've thrown in a 3rd as they want us to finish from the other side...
100m to go
My legs were sore, but with views like that it's alway worth it...

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

ARGUS 2016

Carrying this injury since the end of last year meant I wasn't spending hours on the mountain! I was instead spending hours on the bike... OK only weekend hours on the bike. (and by hours I really mean 2, with a couple (yes 2) of longer rides)

Barring the years I did Ironman this was the most cycling I had ever done 820km for the year! (my running is normally more than that! This year it was only 371km).

Now having done most of my training on my old mountain bike, my friend Mark lent me his old road bike! Don't let the word 'old' fool you it's made for speed and with the right engine it would fly... Was I going to be engine enough!

With a start time of 08h54 most of the fast boys (and girls) would be long gone, but I was hoping for a couple of guys in the group to help me round the peninsular!

I looked around my group as we lined up and a couple of the bikes screamed out speed, and a couple of the 'engines' looked young and fit... Everybody Say Whoopla and the count down started three, two, one and we set off:

Most the group was on their bikes with their lead foot cleated in, while I had my left foot in the toe clip I pushed off, one, two, three... I was fast enough now, so I hopped on the bike and sliding the other foot in I set off! I was in front, I was leading the Argus (ok only group 4G). 

I wanted a solid start, I didn't mind leading the peloton onto the elevated freeway!1km in and we were passing the the earlier groups, I look back to see how strong my group was and it was me and just one other guy!!! The riding was easy as we fly past 4F, they covered the whole road! (one would think a group of 75+ year olds and guys with over 21 tours would know how to ride!) I was still leading as we hit Hospital Bend! Now I have a fear of DEATH and why push hard down the early hills as there is still so much riding to do... suddenly I was 2nd and he was gone! I did catch he before the drop to Paradise, but my tow didn't last long! I really thought I would catch him on the first real climb of the day, but while the gap closed as we climbed passed a stream of slower riders he was still 15m ahead as I passed Dawn cheering for me on the side of the road.

I didn't gun it down onto the Blue Route, I was alone and knew I still had a lot of work ahead of me. a couple of guys took me on the down hill, but... I hunted them down as I powered into the deep south. I was still overtaking guys and no-one from behind had caught me. Tri-bars would really have helped as I tucked down into a time trial position. I wasn't grinding out the big gears I was spinning into the gentle breeze.

Along the Main Rd after Muizenberg I was alone... the guys I had just passed slowly disappeared behind me and the next guy in front was 200+m down the road! The Main road was quieter today that on my training rides!

It wasn't till I climbed out of Kalk Bay and headed to Fish Hoek that I was caught! But not by a group, by a man on a mission, so I joined... This was great, my speed jumped from 29km/h to 35km/h. He once asked me to take the lead which I did, but I was too slow for him, so after about a km he hit the front again (I think he then decided to drop me!) Till then most of the small groups we passed on the right, but now he started headed left and weaving through them. On the climb out of Simon's Town he lost me in a group and I couldn't get him back!

At the bottom of Smitswinkel A group caught me, but it was guys I had just passed so I road away from them on the climb.

It was nice to have that behind me and I really thought I would have a couple of guys to fly down with... but it wasn't till it flattened out that a guy came up from behind me and said: Let's go...

That lasted about 500m when the climb to Red Hill started and I left him... Now I don't remember if the couple of guys who passed me on the way down to Scarborough were catching me or just 'unlapping' themselves. 

I was no longer the power house of a ride that had start 2 hours earlier, I was a broken man and on the climb out of Misty Cliffs the couple of groups that caught me didn't have to work to hard to drop me on the climb.

With Chappies ahead of me I stopped to fill my water bottle (2 would have been enough if I had a group to ride with!) With little Chappies conquered I couldn't believe the speed a couple of guy fly down to Chappies, once on the climb I stopped been passed and started to weave through the battlefield that was Chapman's Peak!

Only Suikerbossie left, 2 bumps and the crowds to help you up... Now with Cape Town in the grips of the worst drought in years, I can't believe some guy (was tempted to use a different word here) had his garden hose on to water the road and a couple of hot riders! (hope the City fined him!)

Suikerbossie... Strava calls it 1.8km long with 125m climb, not the biggest climb I've ever done, but with 90+km into the race and over 3 hours in the saddle it was time to stand... I wasn't on the old mountain bike with 'granny gears' so my left over power would be needed to get the the coastal road home! 8:25 (Strava split) later I was heading down, I was cranking out the big gears... with the end in sight

No sprint finish, No heroics, just a little smile... That was a lot harder than I wanted it to be and I didn't have the time I thought I could ride! It was like Ironman 10+ years ago a Time Trial, No slipstreaming aloud! So I have to say I'm not upset with my time of 3 hours 41:48... 20th tour done

Friday, February 19, 2016


2015 didn't end the way I planned.  I was hoping to be strong and full of running,  I was hoping to find myself on the mountain every second day... but a foot injury after Winelands marathon put pay to that! 
Instead I found myself jogging round the block and putting in a couple of hours on the bike and at the physio! 
With half the world on leave I only saw a sports doctor in Jan.  But Jane (the Physio) had said if you have to run I would suggest you find a shoe with a little cushioning and some arch support to keep the injury at bay!

Talk about timing... Alex (from 5-fingers) asked me if I would like to test a pair of Altra's. No not a model of 5-fingers, but a real shoe! 

Now having run in 5-fingers, New Balance Minimus, and Vivo Barefoot shoes over the last number of years, Altra would fit the pattern. Or would they? 

They advertise the things that excite me in a running shoe:
Wide toe box, so as not to inhibit your foot with each step you take. 
Zero heel toe drop... ok make that heel ball of your foot toe drop.

With 3 models (ok 3 trail and 3 road) to choose from I popped down to the new running shop in Town (RUN) to check them out and try them on for size!

Now the Physio had said cushioning, so…

34mm of cushioning!
As I said: The Timing was perfect…

Having only put them on in the shop I can tell you this partnership is going to be an interesting one…

This shoe is radically different to what I've been running in:

Both zero drop, both 'wide' top box...
Now this is where is starts to get interesting:

Monday the 11th of Jan 2016... I sent the students off for a run and I popped onto the grass track for an easy 3km 13:31.
Tuesday the 12th of Jan 2016... Again I sent the students off and popped down to the track for an easy 3km, but Nolan joined me and... 11:37 isn't really that easy! (Was it the shoes? was it Nolan?)

Remember I was on the comeback trail and was only looking at running 3km a day, I'm now running a lot further and I'm still using them every day!

So what can I tell you about them:
They are light...OK lighter than you would think for a shoe like this!
They are well cushioned, I would go as far as to say they are soft, soft like walking on a bed!

But how do they run?
Before I talk about my running experience let me first tell you that this shoe was made with the idea of reducing the shock of pounding the pavments for mile after mile! Runners normally strike the ground with a heel strike or flat foot or forefoot. With this shoe being a zeo drop, it is aimed at the latter 2, (but if you feel you want to move to a zero drop shoe this is a good starting point)

OK so I've run around the block a couple of times... some blocks bigger than other and I now feel I can talk a bit about this shoe:

Last nights run of 10km was fine, I felt normal, in fact most of the time I wasn't really thinging about the Paradigms... This is a good thing! So while I've been running in these for long enough most of my runs have been alone and short, so I've spent the time thinking about every step I've taken!

So with my background in shoes that let you feel the ground, this is what was going though my simple mind as I set of my my early runs: Have I reach the ground yet, I'm still floating through the air, shouldn't I be pushing off the road to go forward? I'm sinking into the ground, can I run like this?

I'm not a big fan of ultra soft shoes I feel you sink into the ground and lose you power to push off (other people feel you bounce off and love it!) I found my heel would sink into the shoe and almost like walking on snow it was hard work to go forward! I've now solved this with an old heel raise of hard rubber. This wasn't for the heel raise, but to work like a snow shoe does! (and stop the sinking keep it soft!)

Now having run 'close' to the ground for years and being a trail runner, I love weaving down the single tracks like an F1 car through the chicane... Try taking a bus through those chicanes!!! I still feel like a bus through the chicanes as I take a corner, But while I'm not "The Stig" I will improve as I knock up the miles.

Last night I sent half the guys off into the forest to run, (that would normally be me!) While Jeannie D feels at home anywhere in 6 inch heels I would break an ankle or my neck if I ventured off the road...

While the rest of us hit the road... as I said earlier I didn't think about the shoe, I was pounding the pavement chatting to the guys (and girls)! I bet I could have kept running and running, maybe one day I'll run a marathon in them...

OK what about running fast? Now remember that there is fast and then there is fast... For some people 6min/km might be fast and then for others 3min/km might be fast! When I talk about fast I mean fast, The sub 3min/km stuff!!!
So have a look at the Silverman running fast... look at his foot and the way it bends at the toe!

 This is me out for an afternoon run... there's no bend to the toe, no power from the foot, you sort of roll off the 34mm stack to the toe! So while I don't think I'll be running any PB's in these shoes I don't believe they were made for that! They, as you get use to them, give you the feeling that you could just roll on forever...

Will I be rushing out to buy another pair? No, not of these double-decker busses, but ALTRA does have flatter (closer to the ground) models which I could see myself getting!

Monday, January 11, 2016


With 2016 in full swing I thought I should look back at the year that was 2015!

  • Bay to Bay 30km Road, Wasn't running well and hurt at the end. 2h03:21 (7th 40+)
  • Trail series 1 Tygerberg, didn't climb well but did run well over the 2nd half. (8th, 2nd 40+)
  • Red Hill 36km Road, Just a training run, but would have like energy to run down a couple of old men! 2h31:08 (4th 40+)
  • Trail series 2 Constantia, Struggle on the way out, it was hot, but finished strong. (7th, 2nd 40+)
  •  Trail series 3 Lebanon, head wasn't in the race. (11th, 3rd 40+)
  • XL trail Silvermine, ran hard and well till about 3km from the end when I needed to stretch out a bit of cramp, but finished well. (3rd, 2nd 40+)
  • Penisula Marathon Road, with last weeks XL trail race in my legs I didn't push for a good time but took it easy at the end. 2h57:48 (4th 40+)
  • Trail series 4 Oak Valley, enjoyed the race and ended up racing one of my athletes. (he out sprinted me.) (5th, 2nd 40+)
  •  Tygerberg 30 Road, starting to come right, but scared to push in the last 2km. 2h00:29 (2nd 40+)
  •  Oceans Trail, Didn't have the race I wanted! (9th, 2nd 40+)

  • JMC, ran out of energy after 3 hours last hour was hard work! (8th, 3rd 40+)
  • Slave Route Half Road, with JMC only a week ago I lost a bit on time in the last 5km 81:42 
  • HMC, had hoped to run better, but I can't really complain. (4th, 2nd 40+)
  • The Beast, new race... just had to run it. Cramped a bit after 5 hours and lost the lead guys. (3rd, 1st 40+)
  • That ended a big month!
  • Table Mt 16km, this my the 26th time I've run this race and wihout lots of hill training I was happy (3rd, 1st 40+)
  •  Bastille 25, Again I felt I could have had more at the end to run down the youngsters. (6th, 1st 40+)
  • HBTC, The legs gave up running in the 2nd half, but was lucky to hold to the end. (8th, 1st 40+)
  •  Pinelands 10km, No real speed. 36:47
  • John Korasie 30km starting to feel strong again. 2:04:51
  •  TMC, last minute decition to run needed a long run... a little longer than needed and the last couple of km I slowed. (5th, 2nd 40+)
  • 3 Vlei 10k, don't run a 10km race the day after a 44km trail race! 37:42
  • Marloth, stunning race, but was never running well and couple run the hill in the 2nd half (9th, 2nd 40+)
  •  La Carpa Goat Run, had fun out there! (1st!)
  • The Cape Leopard Trust Trail race, legs were heavy and I had to work hard. (1st!)
  • Ommiedraai 10km, legs heavy from yesterday's trail race! 37:30
  •  Landmarks Half, my 200th half. 82:02 (2nd 45+)
  • Winelands Marathon, a marathon is a long way without enough training... 2h58:18
  • Edgemead 10km, shouldn't have run this... 36:52
Sinces Winelands Marathon I've not really been running (just ticking over) trying to let my body recover from the year of hard running on tired sore legs...

I have no plans for 2016 as yet, but 2015 while not my greatest year, I had a couple of good results and while I didn't meet the standards I set for myself I can't be unhappy.

Thank you CONTEGO for getting me to the startline!

Monday, November 9, 2015


A month or so ago I saw this race advertised and the idea of running though the tunnel excited me...
Roll on to Saturday and I found myself on the start line chatting to Chantel about who our competition was... Not many trail races have big prises but the money on offer here had brought out the big guns. 
See those girls over there...
It was going to be a fast race with only about 2 the 20ish km on 'real' trail. I started fast but that didn't help as the top guys still pulled away. 2 of them 40+ guys... I hadn't seen Nicholas and hoped his new baby had kept him up all night. .. But no such luck for me he soon caught up.  

With 1km down we turned off the tar and headed up through the farms. Nic was never far ahead so I kept racing hoping he or one of the other two would crack and I could move into 3rd.
Smile for the camera
away we go...
We were now under the bridge that takes the cars to their tunnel. While the cars had a gentle climb we didn't... I closed the gap to 10m but as we reached the top he pulled ahead and entered the tunnel 30sec ahead of me.

I turned my headlamp on, but after 100m the tunnel has emergency lights so I turned it off... 
in the tunnel
It's not every day you get to run in a tunnel, let alone one about 4km long. .. With Nic 30sec ahead and the next runner 30sec behind I was very alone! It was quiet with only the sound of my feet. It was the longest 4km I've ever run... but there was light at the end of the tunnel! 

The eyes adjusted and I headed to the water table looking for the right turn, but the race turned left and I was caught off guard! Left took us down to the river and it should have been fun to head down the steep bank,  but I hit it away from the path and... the ground was loose and my foot gave way! 
If Chris had got there earlier he would have caught me in action!
I could have come off a lot worse!
I hit the ground hard and slid the next 2-3meters down... With nothing broken I got up covered in sand and blood!  Both knees and my right hand, but neither of those bothered me it was my hip that was sore. 
I stopped in the river to wash my hands before heading on. I had to walk this and was overtaken by the leading lady (a top roadie) who had been chasing me.
I needed the flat of the tunnel to get back into my running. This was easier going than the first crossing... it must have been the oncoming headlights of the 1000+ field that were still heading out. Or it could have been the fact that you climb 35m going through from the Paarl side!

I closed the gap catching Bulewa and passing her I set about chasing Nic who was atill just out of reach. The tunnel is downhill on the way back so it was no surprise that I was through quicker and if I was counting right Nic was still only 30 sec head! 
More trail a little steep single track to take us back down to the farms and the road to the finish.  
I couldn't run this my hip wasn't working and Damian who has been running well took me on this section and sped off. 
I tried to chase but couldn't run any faster. I watched as he caught Nic and the two of them raced to the end... Nic had lots of speed left in his legs to finish 8th and take 3th old man. With Damian between us I finished 10th and 4th old man. 
Stop the watch we're finished
Garmin told me I had run for 83:43 which I had but the 15.9km was closer to 20.5km as we lost a lot of signal in the tunnel. ..