I didn't start like I do in most races, I let the rabbits go as we left the harbour. After the mad dash across the tar and out the gate the madness settles down with a short cut up a sand dune! I was happy walking in the middle of the field (ok I was still near the front).
|On the start line|
Back on the road and up to the entrance of the Karbonkelberg. I don't know how it happened but I climbed into 2nd place behind Jarryd who was only running leg one. I didn't chase him but just ran at my own pace slowly opening a gap on the chasing field. I clipped my card at the top and headed down with the rest of the field still headed up. I don’t do downs like I did 20 years ago, I now have a fair of killing myself. Jarryd was gone and while I hoped the rest of the field would never catch me I know that was only a dream. Once over southern peak it started Simon was first then Andrew, AJ, Dom and Lloyd followed (oh to be young again).
Then, Martin, Jan and another Simon caught me, but the worst of it was over and I stayed with them till the dunes before dropping them as we climbed through Sol’s place.
I was feeling relaxed and in a good place as I crossed Suikerbossie and climb to check point one.
|End of leg one|
While I wasn’t really racing anyone but the clock it was good to be at the front of the field. I left the check point and rounded the restaurant only to see the guys up ahead on me tackling the first climb on leg 2. I was careful not to set chase and took it easy hoping that my strength would close the gap… it did, but the relay guy I was now running/walking with was pushing hard with only one leg to run, he left me on the first flat bit. With the really climb ahead of us I closed and passed him. Dom was next, but we were now at the top of the first section and he could keep with me on the climb (scramble). I let him pass as we rounded the corner. I find you run best if you can run at your pass so I let him go… I caught up again at the waterfall and climbed past him and then caught Simon and was on my own as I reached the top.
With 1h45 of running under the belt we still had a long way to go and I wasn’t hanging around. There was no sign of Andrew or AJ on the top they must have been flying. I wasn’t killing myself as was careful not to fly up the little climbs on the Back Table. Simon and Dom were catching me again and then after one of the bigger climb I had to step aside and let them pass… Back on the trail I set chase not wanting to lose sight of them, but they were gone! I hoped they had taken a wrong turn… but while I slowed they turned up the pace. The 2nd Simon also caught me and to two of us ran together for a bit then I slowed again as he took off! I didn’t know what was happening to me, but I now have an idea:
Every time I was overtaken and every time I overtook somebody they put a brick in my pack!
Boy Oh Boy I was happy to see the turn to the dams and while I wasn’t running fast on the flat road it was nice to see that I had a little rhythm left and I could run… but as I headed to Nursery I could hear ‘them’ all laughing at my carrying that heavy pack! I hadn’t been on Smuts track for long when I felt I was been followed. A Girl! This would be a first for my trail running career… I tried to fight her off, but… she was done, and while I hoped I could hit the road and catch her That didn’t happen, she was gone! Lucky for me she was only running leg 2 for a relay team so no worries!
|Last stairs before the Nek|
Dawn was at the Nek with my children and all she could say was: why are you so slow! I checked in and headed back up the way I had come. I stopped running to walk with Dawn for a bit and tell her that I was struggling and this last leg was going to be hard work. Then the next team lady caught me, so I left my wife I set off after this young lady, and the 2 of us went well together with her running strong on the hill and me hanging on for dear life, but the km’s were ticking by… Downhill I was fine and pushed the pace till the Turn onto Rooikat. She kept jogging looking back at me to check she was going the correct way while I walked, and walked till I reached the stairs. One at a time I pulled myself up them, Martin caught and passed me also not having a good day. I had tried eating more, I had tried drinking more, next was a quick shower in one of the waterfalls, it felt good, and I want to run again, that only lasted for a few seconds!
|Selfie at the one of the waterfalls|
Then it happened…
Kerry-Ann caught me on the last climb of Rooikat, so after letting her pass I tried to keep up, but stairs and downhill when your eyes are floating in lactic acid… I wasn’t very fast and she, like a fairy, danced off into the distance! I needed flat road and road downhill and when they came I ran. It took for what seemed like an eternity but I was running down to the Nek again. I checked in, grabbed a few glugs of beer from Mike who was supporting (that went down a treat). And headed off to the finish, the finish, the finish. It was right there, but I had a little loop on Vlakkenberg to do!
Oh Dear, it was hard, it was like hiking with a 20-30kg pack on, so you would take a step or 2 and then wait for your strength to return, this was and Everest summit attempt and I was losing. While I had only lost 5-8min off the time I was hoping for on leg 2 I was 20+ minutes down on leg 3 so that turn down was great and hay I could run, it was downhill.
|running the downhills|
4h55:51 and 38km with 2500m climb I had finished 8th (7th male and first old man)
Hard day at the office!