Posted by Pall Catt in Events, Post Race Review, Running, Trails on June 27, 2017
Written by Reynardt Deminey.
There I was, 7h00 on an icy Sunday morning waiting for the start of the Platinum Trail Run which is an annual trail run held at the ATKV Buffelspoort resort in North West. I was filled with excitement, but with it also trepidation, in part due to the fact that I have never run a trail run this long in my life before and, also, knowing that there would be some climbing to do throughout the race. To be honest, taking my frame up climbs is hard work, so climbing scares me…..a lot.
Just the week before I had done the 21km run at Red Barn and I really felt the tiredness in my legs from about 13km. Now I was going to do 24km with more than double the climbing of the previous week, so any faith in the thought that I would have a comfortable race went out the window on my way to Buffelspoort that morning.
The race started punctually at 7h30 and we were off. The first kilometre or so meanders through the resort leading you to the trail. I planned on taking it real easy and walking all the uphills because, save for the Red Barn race the week before, the longest run I did in training was 13km. Going slow and easy was therefore the key to having an enjoyable race.
Knowing that I would probably be the slowest of the pack, I took it easy through the resort not worrying about the rest of the runners getting away from me. The first part of the run went by smoothly and was fairly easy with the first real climb starting at about 4,5km. This climb is fairly technical and is about 1km long, but, with the beauty of the surroundings it went by far quicker and less painful than I thought it would. I still felt good after it was done, but I knew that the real big climb lay ahead at about 7,5km.
Fairly level singletrack which provides excellent running leads up to the big climb which starts at approximately 7,5km where the 12km group breaks away from the 24km route. This is a fairly steep climb on a rutted jeep track to the top of the mountain. I knew that if I survived this hill, the remainder of the race from just past the 10km mark would be mostly easy running back to the resort.
I hiked up the climb with determination and felt good the whole way up. When I reach the topped I was surprised that I still felt that good which got me thinking that maybe the fear of the climb was worse than the climb itself. Maybe it was the spectacular view from the top of the mountain that washed away any pain and discomfort that I had to feel……I don’t know.
After running on the mountains for a while we started with the steep descent towards the Buffelspoort dam and here I picked the pace up a bit, to such an extent that I caught up with another runner at the second last water table at about 16km. After this water table you descend further through a fruit plantation towards the shore of the dam and then run a few kilometres along the shore.
I once again caught up to the runner in front and we started chatting which made the final few kilometres feel like a breeze. At about 3 kilometres from the finish we reached the dam wall which was simply beautiful and I still felt strong so I soldiered on to the finish. About two kilometres from the finish is a short steep climb before descending into the resort and I could feel that that climb took it out of me, but I made to the finish feeling fairly good and motivated for the my next race.
I can really recommend this race to anybody wanting to do a longer trail run close to Gauteng. There are also 8km and 12km options available for those of us that do not want to do longer distances. The entry fee is also reasonable and you get a nice running shirt as well. So all in all, the organization is good, the trails are beautiful, the views are spectacular and I will definitely enter this race again.