STBB Red Hill Marathon and Classic 2023

Friday 27th January 2023
Carl and I had booked accommodation at Ollava’s Guesthouse a year ago in preparation of me running the Red Hill in 2022.  But due to unforeseen circumstances, my health had other ideas and I had to give this a miss.  The owner Rheta Human was kind enough to offer us the very same accommodation this year as it had been fully paid for previously.  Driving through from Sunningdale to Fish Hoek Athletic Club took a good 90 minutes if not more.  Granted we travelled through in the Jimney but the traffic was just bumper to bumper – month end – Friday afternoon.  After collecting my number I discovered that no safety pins had been included so it was off to the Mall not only for an early dinner but pins too.  A relatively early night having set my alarm for 04h40.

Saturday 28th January 2023
Fortunately Ollava’s Guesthouse was a mere 5km from the FHAC which took just a few minutes to reach at that time of the morning.  A slight drizzle made its presence known which didn’t deter any of the runners present from participating in the race that lay ahead.  Taking off at 05h30 on the dot was for the Classic and Marathon runners.  A new leg had now been introduced offering a 13km which started at 06h30.  But now it was time to tackle Red Hill Classic 36km and so I took off with many many other runners.

Did you know that the first Red Hill Classic was run almost half a century ago in 1973 as a training run for the Peninsula Marathon?  A six km loop was added for those who wanted to extend themselves from the 36km to a full marathon which has been a permanent fixture since 1992.  But this year – 2023 – the route went something like this, and I use this term loosely as anyone that knows me well enough will vouch and understand that a) my sense of direction sucks and b) a chippendale could be running next to me who I would clearly fail to notice.  Once I reach my comfortable running mode (slow) whatever happens around me is of little consequence.  

After approximately 8km one is met with a waterpoint at Kommetjie.  So far so good.  Running comfortably.  This is where the very first hill starts and again the approximate distance is more or less one and a half km?  It’s a steady climb through Scarborough until the T-junction at 20km.  It is here that one has the option to either up or down grade.  Simply inform an official and hey presto, job done!  If one chooses the extra 6km to the right, this will make up one’s marathon distance.  Cut off at 27/33km mark is four hours.  Official cut off time for both races is five hours.  Red Hill itself is actually only 2km’s.  Yup true story.  But when one (me) has already ran 20 odd km’s it can honestly feel like mission impossible.  Especially when the marathon runner’s who’ve already done their 6 extra km’s just run on by and overtake as easy as a Sunday morning!  Once at the top however, one can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the work that had to be done, is done.  A very very long steep downhill lay ahead and it is here that one really has to pace oneself.  Over running can honestly sap every ounce of energy one has.  I listened to our coach Alan Green who advised not to hug the corners but to run straight through the centre of the road – for me however it was a little too late.  My poor feet were complaining and all I wanted to do was to reach the finish.

At the bottom of the hill one can console oneself with the fact that there is just 9km’s to go until reaching the FHAC.  9km’s.  Might just as well have been 90 km’s because this is where my feet decided to walk.  A little.  A lot!  Wunning (walking & running) next to the Indian Ocean was a delight indeed.  So beautiful.  So welcoming and so very very tempting!  With each and every km indicator that I passed I knew it was now just a matter of time before reaching the end.  On entering the green belt on to the FHAC the time had come.  In the distance I could see Carl poised with his camera snapping away capturning the West Coasters.  Rather smart I thought that the finish line had been divided so that the Classic runners took a left turn whilst the Marathon runners took a right.

The very minute that I crossed the line – with great relief I must add – the wind came up and the heavens opened!  Talk about timing.  Carl said that I’d brought it with me.  Gazebo’s were being held down in the fear of them taking off across the Indian Ocean.    

I must commend Fish Hoek Athletic Club for an extremely well organised run.  There were water points every 3kms.  A welcome addition to my run for sure.  Loads of officials present.  Traffic police were kind and thoughtful managing the traffic to allow runners through.  Marshalls were plentiful and encouraging.  But oh my goodness am I glad that’s over.  Done and dusted as I posted on Strava.  

I asked Santa to write me up a little blog for my blog which she kindly did and it reads like this:  We were attacked by mozzies from 02h00 – 04h00 to start with haha.  Dave was up and ready to leave the B&B in time to do a little warm up walk run to the start.  As he was about to leave two novices (1st marathon and qualifier for Comrades) that were staying in the same house started chatting to Dave and asked him to please wait ten minutes as they wanted to join him to the start.  Twenty minutes later they were still getting ready.  I then offered to take them to the start to save time.  Dave did a U turn close to the start and hit a pile of glass in the road.  As i got out of the car I heard a loud blowing noise coming from the tyre – a huge puncture!  Dave told the two novices to go to the start and not to worry about us.  For saftey sake Dave drove me back to the B&B then ran the 4km’s back to the start.  This made him late for the start but he joined in anyway.  Dave finished the race in 03h34!  

Our Club Captain ran at a pace of 7:34 coming in at 04h34.  Lizl de Klerk ran at a pace of 08:07 coming in at 05h00 – Wow Lizl you did SO well.  Congratulations!!!  Amelia Lourens ran at 07h15 coming in 05:08.  My little friend Zita Provita ran at an impressive 06:49 coming in at 04h09.  And the blogger – moi – ran at 7:52 coming in at 04h47.

As always I like to stress that this is in my very own humble opinion and I don’t ever set out to offend anyone.  And on that note – run for fun, race for pace and most of all be kind!!


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