On the 14th of January 2015, the first of four races in the popular short course trail running series, the Spur Cape Summer Trail Series, took place. A total of 398 eager runners took on the 12.2km long course and 538 braved the not-too-short 8.4km short course. Missed it? No problem...read on and live the experience through your mind's eye!
Held at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, the start/finish stood out clearly as a colourful hive of activity among the burnt yellow grass of the field at the foot of the hill (MOUNTAIN!) we were to run up. Having arrived way too early due to a general fear of afternoon traffic out of Cape Town and having forgotten that it was school holidays and subsequently the traffic was non-existent, we settled into a lovely patch of grass under some trees and prepared to take a good chill for the next 3 hours until the 19:00 start time.
No time for boredom, though, as WildRunner was at their usual top form, having organised for munchie-mobiles in the form of the "Rolling Olive" as well as some amazing coffee. As always, the ever-entertaining Sean Falconer was present to chat to the crowd and interview the awkward ones. The presence of Adidas was also amazing, with representatives offering Adidas shoes to runners to test during the race and provide feedback on the shoe's performance. Smart folks!
Having been thoroughly entertained and fed, the long course runners set off at 19:00, followed by the short-coursers at 19:30. Straight off and up Tygerberg Hill! This race does not play around with flats to warm you up. No, up you go, straight up. It's awesome. It's solid. It hurts a little bit. But it's a hill that encourages...you KNOW you will make it and when you do, a spectacular view awaits.
Once on top of the hill, runners were given a brief respite with a quick downhill to the saddle, followed by another (less punishing) climb towards the mast on the peak of the hill. All jeep track so far and bunching was kept to a bare minimum (although the staggered starting times also helped immensely with this), which was wonderful to see.
Once past the mast, the long course runners veered off to add another climbing loop to their run (a total of 627m of climbing was done on the long course) while the short course runners headed straight down (a total of 465m of climbing was done on the short course) along a meticulous single track that looked out over Table Mountain. The view was perfectly timed, as the sun was setting and the haze of the blistering day provided the perfect backdrop to the home stretch of the run.
Breaking out their headlamps (thoughtfully recommended by the race website), the runners formed a string of light along the hill, which served as beautiful-view-of-the-day no.2. Bombing down the last section of the hill, the finish line was in sight; some cool BOS Ice Tea waiting patiently. Finished! What a race. Looking back at the yellow hill behind the finish line, it is hard to believe that such a spectacular view and race could come from such a drab-looking hill in the middle of the 'burbs. Never judge a hill by it's colour, I guess?
Long course men's:
1) 00:57:29 Bernard Rukadza
2) 00:58:04 John Rocke
3) 00:59:15 Tsungai Mwanangeni
Long course women's:
1) 01:09:09 Katya Soggot
2) 01:14:07 Sandy Russell
3) 01:18:17 Dominique D'Oliveira
Short course men's:
1) 00:38:04 Llewellyn Jacobs
2) 00:38:58 Dawood Goeiman
3) 00:39:30 Jarryd Dunn Junior
Short course women's:
1) 00:44:38 Megan Leslie
2) 00:46:25 Hayley Preen
3) 00:48:48 Mariella Dierks
A big thank you goes out to WildRunner, Spur, Bos and all the lovely people who organised this race. You exceeded expectations!
Also, a big thank you to the hero from the New Balance MultiSport Club, who chased me down after the race to offer me a steri-stumpie! Reds stick together, friend! Awesome people!
Cheers for now...