Posted by Estie Van Heerden in News, Running, Trails on July 29, 2015
All images courtesy Margie Asprey and team
It has been almost 10days since we lost our rabbit running legs coming down the mountain at Ingwe Tented camp. Rather late than never, we give you our post race review of this great run.
“Do you really think we’ll go all the way up that mountain?!” This was the first comment I heard as I got out the car in the at Ingwe Tented Camp on a crisp sunday morning. I quickly sized up the mountain and terrain around me. This was not going to be an easy trot over an anthill! Familiar faces and over 200 trail friends quickly filled the registration area. The team from My Road less Traveled and a very energetic little Jack Russel welcomed trail runners. RaceTime chips, goody bags were handed to all athlete’s and some had time for a last warm coffee.
As promised, pint size Nina, delivered a detailed racebriefing. No fuss, just a little giggle when she mentioned words like hill or mountain. But most of us were too cold and still fast asleep on our feet to even notice!
From the start of the race familiar runners sprinted their way to the front. Tactic obviously to increase a significant gap before we started our incline up the mountain. But also dangerous as a large part of our front group were too busy racing and missed a blue ribbon marker which turned the rest of the field to the right. We eventually realised our fault when we tried to run up the mountain via the border fence, with not much success. First rule of trail running forgotten. If you don’t spot a marker within 100m, turn around, go back and find your path again. As we manage to make our way back to the route we spotted a heard of beautiful Eland and Giraffe. The views where spectacular. The climbing tough. Everyone very quiet and focussed to get to the top with careful footing.
Once we reached the plato the route opened up in a beautiful field with flowing grass and technical rocky sections. Knowing Nina’s love for this terrain I decided to ease into an easy stride and tried to focus on staying on the route and not to twist an ankle. Easier said than done. The beauty of this race, and the others Nina has offered us, is the fact that it’s a true trail run. No jeep track and easy paths where you don’t have to look up and even notice where you are. In my books those are more a type of cross country running. The Rabbit Trail Series gives us the opportunity to focus on some of our weaknesses. Mountain running, veld trotting, spotting markers and taking note of your surroundings being almost everyone’s biggest, including mine.
As we hit the second water point, vultures started circling low and we reached a bit of tarred road which offered a welcome break in concentration. Again, a great opportunity to practice some cadence and speed running. Although it left most of us with jelly-legs later in the race. But just before we could really get the pace going we swerved to the right and climbed back towards the mountain. Some lovely forest running followed and we started a gradual decent through bushy vegetation onto cattle paths. This felt like maze running and had us bending and swerving as we speeded back to the finish. Luckily no hilly surprise before we reached the finish line!
At the finish each runners received a beautifully crafted Captain Carrot trophy, a MatsiMela fizz ball and EnerB gel. Nina made a point of talking to every runner that crossed the line, which just showed her passion for trail running. Every elite runner competing for podium had to carry a tracking device so that organizers could see the race in progress and to see which athletes ran the correct route. This eliminated any route disputes and again a nice touch from race organizers to ensure that we receive correct and true results.
Prize giving was a blast and winning athletes received cash prizes on site, which is always a great gesture from organizers. In the end Nicolene Griffioen were the only elite lady to run the correct route and won the ladies race in a super fast 1:53.59. 2nd position was shared by Thakalani Ndandani and Nicky Booyens, and 3rd went to Martie Calldo. In the mens race Eddie Sesipi won with 1.49.10, with Mazu Ndandani in 2nd and Pedro Calderon in 3rd. In a fast 8km race the young twin Erasmus pair dominated with Henco in 1st with 40.07 and Janco 2nd. 3rd spot got taken up by Donavan Austin. In the ladies race Elzani Smith won in 47.25, with Brenda Taylor 2nd and Tinki Malan in 3rd.
The highlight of the Rabbit Series are the spot prizes. Sponsors are generous and no one left empty handed. One very lucky runner even walked away with a brand new Tom Tom watch! Everyone I talked to, agreed that it was a difficult race but a great route. We all got our dose of adventure, filled our lungs with some fresh mountain air and even had the opportunity to spot some game and baby Giraffe. For me it was a welcome break away from Triathlon preparations and left me recharged for another fast paced working week ahead.
As a new feature to her races, Nina revealed some inside info and training tips for the next race, Scrub Hare, on social media. These will help runners with their preparations as Scrub Hare on 27 August a faster but still technical race. But im sure there will be a surprise hill waiting for us!
This will also be a great race for those of you who have finished a few park runs and feel it’s time to push your boundaries with a proper trail run. Enter here, bring your friends along for an adventure filled day in nature. Post race sense of achievement and satisfaction (nothing like a cold one) guaranteed. See you all at Scrub Hare and happy running.