As I become a more advanced runner, the distances and number of long runs keep increasing. This means I get to see more places, and more nature 🙂 This past Satuday I was looking for a good 30km route to do. I came across the Hedianga trail in Pretoria East. I grabbed a friend and we decided to do the 15km loop twice. The venue is really easy to find and super close to the city. Not knowing much about the route, we started off at a decent pace and head down the 15km path.
The routes are all well marked, and you’ll a small portion of the path with mountain bikers. The route begans with a really easy jeep track, slowly undulating and you get some great cover from tall trees. A pretty fantastic start to a Saturday run.
The first thing you notice about this route is how much it loops. The path is always winding, and soon the vertical ascents and descents start. While running along the path I quickly lost a sense of spacial awareness. The amount of winding and back and forth that this path offers is pretty confusing, leading you to believe for some time that you are a labyrinth of some sort. It definitely makes for a different run.
At around kilometer eleven the easy going run becomes markedly more difficult. The small inclines and declines become bigger and happen more often. The route begins to wind more and more, and soon your body starts to take some hits. It was around this time that I found out the route we were on was the same route for an event called “The Beast”. It is an apt name, this route will break you.
We finished the first lap of 15 still feeling pretty solid. The next 11km went by without that much trouble, and when we hit the last 4km death march we at least knew what to expect. While you are running this though, knowing that the route is so difficult doesn’t offer that much respite. This route is incredibly tough. Georgina, my running partner for this route, mentioned how she found this route more difficult than the Two Oceans which she had recently completed.
When you push your body passed a certain point, the mind starts to play tricks on you. We kept forcing ourselves along, hoping the next hill was the last and would lead to the jeep track of freedom. This carried on for a good 30 minutes. It honestly felt like purgatory.
When we finally reached the jeep track, there was a massive sigh of relief. It’s runs like this that test you and helped you to increase your mental and physical strength. This 30km run is not to be understimated. If you are looking for some incredibly solid training, give the Double Beast a go.