Saldanha Health Run 2024

White City Multipurpose Centre, 41 Trichardt Road, Saldanha

Entering a race whatever the distance may be, always seems to be a good idea in the evening just when I’m settling down with a cup of tea or my very favourite go to – a Pepsi Max.  It would appear that all resistance is totally lost at this hour of the day (or night) and I just can’t hold myself back from pushing that ENTER button.  I do however make sure that the race is in our province as I have no intention of running a 10km in Phalaborwa!

After chatting with my running girlfriends four of us decided on running the Saldanha Health Run up in Saldanha, would you believe?  But as the time drew nearer, our Leonie let us know that she had very unfortunately managed to fracture her tibia and would be out of action for the foreseeable future.  So now we were down to three of us off to Saldanha.  With lots of communication and kindness Leonie gifted her entry to Mandy who accepted it with both hands trading it in for a 10km opposed to the 21km.

Come Saturday morning, Sonz and Paula arrived at ours making use of the garage as I would be driving us up to the beautiful bay of Saldanha located 110 kilometers north of Cape Town.  We collected Mandy on our way and were on the West Coast Road for 06h00.  I have to confess, I’m not crazy about driving in the dark nor being on the R27 but it really was a case of when needs must.  The trip took just over an hour (and a bit) with us arriving safe and sound at the White City Multipurpose Centre in Saldanha.  Parking was an absolute breeze with marshals directing the traffic allocating me a spot directly opposite the entrance to the Multipurpose Centre.  We literally walked over the road to collect our race numbers.

The Centre is huge.  Wow.  There were tables set out with boxes of numbers waiting to be collected.  And just behind the boxes were rows and rows of goodie bags filled with sour sweets, nuts and raisins, a reflective belt band, Almond milk and a box of orange juice.  Very generous indeed.  I had preordered a running vest and I must say it’s really quite lovely.  It’s not generic, one could specify one’s gender and the actual size required.  And that alone is important in my book – a vest that fits.  After chatting amongst friends, it was time for a quick loo visit – and not a porta loo either.  No sirree, a genuine porcelain sit down if you will loo!

Outside still remained too cold for me to remove my jacket.  So it would remain put until further notice.  The crowd had now gathered and it was just minutes before the bell went off . . . .and so did we at exactly 08h00.  Starting later has it’s benefits.  It’s lighter now that it’s winter, the sun – if there is any about, is usually starting to come through, one can actually see what’s ahead and who one is standing next to!  The downside for me is that by the time one has finished and driven home, it’s midday and definitely time for a nap.

The plotted route was really quite lovely.  We left the White City Centre and took a right into Burton Port Road for a while then onto the Main Road where one gets to experience the very first climb – that seemed to me, to go on for an eternity.  Then into Saldanha Road and eventually through the harbour taking great care not to trip over the shiny railway lines.  Up up up again this time into Marcus Island and although I must admit I had no idea that there would be a stretch of dirt road included.  It was here that I decided to ditch the jacket and asked a marshal to take it back to the beginning for me.  She did so, but of course I forgot my jacket there but for the kindness of Leonie Vorster – Health Coach at Runningon who contacted our club via our social media page asking for my details.  Also thanks to Peter Chong who contacted Leonie who in turn contacted me.  Long story short – Merle who is running Mamre this coming Saturday will collect and return my jacket to me.  Now back to the route – good dirt road, evenly graded and such spectacular sea side views that would easily forgive any loose stones or ruts in the road.  Once done with the dirt it was back on to the tar and Saldanha Road, into Strand Street, then Parker Crescent and so on and so on.  What I mean by that is we did some town road running between the houses and pretty much back to where we had begun.  And that my friends was the 21km done and dusted.

Running back into the White City Centre was a welcome relief and waiting there was Sonz who flew through the 21km – as always – and Paula just a few minutes ahead of me.  Mandy who had opted to run the 10km made incredibly good time and looked as good as new waiting on the side line.  Yolande passed me towards the end of the run and after a brief chat I lost contact with her.

Sadly they had run out of coke at the finish line and offered cold water in plastic sachets.  This didn’t really cut it for me – being the coke fan that I am, but fortunately a couple of crates arrived and it was all systems go.  I downed a couple of cokes before heading back to the car with Sonz, Paula and Mandy.   We decided not to hang around for prize giving as time was marching on.

Lots of chatting in the car, settling down with some good background music, so much so that I managed to drive right past the Cape Town turn off!  Admittedly this type of thing is nothing new to me and the result is more often than not more of a surprise to my passengers as it is to me!  Variety is the spice of life hey.  After making a U turn, we stopped as the garage for an out of the fridge coke whilst the girls opted for a coffee.

Plain sailing from hereon in.  No missed turn offs.  No speeding fines.  No crazy traffic.  Daylight driving.  All good.  Mandy was the first one to be taken home then back to ours and the car waiting to take Sonz and Paula home.  Once in, it was shower time and that all important afternoon nap!

I would like to say thank you to all the marshals who were helpful, pleasant and plentiful BUT I would really have preferred to have a water table at every 3km’s – with coke or Energade.  The plastic sachets are the means to an end after being handled by many folk and filled with who knows where that water came from?  I usually end up tipping one over my head but this time I actually drank mine.  That of course is just my personal observation.   Other than that, the starting venue was absolutely perfect as was the organization of this race.  Would I do it again next year – yes indeed I would!

As always, I never set out to offend anyone, this is my opinion.  See you out on the road (preferably tar) Gill x