Constantia Village 15km 2024

Oh my goodness, getting up at 04h00 is not for sissies.  No siree!  If one holds down a job that requires such an early start, then so be it.  If one needs to be at the airport at that time, then so be it.  But getting up before the crack of dawn to go running takes true dedication and determination.  So that would be us then.  Getting up just a few hours after midnight to prepare for a race.  A race in Constantia no less.  Yes the very leafy posh other side of the world Constantia.

Zita arrived at mine for 04h30 and parked on our property.  Hats off to Zita who had so thoughtfully driven through to Constantia on the previous day to collect not only my entry but to enter for her and Heidi too.  I had entered super early owning number 37 which qualified for a free parking bay at the Village Centre.  As luck would have it though, Zita got an extra parking ticket, just for good measure. 

Zita and I left ours and headed down to collect Heidi who really lives 5 minutes from me.  And off we went until Zita discovered that she had left her phone in her car, so a quick U turn back to collect it.  With Zita up front and Heidi as a back seat driver, we left Sunningdale and headed towards Constantia.  You’d better believe that traffic out that early with passengers wearing caps and running vests were all headed in the very same direction.  A plain sailing trip through with us girls nattering away about many things.  Mostly putting the world to right!

Once at Constantia, we flashed that ever important parking entry card to the marshal and in we went.  Wow this is definitely the way to go.  No searching for parking.  No walking miles.  No forgetting where one parked.  Entering this race early has the best benefits ever!

Security had opened up the shopping centre which gave us access to the bathrooms.  Very important you know having a bathroom to hand.  Porta loo’s have their place but surely not in Constantia.  And for us ladies, there wasn’t even a queue.  Totally unheard of for crying out loud.  But no complaints from us.  Thank you, Constantia Village Shopping Centre.  It was here too that one could collect one’s entry and the tables were set out with precision which made everything run as good as clockwork.

Mingling and taking photographs is just one of the things one does and is probably expected to do at the races.  Not one to break a habit, we nabbed a passing runner who managed to capture us as requested.  The race was due to start from the parking area at 06h15 and that’s exactly what happened.  On the dot – 06h15 – the gun went off and so did the runners participating in this 15km VOB.

At this time of the morning, I cant say it was actually broad daylight but light enough to run without a headtorch besides the street lights were still on which made for good visibility.  Cat’s eyes and cones.  Two things I dread.  Cat’s eyes and cones.  The water tables had been divided into three sections with the first one offering water only, whilst the second and third table were stocked with coke and water.  Plenty of marshals were on hand not only to direct the runners but the traffic too.  I had previously run this race in March 2020 so I had a rough idea of the route ahead.  A beautiful route through green belts, parks and outstandingly massive behind locked gates properties. 

Leaving the parking bay area at the Constantia Village proved to be a little overwhelming with loads of shiny raised speed bumps and every single runner trying to get out at the same time.  Once on the open road I must admit I felt a little more confident, running to the left and staying there for the duration of the 15km race.  The first hill would certainly sort the wheat from the chaff – as it always does.  So, a lot of those runners who ran past me with great gusto where now walking up the hill.  Fortunately, we do a lot of hill training.  And when I say a lot, I mean Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Looks like they’re paying off as I managed to tackle the hills by taking smaller quicker steps – thank you coach Alan Green!

The straight flat roads were good and the down runs were just utter bliss.  I tried my best not to over run the downs and be absolutely buggered by the time the flats made their entrance.  So, all in all I imagine I kept an even constant pace throughout – as planned.

There weren’t as many West Coasters as I thought there would be but a relatively good turnout nevertheless.  I didn’t see Zita start and I certainly didn’t see Zita finish either.  Once or twice, I’d see a West Coaster, shout a quick hallo and just keep going.  All in all, I must confess to having had a good run and compared to the time I managed in 2020 I added just 3 minutes onto this time in 2024.  I’m happy with that.

I was even happier once I’d spotted the 14km marker which meant it would just be a matter of time before I would cross the line, accept my wooden medal and consume copious amounts of my favourite (next to tea of course) drink, and there was plenty of it too.  Making my way through to our WCAC gazebo it was a case of once again meeting and greeting many relieved faces that the 15km was a thing of the past.  Done and dusted.

Zita and Gary were sitting under the shade of the gazebo which was being manned by Cheryl-lee and Natalie.  A very nice spread was on offer – ice cold coke – sliced watermelon – sugary iced cupcakes – crisps and bite sized savoury canapes.  All ready for the taking.  One by one the West Coast runners started coming in with Kim Gilmour competing her first ever race in West Coast colours.

It was apparent to me however, just how many faces I hadn’t come across before.  Young folk, which is always encouraging, so I made it my business to approach each one and jot their name down so that I could include them when posting photo’s.  It seemed to work and I’ve made some new running friends!

Thank you VOB Running Club.  An excellent day.  Your choice of weather was just perfect!  The route was interesting and beautiful.  The marshals were friendly and informative.  Thank you!!

Without further ado, as usual I end off by saying that this is my personal opinion and I never set out with the intention of offending anyone.  Jokes are tongues in cheek.  Blogging is my hobby.  Take care out there peeps – see you on the road – Gill x

K-Way VOB Running Club was founded in 1977 by former UCT graduates. It originally became known as, Varsity Old Boys Running Club or VOB, for short.  The Club has a long and illustrious history dating back to these early days.  One of our original premier runners, Eric Bateman, has the distinction of being the actual ‘Running Man’ depicted in the Club logo.  K-Way VOB Running Club is the largest running club in the Western Province area.