Monday, February 23, 2015


So the question is did I push it to the edge today?  Can I still push it to the edge. .. can I push the body all the way? 

When racing on the track you have to live on the edge, push yourself to the limit.  Running marathons is very different: it's about setting out at a good pace and winding it up till you finish or blow!  Or like me last week... setting out at an easy pace and hoping you can hold it to the end.

I didn't I fell to pieces at 34km and while I held on for a sub 3 it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Maybe the 33km trail race the week before had something to do with that. 

With the marathon out the way it was time to recover and get ready for the 4th race in the Cape Summer Trail Series. One week wasn't really enough time to shake the miles out of the legs! 

Oak Valley was a hive of activity when we got there at 06h30 just in time to see the guys in the 25km race heading out. 

The hour to our start didn't take long... Dawn set out for her run 15min before us so she would be out on the course to support! 

Tsungai (my 40+ competition) took off like a man possessed.  We let him go. The someone chased and the Bernie and Raydon followed. 

I was 5th with 4 other guys with me. Trails aren't all slow technical climbs some are flat smooth windy paths... the km's ticked by at road speeds and we passed Dawn at 3km before the first forest. 

through the forest
2.5km of single track later we popped out on the gravel road and Dawn was playing marshal! We crossed the road and started toclimb the single track through the grass meadow to the next forest there were only 3 of us left chasing the top 4 (and one was coming back to us). We chewed him up and spat him out on the hill. I was trying to break the 2 guys hanging with me… But, maybe I wasn’t good enough, or maybe I’m just wasn’t prepared to push hard enough!

I had done it one of them broke… before the next open section of trail which took us to another forest section and this was down over the river and up for the climb to the top again I pushed, but not hard enough to break the 18 year old as he only lost 5m to me and once the climb was over I could run away from him.

He wasn’t giving up and even though I opened the 5m gap again on the last hill, I again didn’t capitalize (or couldn’t, too old, injured and slow!) I really needed to be red lining it on the flat run in to the finish. Then with the finish in sight and a little downhill he made his move and was gone! I couldn’t chase I don’t have that turn of speed anymore, Well done Tim!

My team mate Tsungai had won with Raydon and Bernard (another team mate) a full minute behind, and us another 3 minutes down!

40+ guys...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Do you get nervous for a race?
Or are you unflappable?

I have a little of both in me...!

Now while I've been racing for over 30 years with something like 1000 races under the belt I know about the pre-race nerves, and I was feeling them on Wednesday before the race! OK maybe I wasn't nervous but a little excited, it would be my 6th race of the year, and the first long trail race. 3 hours of racing (my time form 2 years ago 3h02:48). While with the short trails I've raced I spend the whole time playing catchup and running in oxygen debt, this would be different!

By Friday I was relaxed and because of the early start I was packed and ready for the 04h15 alarm call!

Time to get ready
The start area was busy with people, but it didn't take long to get my number and find my way to the start line... Race on!

Are we ready...
Why do they start so fast? I was 10-15 place back in the first 20m of the race, but then things settled down...

One guy had bolted like he had been drinking jet fuel! but the rest of the field was in a long line with me at the back of the leading bunch. With all of 300m run I decided that 15 places back wasn't the place to be, so I, knowing what lay ahead, started passing people...

Soon it was only rocket man ahead and I had to pick up the pace to pass him before the real climbing started... It was race on with me shaking things up as I hit the front.

Nicholas covered my move as did Morne and Chad... The rest of the field also picked up the pace to stay in touch. The old body didn't feel to bad as we started the climb, I promise I didn't force the pace, but by 3km and the turn to Clovelly and Kalk Bay Peak the 4 of us were away. I was happy with how things were going and the plan was to keep the lead, keep setting the pace, keep control of the race till we crossed Ou Kaapse Weg. I like to lead, it lets me stretch my legs on the climbs and put other out of their comfort zone, I want then playing catch-up when I'm relaxing, I want to see the trail so I know where I hopping over what rocks and how the weave down the single tracks.

The morning views were amazing and I kept thinking about what pictures I would be trying to take if I was alone on a training run, I'll have to be back to watch the sun rise from the top of the mountain... back to the race! After Muizenberg Peak there is a flat stretch and the pace picked up 6:04, 4:37, 4:12... Then it was back to the rugged single tracks... and the car park leg 1 was finished!

Dawn was over Ou Kaapse Weg in the reserve walking the Puppies, who were terribly excited to see me. I had finally slowed and the other 3 had pushed on, I had told them to pick the pace up, so maybe I hadn't really slowed. Either way I let them go. By the time they hit the road they had 30sec on me and they were pushing hard. (I don't know why, maybe testing each other and jockeying for position). I was watching them as I climbed the road, Dawn drove past egging me on, but I didn't fall for it I'm not fit enough to keep the hammer down...

With the tar and the gravel road now behind us I looked at the climb and took a split to the boys time to see if I was going backwards or not! 35sec, no worries we were climbing again and I might just close the gab... it did come down, all the way to 10 sec, but then...

They had disappeared... it took me 2km before I would see them again and the gap was now 90sec and the 3 of them where still together! Right turn and up the gravel road then left onto the single track. Time to up the tempo and close the gap!
Nice Coach still only 90sec I'm back in the game, then over the hill I caught sight of them again, no wait it was only of Morne, he had fallen off the other 2, time to chase!!! I glanced at my watch and started the chase...

...but never got to where he had been the route turn right up to Noordhook Peak and he (and the front 2 guys) had stayed on the Amphitheatre Path cutting out 1.4km with 70m climb. (7:30 my guess with the help of Garmin Connect, will get out and run it time to check).

On with my race, I was now in the front and it was up to me to just not be caught from behind, I had no idea as the what the others were doing, I only found out what they had done later. Before I headed down I looked back to see if I was now the target of the 2nd placed runner, I saw nobody. So instead of tearing down the mountain I controlled my pace till I hit the single track, which started easy before turning into more of a cliff face!

As always I was pleased to have that behind me, and now with only about 2km of single track left before I would cross the road and head down to the finish. I was getting tired 2 and a half hour of hard running will do that to you, and a lot of it I had been alone just pushing myself.

Dawn and the Puppies were there to support me as I headed through the car park and off on the last leg of this race. Lucky for us it's only about 5km and mostly down hill... It wasn't all plain sailing as my left leg decided to have a little cramp! It wasn't to bad and a few seconds of walking and a little stretch and I could run home, finishing in 2h59:04.

I ended up 4th over the line, but.... It was a difficult call and not mine to make, but I was involved in explaining what happened and how I saw the race! I could have lodged an official complaint and then waited for the reports form the official checking numbers up at Noordhook Peak, but why!!! I would never have caught Nicholas or Chad... Morne on the other hand was off the pace and only 5-6 min ahead and wasn't running strong at the end...

They gave me 3rd and 2nd 40+ (Chad was 1st 40+) Morne didn't loss out as he was 2nd 20-39...

Chad and I fighting over the Bubbly

Garmin Connect
So we climbed a bit

Monday, February 2, 2015


Wednesday night I lined up for my 40th Trail Series race, and while things on the ground have change since 2008 it's still good to get out there and put your body on the line.. OK not everybody there is running in the red line but up front the "Kids" are turning on the afterburners!

It's had work racing these short races, right from the gun you have to go or get left behind... 100m down the track I'm out of breath and ready to blow! The lead group has opened a gap, I'm not chasing them I'm only chasing the 2nd group. I feel I can beat them all but I'm a long way off my best (20 years) never the less I'm not giving up!

The mad pace has slowed (or have my lungs just caught up? ) so as we climb the green belt to Cecelia Forest I take a few places but want more. I don't know the history of these guys but it's not about history it's about today and my legs seem to be working, the climb in Cecelia is as steep as it gets.  I pass a couple more guys and reach the gravel road still running! 1.5km -2km of climb ahead and a pack of hungry wolves behind!

Yes I turn the corner without getting caught... I can see Tsungai miles ahead and Bernard's out of sight leading the way. (My Contego Team Mates) The legs are turning over at a rate of knots but one, two, three, four people pass me before we leave the forest!

Looking to overtake!

Make that three as I threw caution to the wind on a technical section. .. but he won't drop. I close the door on him a number of times and lead him into the green belt. Like 2 F1 drivers we weaved through the green belt... I was pushing too hard and had to let him pass... with my foot off the peddle and only 2.5km to go I didn't even fight to keep my place to keep my place letting the next guy pass.

But once over a tricky river crossing, Dawn and the Jacks were there to cheer me on, the legs came to life. I was running again and hunting in my own green belt. (We do walk the Jacks here most weekends) I don't know where the energy came from but I pulled back one place, then another. .. was a third possible?


I was running fast but could I hold them off I had 3 guys chasing hard... dam why was he running so fast... I need to pick it up... I couldn't and with 30m to go I was passed..

The Start of Race 3

Sunday was race 3 in the Trail Series and while I ran the first half well I couldn't take the down hill single tracks like an F1 driver so lost a couple of places for my worst finish of the series!  Hope to be back for race number 4...