Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I know I was talking about retirement but it's not retirement that I need, just a rest and a visit to a Physio... Yes I have been running these last months with a broken body and it is crying out for repairs!

So after my run up to the mast I popped into the local physio to have my body beaten back into shape. Now you must know that I was born in the 60's ('69) and grew up in the 70's & 80's now, back then it was all:


Now there are times when this philosophy works, but with a torn/strained muscle... Not a good idea... as pain normally means the muscle is put under strain and could be tearing again!!! I don't know how much rest I need, but I've got 3 weeks before my next race so let's see if I can get this fixed...

But before my 3 weeks starts I have a taper week and a little 26km race... I promised the physio I would run slowly and I did... (over 8:00 min/km)

With a week of easy and doing the couple of exercises I was given I was ready to race (slowly) OK we didn't start that slowly with the first 3km under 5min/km but the running was easy mostly on the gravel road below the mountain... Then, yes we went up!!! I was still mixing it with the kids, but I didn't have my climbing legs with me as we climbed to the saddle...

In the saddle
From there we turned left and climbed the West Peak (yes climbed). With 6.5km done (52:30) I was at the top 5min off my fastest time up and 1 min off 2nd pace, couldn't see Bernie in the front. While I was moving a lot better that a couple of weeks earlier at JMC I was still scrambling down like a pregnant woman! (no offence to pregnant woman, but I was being careful and going slowly). I lost 1, maybe 2 place before we started up to the saddle again:

watching my every step!
This time we turned right and headed up to conquor The Dome.

it's gets a little steep at this point!
This was an out and back section and it was amazing to see Duncan (he had taken Bernie who's ankel didn't let him bounce up and down the mountain) hopped down the mountain. (OH to have young legs!)

The views up there are amazing, but there was no time to take them in as...

Katya was kicking butt in the Ladies!
It wasn't only the ladies chasing, the old men were also on their way up. The 2 guys I had been holding onto on the way up were running away from me on the down. Okay running isn't really the right word as I was really sliding down on my ass!! One of the old men, Derrick,  took a tumble and after cartwheeling was able to get up and keep running! Last year and the year before some-one had been airlifted off the mountain after a tumble!

On my second West Peak ascent I run into one of the rocks I had run into on the first loop, you think you would learn!!!

The second loop was great as while I was been caught buy a couple of the Kids I was catching guys running the shorter 15km loop.

With over 3 hours of running under the belt I was happy to still have a little running in the legs!  I really thought a couple more guys would run me down,  but it was me who ended up catching a couple of the guys who had hopped past me on the vertical rocky decent...

Race done 3h32 for the 26ish km  (over 2000m climb) Now it's time to rest, and listen to the physio!!! It's 3 week to my next race and being only 20+km I should be fine with 3 weeks rest!!!
Perfect morning on the mountain!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


4 May 2014, it was early Sunday morning with the threat of rain as drove out to Stellenbosch and through to Jonkershoek for the 36+km Mountain Challenge. I knew I was up for the Challenge, but was I up for a race!!!

We ran over that!

With the clouds heavy on the mountain we set off down the gravel road with Bernard setting the early pace. I found myself in the chase pack with 3 youngsters and 2 other old men... The race was on!  I had a great plan and round one was to back off and be running well at the end.

On the start line with Bernard

I let them go on the last 'flat' of the gravel road as they sped up but I found myself closing the gap on the climb. I was feeling great and full of running. We were now on the single track and the guys were flying... Easy does it Coach we will run them down in the 2nd half... Andrew came by in his 5 Fingers, mad I tell you my New Balance 1010's were great for grip and protection!.

Back to the race, and with about 12km gone I had taken one of the kids and it was time to venture into the clouds!!! The climb is only about 2.2km long with 500m climb, now the make things exciting the visibility was dropping with ever meter you climbed. The Kid didn't come with me and it wasn't long before I could see Derrick (a gorilla in the mist!) I past him and set about hunting down the next guy... But I couldn't see anybody! I don't think they were miles ahead, they were just out of sight.

Down load from Garmin

The top of the mountain is anything but flat and we had a couple more tops to reach. I wasn't tired and my legs were sore, they had just stopped working!!! So instead of flying along the flatter bits like the years of old, I run along like an old man. Derrick was running again and caught up again, I let him go knowing that I would catch him on the next climb... (OK I didn't) I was still climbing like a goat, but I could run down hill, and with most of the remaining 17km down hill I was in trouble!

I struggle down to the contour and thought I would pick up the running then, but that didn't happen, all the time guys were catching me. We had now dropped out of the rain and wind. Did I tell you it was like an Arctic storm up there? Well the wind was so strong I had to take off my hat at times! Back to the contour, and while it looked like I was out for a Sunday jog (I hate that word). The short route joined us and they were also passing me at will...

While it was lovely on the mountain enough is enough and I was ready to sit down and call it a day bring on the end. 4 hours 16 min later I was still running (not walking) or should I say jogging as I crossed the finish line!!! I had lost up to 45min in the 2nd half...

Are my days of racing over, is it time to put this old Goat out to pasture?

Now it's the middle of the year and I have lots of races still to run, they have been ended and I have a sponsor to make happy, so one week later I was back in my CONTEGO gear lining up for another Mountain race!!!

The Mast Challenge... 10km 800+m climb, a simply race up. Just how you get down is your problem!

Just Up

Big Steve, and some Kid took off at the start, so AJ, Craig and myself set off after them... AJ soon joined the guys at the front leaving Craig and I too our own battle. We started together till about 3.5km when there is a flattish bit and his leg speed took him clear of me... (the boy is really quick 3:57 for 1500m)

I pushed on up the Monster Hill...

Only half way
Got away from him
Up into darkness

After leaving the Monster behind I saw 'the kid' who had gone to fast and was paying big time...

The 2nd half of the race is tar and through the mist I took a split to Craig and called it 35 sec, but 5km and 400m climb is a long way... He disappeared as we climb higher into the clouds, the cap wasn't coming down I wasn't going to catch him!

Then I rounded a corner and saw Big Steve...(caught him) and I was now closing in on Craig, The road was running out, I needed another km of climbing to catch him, I had worked my way into 3rd (1st 40+) but was still 10sec off 2nd... AJ, well he had miles on us!!!

Fighting to the end
Time to rest before heading down

Steve made it up
After a run down, which in my case turned out to be an adventure on it's own... But I've said enough for one day...

Top 3

Friday, May 2, 2014


With the training behind us, Easter was upon us... Easter in Cape Town is Oceans weekend, and if you run there is something for your:
  • First up is the 56km tour of the peninsula, over the years I've found myself on the start line 11 times, but as the years have ticked by the race has laughed at me, so I don't line up anymore!
  • Then about 17 years ago they decided to have a half marathon as well... With 16 000 people on that start line there was no way I was going to be lining up for that medal.
  • 5 years ago a trail run was introduced and I was back running Oceans, 23.4km of trail is more my thing now a days... (if that scares you there is a 10km trail as well)
  • Oh that isn't all, there are a number of fun runs and even a nappy dash of 56m for those younger than me!!!
I popped into the expo to collect my number on Wednesday...

Only one picture of the expo
 Now since I work over the road from the expo I was back on Thursday to meet friends as they registered.

Friday was race day for us trail runners and at first light we headed to UCT for the start of a little run on the mountain...
The short trail set off first, 400 of them and after 500m they turned off our route, so the trail was almost empty at 07h30 when the gun set us off and like the years before I took the lead... I wanted to see who could run and up the first hill I was joined by 4 guys with the rest of the field left lying in our wake... NO, they were right behind me as we climbed to Rhodes Mem and then left the tar, 1st km down.

The front four raced for the single track looking for position, the race up front was on, I was now left in no-mans land as I opened a little gap. Not wanting to be caught I opened my legs as I reached the gravel road, this took me back into the lead pack and the 5 of us now had a lead. I had made sure of that...

The next section of the race turned up Heart Break Hill (don't think Boston Marathon, think the type of hill your granny gear on your mnt bike can't even get you up!) Lucky for us we turned right Kane, Thabang then Mahlangu and Ben with me breathing hard...

Again the trail eased and the front boys took off, Kane and Thabang, gone... Ben chased Mahlangu a bit, but he wasn't up for the chalenge and was dropped. With Ben now in my sights we turned up the side of Devil's Peak. With all that hard running done I didn't have great climbing legs and was slow in catching Ben, but since the climb was over 1km long I crossed Tafelberg Road before him and set the pace around the mountain. I had planned on catching Mahlangu and dropping Ben...

OK those plans didn't work and Ben stuck to me as I chased hard, but not fast enough to make any difference. Running single tracks at that speed (OK we weren't really running fast) you can't really look back to see who's following or you will hit the ground in a bad way. The contour ended with Ben still hanging on and Mahlangu gone! The next km was up to the sadle and a 170m climb, since this climb had some 'power walking' sections I was able to look back a bit and see Christian chasing hard about 1:15 back (could have been as much at 1:30 at the top). The sadle isn't very big, so within a 100m or so it's time to start down... This was not good, and while I opened 5m on Ben, Christian must have closed 30+ sec on us, (He's young and fearless.)

Now we follow the top contour back around Devil's Peak. Half way round the mountain we dropped to a lower contour and Christian closed again (Oh to be 20 years younger!)

Around Devil's Peak
I was still running hard worried about being caught from behind, I knew he was coming, and I wanted to get past the next down hill before he caught us... We had to if we wanted to stay ahead...

Ben and I starting the decent...
No sooner had we started then Christian passed us, he thought it was a tar road and didn't even slow... passed the Block House he had already opened a minute and there was another 'technical' section to come! we didn't see him again!!!

I hoped his legs was give up and he would come back to us, but as we (Ben was still in tow) climbed 'Bastard Hill' and there was no sight I knew he had us beat... Now how was I too beat Ben?

It looked like that hope was gone as Ben made his move to 'Woodcutters' but I closed the gap and passed him again it was going to be cat and mouse to the end. With the race nearing it's end I saw Dawn in the forest supporting us, not for to go, Ben was back in the lead...

With 50m of gravel before the last single track out of the forest I passed him again then broke him on the down hill the Christian had broken us... Now to hang on for the last km!!!

On the grass to the finish
5th place was mine, and along with that came 1st old man... the route was just over 1km longer than last year, not enough to explain away the almost 10min I had lost the last years time, so it hadn't been a fast run, but I had enjoyed it.

The weekend was far from over with the 21.1 and the the 56km Ultra to be run on the Saturday...

This time I was on the side cheering the masses on. First stop was the 6km mark of the half, WOW 16000 people came flying by and since it was still mostly dark I didn't get to see every one. From there we (My lovely wife Dawn was with me) head to Kirstenbosch and the 16km mark. After watch the front of the field fly by, OK we stayed to see the field till the guys who would finish in under 1h50. Then it was off to the 29km mark in the 56km race to watch the leader come through. Again we didn't get to see all our friends pass, but with the leaders through the marathon mark it was time to catch them at the 49km. Again we hopped in the car headed to our next watching point.

This time it was for keeps...

One by one the tired bodies came passed...

running a couple of 100m with Ian
I clocked 17km running up and down the road supporting friend, and that isn't counting the walking I did with some of the guys who were broken... I like to think my few words helped a couple of them get their medals...

My medla from the trail
That was me weekend...