Rhodes Quality Half Marathon Wellington 2024

Workers Day – International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in some countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement and occurs every year on 1 May, or the first Monday in May.  And here in sunny South Africa, these same rules apply.  Bonus!!

Quite some time back I decided to enter the Rhodes 21km in Wellington.  Previously sponsored and known as the Safari 21km, the route remained the same as did the start time and venue.  I had run this race back in 2019 and just knew outright that my time then and my time now were just two different times.  One is so much better than the other – the time in 2019!  Now five years later it was time to run it once again. 

Paula was kind enough to collect me from home along with Megan who parked at mine for the time we’d be away.  We decided to meet and leave at 05h30 as it would probably take a good hour to reach Wellington and one never knows what the traffic will be like.  So off we went, the three of us with Paula at the helm.  I have to admit drifting off every now and then as Paula is really one of my favourite drivers, decisive with her head screwed on the right way ensuring a safe uneventful trip through to the town of Wellington.  If there were any other cars on the road at that time of the morning, driving in front or behind us, one could bet their bottom dollar they were on their way to the Rhodes 21km!

There were other distances to choose from of course.  Firstly, the 21km, then the 10km, a 5km too plus a trail run.  Spoilt for choice.  All pre-entrants in the half marathon/10KM / 5KM and trial run were to receive a gift pack of Rhodes products.  And we did. 

Parking was quite easy for Paula as she has a vehicle that mounts pavements and tucked us in off the road just minutes from the start line.  We walked down the hill that we would eventually walk/run up as the very first taste of things to come.  Oh yes, this race was not to be a plain sailing flat route.  No sirree, this route offered flat tar roads, up hill tar roads, down hill tar roads and even a spell of mixed stones and sand making this run a very interesting one indeed.

There was an extremely good turnout.  And West Coaster were there in their droves.  Some for the 21km and others for the 10km.  Either way, the Westies showed their true colours when it came to supporting a race.  People had lined up in anticipation of the gun going off and I managed to sneak in to the crowd about three lines back.  It didn’t last long however, as the minute the gun did go off so did every one else.  At the speed of lightening too!  Up that confounded hill that we’d just walked down.  Crikey what a way to start a race.  Uphill??  Once at the top though it was pretty plain sailing as the road took us alongside Wellington’s marvelous wine farms as this is exactly what they are known for – Wellington’s economy is centered on agriculture such as wine, table grapes, deciduous fruit, and a brandy industry.

Every 3km’s the water tables were full to overflowing.  Not with Coke or Energade though but with sachets of ice-cold water being handed out by the local residents of Wellington.  Further along not only was one offered the water option but that of a juice box too!  This really ticked all the right boxes for me as I was able to grab a juice and run with it not sploshing and splashing everywhere as it was in a box with a straw.  Genius!

I had to smile though as the local kids were obviously home for the day and thought they’d do their thing by offering the runners support and of course their advice.  With hollers of – hou bene hou – from the side lines they were keen on the juice box too and very willing to take it off one’s hands. 

The weather played ball.  It seriously behaved itself by making the sunshine present at around my 14km.  Great.  And yes it stayed this way for the rest of the run.  With the countdown now in sight the 21km mark was just a short run away.  Yay – done and dusted.  Another Rhodes under my belt.  But hear this, our very own Yvonne Perry ran her 19th Safari/Rhodes 21km.  In fact if it hadn’t been for that pesky corona virus, Yvonne would have already completed her 20th 21km.  Amazing.  Just amazing.

We decided to wait for prize giving as I was truly convinced that today would be my lucky day having put my number into the draw box.  But oh my goodness 10h30 came and went.  We walked.  We talked.  We sat and waited with baited breath for the prize giving to start but at 11h00 we called it quits.  Once can only wait so long.  Lucky ticket or not. 

We made our way back to the car where Paula – once again – came to the fore with flavoured milk and …….yes, ice cold coke for me!!  Thank you Paula.  Megan and Paula chatted away but I was just too happy and relaxed to contribute, instead closing my eyes and waking up at home.  Home sweet home.  A wonderful morning out.  Successful and uneventful.  Just the way I like it!!

Ok peeps this blog is in my opinion and as usual I never set out to offend anyone.  Till next time – Gill x