Friday, September 27, 2013


I had no need to be nervous, scared, or even excited about this race... But I was, with 63 marathon under the belt and nothing riding on this race I don't know why I felt like a novice or some-one gunning for a time...

OK maybe I was a little worried due to the fact I had raced a 39km trail race the week before, and would the 4 hours on the mountain still be in my legs... Well yes of course it would be in my legs, but this marathon is flat and I am have got a couple of OK weeks of training under the belt.

I joined the crowds and pushed to the front (42.2km is far enough as it is), there was only seeding for 50 elite athletes! I looked around for my friends, but couldn't see any of them and ended up chatting to a Belgium guy. He was looking for the pacing flags... wanting a sub 3 I told him there wouldn't be any flags for that pace, but to hang on me... I wanted 88 for the first half, and then I would take it from there, he was in...

I didn't like the new start as we had trees to dodge on our way to the road, but without the stress of racing I was still in one piece as we hit the road. It didn't take long for a couple of other guys to join me... The early km were passing by without any trouble and after the stormy weather for the week (Snow on Table Mountain on Friday) the weather gods had lied on a perfect day!

We passed 10km in 41:19 and my wife had now joined us... No she wasn't running, she was on her bike having cycled from home to watch the race unfold. As much as I would love her to follow my race, she just waved and headed on to see how her other friends were doing. At about 12km she was back to let us know that the race behind us was going fine...

15km 62:19, I looked around and we were all still happy and I was feeling good, but for a marathon that is early days. That was really the end of our happy little bus... We lost a lady who had been running with us and then I noticed that half the guys were no longer there!!!

Half way in 88:16 was easy for me, but I think the 2 guys with me didn't like the idea of no rest. Dawn joined us again but didn't stay long, just long enough to ask if I was still OK... I was feeling great and with the near perfect weather I half wish I had been in shape to give it horns. 20-25 was our slowest 5km split 21:18. Dawn was now cycling with us and for about 500m we chatted about her plans for the rest of the race... No she had to head home soon as we were having people round for lunch and she still had a lot to do. One last time she sped off to see the lead ladies.

My running parnters were now starting to take strain, so I left them... But as I picked up the pace (from 4:15 to 4:00) my stomach spoke to me!!! After a 90sec pitstop I was back!!!

The running was easy and the km ticked by 30-35 19:50, only 7 km to go... ok I forgot about the .2!!! 28:48.

Finishing in 2h54:24 had been easy, last weeks race hadn't taken it out of my legs, but I bet if the route had had any hills I would be singing a different tune! And if I had set off at 4's from the gun I think my legs wouldn't have played ball...

Now with that behind me, it's time to look forward and start to race again, I want a fast half before the year is out, and if that comes easys I might give Winelands marathon a bit of a go...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


This weekend I was racing on my mountain, it was time for one of the biggest trail race in the country. It's crazy time!!! Yes the Table Mountain Challenge 2013 had rolled around, and after an easy week last week I was ready to Rock and Roll, or should that be Splash and Freeze... Mother Nature was visiting the Mother City and a Cold Front had rolled in!!!!!

At the start
Then Trevor counted us down...

Still Talking as I take an early lead

Don't believe every thing you see in pictures, it was perfect running weather and as much as I wanted to put the foot down and build an early lead I didn't want to blow and leave my body all over the Twelve Apostels on Leg 3.

Leg 1 is 9.5km 330m climb with most of it run on the gravel roads on the lower slopes of the face of the mountain. I took the lead from the gun. I was surprised at how easy it was to get away from the field as we set of into the light rain. I was happy with how the body felt and I think the taper week was working.

It was nice going and I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was chasing... I could see Bruce Almighty (Arnett) and Ryan Sandes. Ryan had started slow and had really only lost time to me taking of his jacket and gloves... Through Deer Park Trevor had changed to route just a bit to bring in a little single track...

Ryan still chasing me!!!
As much as I would have loved to have kept that lead it was down to 2 sec as we checked in at the end of leg 1...

Leg 2: 11.6km 370m climb. After I had checked in just below the Bolck House I headed off down the Contour path to Constantia Neck with Ryan right behind me... Now with youth on him side I was running to slowly for him and moved over to let him pass. I feel I could have kept up, but why kill yourself for a couple of km, it was still a long way to go and I had plans of running well to the end.

With a 15-20 sec lead I could only see him through the trees on a couple of the turns... Then we hit the boardwalks, smooth under foot an flattish, coming from a track and road back ground I thought about closing the gap, getting into my rhythm and flying... Ha Ha Ha... with all the rain they were as slipery as a bar of soap and add to that the turns and the tree you had to duck under, the gap grown!

So just how wet was it:
One of the river crossings
This wasn't the biggest crossing, and while I secretly hoped I would see Ryan hanging onto a tree down river (Sorry Rayn, but it was the only way I was going to beat you) I didn't... While it was scary for a couple of the smaller ladies nobody ended up being washed down into Kirstenbosch!!!

With over 300m of climb the contour path is all but flat with most of the climb being made up with the climb over the Aloes, and the Rooikat Ravine past Cecilia Waterfall. While I think I took these climbs well I was still thinking about the last leg and coming into the check point I heard Ryan was now about 5-6min ahead. I don't know what lead I had on 3rd, but I'm guessing a couple of minutes as I couldn't see any-one chasing down to the Neck.

Leg 3: 17.7km with 800m climb, and this one goes over the mountain. While the weather had started off looking exciting the clouds had lifted and the storm was on hold, best I get my bag checked for a rain jacket, cellphone, and some munchies to go with the space blanket. (don't worry we weren't heading into the thin air of space, the mountain isn't that high!)

Having run this leg and trained on the route I have a number of split times in my head for the different sections of the leg...
1st we head down on the gravel road into Orange Kloof to the fence 2.6km, then it's over the style and through the forest up to the contour which takes you to the turn up Llandudno Corner (3km). Back in 2005 this path is unused and a 2km fight through fynbos... This year it was great trail running and even with over 2 hours in the legs I was moving well.
The climb... up, across, up, up... around and then up... Up the river and to the fence, 1.6km, (call it a mile) but the scary thing about this mile is the 385m climb!!! The exposed rock and the rivers you climb.There was no sight of Ryan up front, but I could see the relay boys chasing, they had started 15min behind us.

Once on top it's a dash along the top to Kasteels, 5.9km, and if anyone evey tells you Table Mountain is flat, they are very wrong... The Twelve Apostils are anything but flat... Now while many a would be champion has crumbled and even taken a wrong turn that was unlikely to happen to Rayn as he powered to an easy victory... Me on the other hand still had a lot of running to do and now with 3 hours on the legs I could feel the 30km of road from last Sunday (Why did I let Roger talk me into that?). The teams started to pass me...

Bernard was first... Yes my teammates had a team and the win was going to be theirs. The Kid from HBTC was next and then Andrew. What was happing in the real race (sorry relay guys). Just keep moving Coach just keep moving. 47:03 to the turn OK it was to slow.

Kasteels, 1.4km long and no more climbing, this time you drop 390m to the pipe track... Now with the mountain still wet I took it easy so as not to fall and kill myself!!! 14:28...
3.3km of pipe track to go and most of that would be run at 5min/km it had been an epic trip around the mountain and I had held off the rest of the field to take 2nd and win the Old Mans Race!!!

Ryan had won by 20min, and if I want to beat him next year I will have to be 15 years younger and train twice as much...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I've got a couple of hard / big weeks behind me and now I think I need a break!!! Now that break has been planned and is part of the program... While most of the guy I coach are still training hard this week with Cape Town marathon only on the 22nd. I have TMC on this weekend. Already last week I was feeling it, well OK it wasn't the training getting to me to was my health as I caught a little bug, and, and, and...

I am also running Cape Town Marathon and since I was taking this week easy I thought I would put in a little 20km trail / mountain run on Saturday followed by a short flat easy run on Sunday!!!

Saturday was amazing without a breath of wind, and while I did ask a couple of friends to join me I ended up alone, They seem to think I would kill them, really now I don't have time to hide a body on the mountain!!!

I started of slowly as I headed up the road section I wasn't really in a rush, that was till I turned onto the single track and I thought I was running fast enough to take a crack at breaking an hour to Maclear's.

Top of the World (61min up)
I looked around and there wasn't a sole, I had the mountain to myself...
Low cloud/mist over the suburbs
Now it was onto Platteklip, then left to Valley of the gods / Echo Valley heading to Kasteels...

Love that view, will be running there in the evening in the summer...
I wasn't alone anymore, I bumped into Brian running his own loop, and across the valley I could see Mike and his group... I had in fact just decided to set chase after Mike (I didn't know it was him but guessed). I would have caught them, but I spent 5min chatting to Brian.

2h13 later and 20km with 1000m climb under the belt I was back at the car had heading home. Remember I had told you I wanted a short easy run on Sunday, well Roger had other ideas...

He's running Berlin at the end of the month and wanted a lost long run, so I ended up meeting him for 30km out to Simon's Town and back.

Hope my legs recover this week as Saturday's race is a biggy with 3 of us old men taking on the kids... over 37+km and enough climb to make Table Mountain seem a lot higher than it really is!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


After a long run the other week, the one I ran with Eddie and Bernard, Eddie asked me if I could give Bernard a lift to the race this last weekend. It was a 20km trail race out at Botriver and the last in a series that Bernard was leading and he needed to run in order to win. No problem!!!

I had a week of training to get through first, and as much as I wanted to race hard I had to still train as I had bigger races to focus on!!!

After a recovery run on Monday the program had a set of 1km reps on, but.... It was windy and raining and I could still feel the 50km I had clocked up on the weekend so I sent the boys off to train for their 10km race, if the coach talks they listen!!! And I headed into the forest for a little bit of trail, my big race is after all a trail race and I always need a bit more trail. My run wasn't all trail, I came back on the road and put in a couple of tempo km's to keep the speed up.

Tuesday was the start of the winter!!! OK winter started months ago, but on Tuesday the clod fronts started to roll in... It was wet on Wednesday and only Mark was out, he was hoping I wouldn't turn up so he could head home to find his warm bed! I said NO, can you hear that? The forest is calling...

OK the first river was a little full
This river is normally only half a meter wide! Mark didn't want to hold me up, so while he went flattish I headed up to get some real single track running in... or should that be river track running in?

The forest was quite and after leaving Mark I didn't see another sole as I headed up to Woodcutters:

Rivers were wild and crossing them was FUN
Woodcutters is heavily covered with trees so it was dark and taking pictures didn't really work. from there I headed up again onto the contour path, I though I should pop up there and check out the path, it does after all form part of my race in a couple of weeks!

I couldn't hang around as the night was closing in... and the water was still all around! me as I tacked the next level of the mountain!

Yes I had just crossed that!!!
The run had taken me a little longer than normal, and it was dark as I head the road for the last km to the club, but it had been well worth it.

After a couple of 400's on the road (track still water logged) Thursday evening, I was up in the rain at 05h00 for a Friday morning run, and yes it was cold, in fact the coldest morning for some time.

Now, while I was off to work, those trail runners who are luckier than me headed for the mountain!!!

Up Platterklip
Wish I was there!
That my friends is was the top of Table Mountain, and I was stuck at the office with a race to run the following day...

I was up early on Saturday to pick Bernard up and drive the 100+km to the start. We had to drive over the pass in rain so heavy that I had my wiper on double fast!!!

We were lucky to catch a break as we started the race!

I took the early lead
Blue sky, hadn't see that for days! Bernard soon joined me up front, and the 2 of us set about taking the field to pieces. The truth be told there were a couple of other races on the go that weekend and with the weather so bad the field wasn't to strong or big.

After a couple of flattish km on the farm lands we crossed the road and headed for the mountain!!!

That is would we crossed the road!
Once on the single tracks of the mountain Bernard turn up the pace and I fell back, we had a lead over 3rd, but I kept the effort up as it was magic up there! Even when the rain and wind returned from the snow covered peaks that we couldn't see because of the clouds.

I wish I had photos of the waterfall and some of the other views we had, but all I can show you is one of the river crossings...

Told you it was fun!
Bernard was about a minute ahead of me and with 3rd place now over 10 minutes back I didn't kill myself of the way in.

Now if I can find it I will include the picture of Bernard and I that appeared in the Sunday paper...