Voet van Afrika 2023

The race dates back to 1977 – when the Bredasdorp Athletics Club was established. At the time, an icon named Eps Joubert was chair of the club. He sparked the idea to start a truly Overberg marathon; a unique marathon given our special location close to Africa’s southernmost tip.  The marathon takes you over the Overberg mountains, past breathtaking lookout points, through colourful farmland, and into the towns of Napier and Bredasdorp.

Carl and I had booked into accommodation named Haus Barbara Guest House which was on the outskirts of Bredasdorp and within walking distance to everything.  After unpacking our overnight bags on Friday afternoon we made our way up to Hoërskool Bredasdorp.  Just a couple of km from our lodgings made for a leg stretch and some good old country fresh air.  Once up at the school, we met with Patrick and Erica who had come to collect their numbers before heading off to Arniston.  Gary and Sue were there too in preparation of their Rock Rabbit gazebo which would take pride on the grounds of the High School the following day.  Suffering from an ankle injury I downgraded from my initial 21km to the 10km in the hope that I might just be able to tackle this distance.  On arrival back at our guest house, however, my ankle was swollen and hot to the touch.  I knew then that even the 10km was not going to happen.  We drove on down to the Spur which was teeming with entrants for the forthcoming race—a complete hive of activity.  Once home I wrapped my ankle up in ice and hoped for the best. 

Saturday 23rd September 2023

We woke to the soft sound of a drizzle and realized that it had indeed been raining most of the evening.  After the all essential tea and coffee, we drove up to the school which was alive with the hustle and bustle of last-minute preparations being completed.  There were many refreshment gazebos in attendance all offering their wares from hamburgers to pancakes, hot drinks, cold drinks, and of course not forgetting the beer tent!

I made my way up onto the grandstand where it was a little more sheltered and drier than being on the field.  By now the weather hadn’t quite decided what it was going to do, with an off-on drizzle being mostly present.  The finish line had been clearly divided into 42km 21km 10km and the trail run and the very first lady runner to cross the 21km line was our very own Michelle Minnaar with a time of 1 hour and 37 minutes.  Wow, how impressive is that?  And as cool as a cucumber too.  I rushed down to the field to take photos and offer congratulations.  This would win our Michelle Queen of the Mountain among other prizes!

I must add that the Overbergers know how to entertain and cater.  The long-sleeved t-shirts were selling like hotcakes, so much so that I was unable to purchase one.  So I bought a bucket hat from Rock Rabbit instead!  Playing my very favorite Afrikaans music over the loudspeakers – Kaptein van die Seile – and many more had me singing along with everyone else.  The atmosphere and support were simply fantastic.  Many clubs had made their way to Bredasdorp for the weekend – Cape Town, Strand, and Stellenbosch to name but a few.

Our second 21km runner in was Patrick who was and still is nursing an Achilles injury.  But run he did and in good time too.  The previous day Patrick had said he would walk/run the race because of his injury and still managed an impressive time.  Michelle Gooch came in after Patrick with an equally good time.  By now I had positioned myself on the field and Carl indicated to me when one of our runners was coming in so that I had the opportunity to snap away and take photos.

Issie came in next with Erica following then last but certainly not least it was Mike and Jacqui’s turn to cross the finish line.  Somewhere out there was Nico running the trail but I didn’t see him come in.  So it was off to the tents to take yet more photos and grab a cup of tea.

We had arranged to meet at the Arniston Hotel that evening for dinner and to watch rugby which Erica kindly organized.  But come 11h00 Carl and I decided to leave the school, and with the weather that had been predicted for the weekend, what was left of it, it was clear that the rain was here to stay.  So with a joint decision taken, we packed up our goods, let the peeps know that we were on our way and left for home.

All the way home it rained nonstop arriving safely at 15h00.  Grateful to be home.  I’m hoping with baited breath that 2024 will be kinder to me and allow me to actually participate in a couple of races.

Take good care out there peeps.  Running for fun Gill