General club news and other interesting blogs contributed by members of the WCAC. If you would like to become a blog contributor on this page look here for more information. Contributions are welcomed from all running disciplines within the club. A blog about West Coast, by West Coasters!
Ever wondered what would happen if we neutralised the effect of gender at a race, and pitched the efforts of the top males and females against each other on equal grounds? Well, wonder no more. The Battle of the Sexes Medihelp 10km Tekkie Challenge does exactly that. How is this possible? By staggering the start times for males and females by the time difference between the personal records of the top participating athlete in each gender.
While staggered-start, battle of the sexes type races are relatively well-known in the United States, the Tekkie Challenge is the only one of its kind in South Africa – therefore as a participant in this race you get a taste of something truly innovative and unique. As a female athlete starting out in the front, the “wait” for the elite males to catch up adds a real element of excitement to the run and you find yourself pushing to see how far you can get before the boys come flying by.
There are countless events taking place in and around the Western Cape, and athletes are spoiled for choice every weekend. In this environment, I believe, event organisers who build innovative elements into their line up increase the attractiveness of their event and, over time, may see their races emerging onto the list of must-do-runs. In my opinion, the Medihelp 10km Battle of the Sexes is definitely one of these must-do-runs. Not only because of the staggered start, but also because the logistics of this event ran like a finely tuned machine in 2018. To top that off, the event is hosted in aid of a worthy cause. More about all of these aspects – and how far I got before the boys caught up – in the official ratings graphic below.
Came close, but not quite as fast as I had hoped!
With the competitive nature of the start line I would have been hard pressed to stick to a low heart rate on this run. Lucky for me this week the programme prescribed a “flat out race”, dividing the run into three sections of 3-4-3.
The goal I set myself was to try break 50 minutes. However, sticking to the planned pace without tiring myself too much in the first five kilos proved hard since all the climbing was done on this portion. Although I made up time on the descent, I just did not have the leg speed to bring the pace down enough. In the end I finished 10km in 50:13 and the course (which was just over 10km) in 50:28 (my watch, not official stats). Still very happy with the outcome of the race, and will have to come back next year to try and beat my course best of 47:52.
Proof that many little things all add up to something great
At the risk of repeating myself, I would not fault this event on anything this year.
The event master of ceremony was a great entertainer, creating a good amount of hype leading up to the announcement of the staggered-start time difference. The 5km and 10km routes intersect at points, but enter the finish line area through two different gates which worked brilliantly. Yet, everyone finished under the same arch which was surrounded by a lively crowd. It was this type of logistical engineering around all the small details that added up to an outstanding event.
For all my raves about the pre- and post-race details, check out the infographic below.
Sunday 2nd September 2018. Approximately an hours drive from Sunningdale through to Noordhoek. So it really was a case of being up with the birds this morning, yes 05h00. On opening our garage door we were met with heavy showers – a sign of things to come i’m thinking. So off we set and well within an hour we reached our destination and parked in a well designated area. The office was open for late entries and number collections – Nico Loubser however, collected his and my number the previous day, so no queing or hanging about for this. The tea/coffee tents were buzzing with folk getting in a quick hot drink before braving the colder elements, mostly all suitably dressed for what lay ahead. Possible temperature in Noordhoek a chilly 8 or 9 degrees – with rain or showers even, predicted. The ever faithful Porta Loo’s were there in abundance, not disapointing those (including me) who needed a last one before hitting the road. Again, really well organized with very little or no queing and a dedicated official armed with a ‘flushing bucket’. Very impressive.
07h30 was set off time and that’s exactly what we did. En masse we left the start line and shuffled our way forward to a narrow opening allowing just 2 or 3 runners at one given time to start the Camel Run. Once through this and over a small slippery wooden bridge, it was go go go. Until . . . yes, I have to add this – the dreaded camel hump hills that every man and his dog had warned me about. Peter Chong had previously posted that the climbs were 329 metres x 2, I would have guessed they were a little more than that. Torturous to be perfectly honest. Handsoncoach Alan Green had advised me to run 20 steps then walk 20 steps, run 20 then walk 20. I really started off with good intention until my second set and then all resistance crumbled. Yup – all that good sound advice went in one ear and out the other. I literally had to drag my sorry rear end up the camel humps muttering obscenities at each step.
Absolute bliss at the top of the hill however, one could see for miles if one dared take their eyes off the tricky surrounding terrain. Down hill’s of grassy patches disguised under moss covered slippery stones – just asking to be slipped on or tripped over. The remainder of the run was actually quite pleasant, if one likes running in the rain? I was totally soaked from top to bottom along with every other participant. Fabulous job from the marshalls – each one cheering us on – flags in hands for good direction.
And so crossing the final hurdle of yet more puddles and rain clouds, the last km became a reality that the Camel Run had been completed. The hills were hard, no other way to describe them. A beautiful run in the most scenic surroundings. Finishers received a Camel Run Buff and I for one shall treasure mine forever. What an experience. And of course congratulations to all who entered and finished this course especially Iain Park-Ross who won his age category. Who knew being 60 could be such fun!!
See you there next year . . . I’m in it for another Buff! Fat bottom girls you make the rocking world go round.
Dialing the pace of life down, and the pace of the run up
We are at that point in the year when time is told in relation to the start of the December vacation. The tell-tale signs are everywhere and Whatsapp groups are flooded with memes of cute puppies reminding you that there are only 17 more Mondays until Christmas. The truly exhausted among us have already Googled and bookmarked a Christmas countdown clock telling the exact number of days, hours, minutes and seconds until holiday bliss. Honestly, 17 more Mondays is a long way off and adulting prevents me from taking a vacation right now.
Thankfully we runners are blessed with the opportunity to sneak in a short runcation to rejuvenate the spirits. Runcation is listed by Merriam-Webster as an obsolete word meaning “The act of weeding by hand”, but some creative runners have taken to using the word runcation to mean the type of vacation that involves a running event. My perfect opportunity for a short two-day runcation came in the form of the Arcelor Mittal Athletic Club Langebaan Half Marathon. This annual half marathon starts and ends at Club Mykonos Langebaan, and was held on the 25th of August 2018.
You could imagine that on a runcation one turns the pace of life and your run down a notch. In my case the battery of my heart rate monitor died somewhere between race day and my last run, so I decided to forget heart rate and run my heart out! I paced myself according to perceived effort – a steady 10km, a harder 5km and then all guns blazing until the end. Disclaimer, this strategy was not advised or approved by any coach – but it was an utterly enjoyable run. Below is my Langebaan half marathon race review.
The end of trolling for profiles and routes, well at least partially
I decided it would be useful to add two additional elements to my reviews, (i) a screenshot of the route profile from Strava and (ii) a link to an interactive route map. I find myself trolling the internet and stalking stranger Strava profiles to find route profiles and maps far too often, since these are not always available on the race website or social media feeds. Having access to a route profile and map help me get my mental game ready, it borders on obsessive, but I have made my peace with obsessive. So, now you have the chance to experience this route vicariously on my review, and next year when entries open I can revert back to see what I am in for. Unless they change the route, and then, well, back to trolling and Strava stranger stalking.
As noted in my review, there is that not-so-little hill at the end of the course, and then after coming down from that, an ever so slight bump in the road before the finish line. The route profile, unbeknownst to me at the time, lent itself well to my race strategy, with enough energy preserved for the second half of the course where the difficulty picks up quite substantially.
What cannot be seen on this route profile is the large number of twists and turns this route takes. Several times you loop back to and through places you have passed earlier in the run. Just by looking at the route map it is pretty impossible to “get” which way you would be running.
Luckily we have many fancy sports apps that can help with that. Click here to access my Garmin Connect activity and press the black play button on the bottom of the map to “watch” the route.
What else to do on a runcation in Langebaan?
Weather predictions for the weekend were not optimistic, and surprisingly the predictions were pretty accurate. On the upside, the rain (mostly) stayed away till after the runners were done but it came pelting down shortly thereafter. Stormy and grey conditions prevailed for the whole weekend, but it was just right for fireplace conversations, post-run massages and just plain laziness. The Coetzees were celebrating Dries’ entry into mid-life and booked into the historical Farm House Hotel which has majestic views of the lagoon, delightful staff and a must-try Americano.
The 8am start of the race allowed “sleeping beauty” some extra snooze time on race morning (big plus point for this event). This start time also allows for those not on runcation to leave the Blouberg area at a reasonably humane time. For a full overview of the pre- and post-race ratings, have a look at the official reviews below.
Back to reality with a slightly elevated level of enthusiasm
Just a breather away was enough to add some va-va-voom back so as to get me through these next 17 weeks. I was reminded again this weekend of the innumerable benefits of running. In this case, the benefit of being able to combine (soulful) rest and racing in a 48-hour space just up the road from home.
I am pretty sure many West Coasters have taken runcations over the years, some may be planning their next adventure as I write. What is your favourite or dream runcation destination?
The PUFfeR (Peninsula Ultra Fun Run) is an 80km (approximately, depending on how well you know the route and the shortcuts) part road, part trail run hosted by Fish Hoek Athletics Club, which starts at Cape Point and finishes in Sea Point taking runners along the mountain range of the Cape Peninsula. 2018 is the 23rd year of this event, started in 1995 by a Belgian dude called Jean-Paul van Belle along with 17 other runners, this year they took 180 entrants.
The slogan “Running in heaven feeling like hell” is the perfect description of this race!
The route starts at roughly 5.30am (actually, as soon as everybody’s off the buses) in the dark and goes through the Cape Point Nature Reserve for about 13km to the reserve gate at checkpoint and refreshment stop 1, left onto Plateau Rd to Red Hill, the first biggish climb (half of the John Korasie route, backwards). On Red Hill before the descent into Simons town the rout takes a left at Pinehaven for a few km’s down a scenic tar road to the Waterworks at Lewis Grey Dam, there the runners hit the first trail section, over Black Hill and down into Fish Hoek for some more tar; up Ou Kaapse Road past Noordhoek Manor the route turns off onto the old Wagon Trail up another big climb and over into the Silvermine reserve, another climb on some tar before turning off onto Level 5 gravel road which runs along the mountain over the Tokai forests and around to the Vlakenburg trail and down a knee-busting descent to Constantia Nek. From here the race really starts with a massive climb from the Nek up past Castle (Camel) Rock to Maclears Beacon, highest point on the range, along the top of Table Mountain and down the long, steep Platteklip Gorge, onto Tafelberg road, past Kloof Nek and up towards Signal Hill where runners encounter the incredibly awesome West Coast AC support station (details about that later), down the hill towards Sea Point and to the finish at Hamilton’s Rugby Club.
West Coast: This year West Coast AC had 13 entries to the race, 2 ladies – Cathy & Jenny, both of whom unfortunately pulled out early due to injury. And 11 blokes, 10 of whom were at the start. Carl pulled out the day before due to the flu. The starters were Gary, Guy, David, Charl, Rob, Bruce, Malcolm, Marius, Izak, and myself, Justin. I was unfortunately the only one who did not finish, the other 9 all went on to collect their medals. Super strong team we had this year, well done to all the guys who finished. It was a hell of a tough day out on the mountains.
Some West Coasters before the race (click to enlarge):
My failure: So as you read above, I did not finish. I made it as far as Constantia Nek, 56km into the race, and missed the 1.40pm cut off by 10 minutes. I’m quite certain I was the only runner to be cut off at this vital point because the guy I was running with from early in the race, Laurence and myself were the last to make it through the previous cut off at Silvermine meaning from that point we were dead last, jokingly dismissing all the marshals we passed going forward, much to their obvious relief. He took off ahead of me at Vlakenberg and made the cut off by seconds, I couldn’t keep up down that steep rocky decline, especially in road shoes, making me the only runner in the field to be cut off at this most important cut off point. To be honest, I was relieved because by this stage, after 56km, I was broken. Looking ahead from the top of the mountain I was standing on at the mountain I’d have to climb on the other side of the Nek the thought of pushing my fat ass on up that mountain to Maclears Beacon and down Platteklip on legs that were exhausted, knees aching and feet burning was daunting to say the least, I was secretly quite ok with not going any further despite my usual hearty determination telling me to keep going and not give up. It was an uncomfortable inner battle of decisions between my head and my heart. But, my head had won, I’d already given up. I sat down for 2 minutes to enjoy the view, then hobbled off down to my own finish, both hating myself for now being a deliberate quitter, and also incredibly sad at the knowledge that I’d screwed this up and would be missing out on that beautiful medal that my friends would all be wearing later that day.
You see, I completely underestimated this race. Having done the 90km Comrades Marathon two months earlier I thought the (mediocre) training I’d done for Comrades with a few training runs in the mountains prior to Puffer would be more than enough, I mean, it’s “only” 80km, right? I thought I could take it easy from the start and keep a steady run-walk strategy and make it comfortably. Well I should have known when I was one of the last out of the Cape Point reserve gate at about 13km that I already had this theory wrong, but I didn’t click yet, even as the back-markers passed me heading towards Red Hill, I thought I was ok, and this was just an exceptionally strong field of runners (something I HAD noticed at the race briefing 2 days earlier, I was the only fat guy in the auditorium. Somehow I thought this was funny!) I also wasted time in the reserve taking photos, again thinking I had more than adequate time to bugger around with the camera. Of course I got some stunning photos, but to the detriment of my race, partly. Having listened to some advice in hindsight it became clear that “taking it easy” on the road sections is not gonna suffice, it’s important to make up distance as fast as possible without burning out on the road sections to provide adequate time on the trails to make the cut-offs and not finish in the dark.
Heading towards Red Hill I hooked up with Laurence and we decided to go all the way to the finish and pace ourselves comfortably. I didn’t know it yet but this was also a mistake. See, he had done Puffer last year and convinced me the pace we were going was more than enough. I stopped making calculations in my head and went along with his theories. Boy did we get them wrong, we were going too slow, too much walking at times we didn’t need to. When we got to the Silvermine checkpoint, coming up the road the supporters were yelling we had just 2 minutes to make cut off. I thought they were taking the piss, we believed that 11.20am cut off was at the previous checkpoint an hour back at the bottom of Wagon Trail (somebody there told us that!) Anyway, after some refreshments and a good 5 minutes for a badly needed number 2 we headed off to the Nek with only 2 hours to get there. We got our pacing wrong here too, much too slow at first and having to push hard later. By the time we got to the trails leading up to Vlakenberg I was knackered, yet still hoping to make the cut off. At the top of Vlakenberg before the descent Laurence went flying past me and down the trail to the Nek determined to make it despite his dodgy knee, I didn’t have the legs left to go down that descent at speed, nor, honestly, the desire. I let him go, resigning myself to the fact that my race was nearly over. Honestly, having just missed the cut at Silvermine and being stone last all the way from there had already broken my mental resolve, I knew I’d stuffed up and the new goal of having to play catch up and chase cut offs was already a deal breaker.
However, despite failing due to a series of poor decisions and being grossly unprepared for the race, it was not all negative! I really enjoyed the experience as far as I did get. It’s a fantastic race in some spectacular places, if you are strong enough to do this and fortunate to get an entry it is well worth every moment, albeit a long tough day out!
I learned an enormous amount from my experience at Puffer, and I’m determined to come back tougher and stronger next year to fetch my medal with a strong finish. I have decided to skip Comrades next year in order to train properly for Puffer, the plan is to do a LOT of mountain running in the next year, loads of road and trail and strength training, and go back to Puffer with the strength and confidence to nail that bad-ass as a midfield finisher! (Providing of course Andy, the organiser, accepts my entry next year!! Pretty please Andy!!)
My journey to PUFfeR: As previously mentioned, I ran Comrades in June. It was not a good race for me this year because, like Puffer, I went in overweight and under-trained due to an overconfidence from having a good finish last year at my first Comrades, however I still finished in time, by a few ball-hairs, but I got my back to back, and regarded Comrades and the journey there as sufficient training for the road parts of Puffer. Basically, a lazy excuse to not have to do too much more.
I ran in the mountains a few times, getting to know the equipment I had and building up what I needed as money permitted. I entered and participated in the Bastille Day 25km which I absolutely enjoyed. That was a big confidence boost since that was a proper mountain trail run that I did fairly comfortably and wasn’t last. Thereafter through the Puffer Whatsapp group we organised weekly training runs on the actual routes, a few of which I dropped out of, for various reasons, basically I didn’t take them seriously enough. I ran sections of the route from Red Hill to the finish only once each. Not enough. Then came the taper leading to the big day. Through all this training I was not watching my diet and packed on about 6kg shortly after Comrades (the post ultra hunger from this one was insatiable and unstoppable), leading up to Puffer I lost about 2kg.
Let me tell you from experience – being overweight and taking on an ultra trail is NOT a bright idea at all !!! The extra energy you need to use to move the extra weight and the stress on the knees is huge. This fact, I believe, is the main reason I was so buggered by the time I was done. My knees were shattered and I was exhausted.
Again, lessons learned!
Some photos I took at the beginning in the Cape Point reserve (click to enlarge):
My race: The day started with a 1am wake up alarm, all my kit was packed and prepped over the 2 days before, a full printed A4 page worth of stuff. Bruce and his wife Tammy and her dad picked me up at 2am, we picked up Izak and headed to the Cape Point Reserve gate where we get the bus to the start. I think we were second there, after the organiser. The toilets hadn’t even arrived yet. Over the next hour and a half the other runners arrived, there was an excited buzz in the cold night as we filed onto the buses for the long drive to the start at the tourist centre in Cape Point, close to the lighthouse.
We were no sooner off the buses and had a quick leak in the bush (I’m sure almost everybody did) when the race was started. This is the part I liked most about the race – running in the cold dark of night with the only light being the stream of headlights on the runners like migrating fireflies, and the bright stars above. No cars, buildings or other man made lights around, besides the distant glow of the city across the horizon. As we progressed the morning faded in slowly as the sky lightened and changed colour and broke into a beautiful day, perfect for the occasion!
The first checkpoint was at the gate, I forget which clubs hosted which checkpoint and refreshment station, which were roughly 10 to 15km apart. Each station was well stocked with food and drinks and varying degrees of vibe and cheer, some were well attended with crowds of supporters and runners seconds. But none came close in intensity and enthusiasm as the West Coast station!
Talking of supporting seconds, I have to say a huge thank you to Tammy Wood and her dad Anthony, for looking after me throughout the route. They were at all the strategic points with supplies, refreshments, clothes changes, toilet paper, etc. It’s vital to have support at this race, and we had the best.
Well, I plodded on slowly for the rest of my race, enjoying the people and the awesome scenery… you know the rest!
From Constantia Nek, when I retired, I got into the car with Tammy who was just waiting for me, and we drove around to the West Coast station on Signal Hill to wait for our club runners to arrive and pass through, all of whom were surprised and disappointed to see me there, obviously having bailed early. I was very happy for them all for doing so well.
The usual cheesy selfies:
The West Coast Station: This has to be mentioned! The WC station on Signal Hill has over the years become an epic part of this race, a club tradition to put on a show as the best support station on this race by miles! Positioned about 4km from the finish at the top of the very last climb on the day, it is a refreshing relief to the exhausted and broken runners who for a brief moment get to relax, enjoy a drink including beer, wine, OBS, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc, hot pancakes, sweets and loads of food choices. The ladies rubbed sore shoulders, the music and enthusiastic cheering made them feel like celebrities briefly. They left there revitalized for the final stretch to the finish.
A hearty thank you to Evette and her team of eager supporters who all played a role, from running drinks orders up the road to the tent (some racking up near half marathon distances on their Garmins), Louise on pancakes, Lisa on the camera, Justin R with his new GoPro, the name-checkers, hostesses with welcome drinks, dancers, DJ’s, Jacqui with her splash bucket, etc, etc. You guys were all fantastic! Well done!
A final word: This first Puffer was personally a bag of mixed emotions from the excitement of getting there and the disappointment of not finishing. I’ve learned a lot about what to expect for the event and about myself and my own shortcomings and potential capabilities. I know that with the right training and my head in the right place I can finish this thing easily enough, and next year that is what I will do. I regret missing it this year but the sulk and pity was over by the time I got home that day, I will use the lessons I’ve learned from this to come back strong as an ox next year and collect my medal at the finish and drink that free beer with pride!
Conditions were good for the running of the John Korasie 30km road race on 19 August 2018. It was cloudy (but not raining), cool (but not unbearable) and best of all the wind was not blistering.
Many runners, including yours truly, use John Korasie 30km as a training run for the upcoming Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. There is enough time for the body to recover well before taking on the 42.2km event in September and for me it helps instill the confidence that I am ready to tackle the marathon distance.
This was my third running of the event, but the first attempt to use it as a low-heart rate (LHR) training run. As a recovering race-a-holic who typically employs the “run like a wild rabid boar is chasing you” approach to events, it certainly ain’t easy to switch the modus operandi that drastically.
It was a case of team work makes dream work
Enter a bunch of the Cool Cats from Norrie Training Group C. We chose to run the course together, stopping to walk together each time a member of our “bus” needed to bring their HR down. The five lovely ladies, and our dashing bodyguard made the vexing challenge of keeping my HR below 140 a pleasant and entertaining experience. Our team spirit was high and the support from fellow athletes and supporters on the road added to the genuine enjoyability of the run. It was great hearing the comments about the “sea of red and blue” as we passed by. And then there was the scenery, it is quite astounding just how much of the proverbial view you miss out on when charging along at (your version) of breakneck speed.
My favourite moment in the race was our sprint finish in the final kilometer as we chased down the Spartan Harriers with whom we had been back-and-forth bantering with all along the route. One of the spectators shouted “West Coast team work is dream work” as we entered the Sports Fields grounds and the race MC welcomed our bus seconds after the Spartans. It was high fives all around and of course a group photo, special moments since I generally do not have the air in my lungs to enjoy these at the end of an event.
So a BIG shout out to Ingrid Minter, Nicky Stander, Angela Lurssen, Zita Brandon and Lizl de Klerk (aka the lovely ladies), as well as Matt Smith (our bodyguard) – it was a delight to run with you.
So how would I rate this race?
The race is certainly growing in popularity with an increase of more than 50% in entries from 2015 to 2017 when there were more than 2000 finishers. My estimate is that this has increased further in 2018, but we will have wait for the official race results to come out to confirm my observation.
Readers of my earlier blog will be familiar with the set of criteria I have selected to rate events that I participate in, and below you will find my review of the John Korasie 30km road race on this set of factors.
What worked and what did not?
Let us start with me before we comment on the race. What did not work was my watch battery, or let me rephrase, my attempt to charge my watch battery the night before the race. It was plugged in, but obviously not properly because at 25.5km it died on me. I am not too fussed as this was a training run and not an attempt at a lifetime PB – but still my Strava now looks like I jumped off one of the cliffs en route! Meh.
Now on to the event itself. I have to commend the race organisers on their continued improvements managing the race entries and collection. My experience this year was by far the best of the three. There remains, in my opinion, only one aspect of this race that needs tweaking – the infamous queue for the loo. Its long, and it takes long to get to the front. Longer than usual it feels, although this may be due to the fact that the drive from home is further than a typical drive and thus the wait feels worse. The pre-run bathroom stop is never going to be the best part of anyone’s race day experience, but perhaps just a few more porta-loos would do the trick.
Read on below for a more detailed review of what to expect before and after the event.
Want to rant or rave?
We all experience events differently, so keen to hear from other West Coasters what your favourite moment of the day was. Or alternatively, what did not work out?
There are many aspects to being a runner and I love it’s diversity. You get the fast runner, slow runner, average runner, the long distance runner, short distance runner, the road runner, trail runner and the list goes on. Imagine how boring the world would be if we all fell under the same category?
We might also have contrasting definitions of running and of course we set individual goals. To keep fit and stay healthy, to loose weight, to be outdoors and have fun. To get as many PB’s (Personal Best) as possible or to experience a runner’s high.
These are all valid points and I certainly run to experience all of the above but as a runner who has experienced the recurring disappointment of injury, (stress fractures) my definition of running has changed slightly. My number one priority is to run injury free, while still experiencing all of the above benefits.
First of all I have had to learn that our bodies are different and not all of us are made to run certain distances. Success has many different facets. Whether you run 3kms or 5km parkruns you are considered a runner and shouldn’t put yourself in a box because admittedly that is what we tend to do to. We are all unique and different and should celebrate each other’s uniqueness.
As a first time runner, many years ago I went all out and pushed myself to the point of burn out which inevitably ended in an injury in the form of a stress fracture. Since then I have had to learn to listen to my body and apply self restraint. While others are able to train everyday, I had to learn that I am “Me” and not “Others”. It meant running three times a week for me as an individual. At first, holding back was not easy, but the rewards have been well worth it.
Needless to say, I am delighted to announce that I have enjoyed running consistently, injury free for the past four years, which has led me to decide on a bold move. To tackle a new challenge which will be in the form of a 30km race.
I believe that when it comes to making resolutions, we should consider goals based on process instead of outcome. Be consistent with good habits, discover who you are as an individual and do not be afraid to make adjustments. That way, you can sustain momentum by celebrating small, frequent victories and that is what I intend to do, to enjoy the ride until I have reached my goal.
So how do we define a successful runner? You have laced up your running shoes, got up and hit the road or trails. You have run your first kilometer. Well done. You are an achiever. A success. Be yourself, make adjustments while doing what you love and enjoy the journey.
The below was my “speech”/contribution for our recent Women’s Day Awards Evening held at the club earlier this month. I was a nervous wreck to stand up and speak but I knew it was something I wanted to do. As we are still in OUR month, I thought I’d like to share this for those that perhaps missed the “ladies night”…and the pink bubbles…and the yummy cupcakes…and the TLC from our guys….and all the usual fun!
But have a read – maybe you need some reminding from time to time….
I work in the travel industry and our company DNA is something that is very close to my heart. Of our company’s 6 philosophies, there is maybe one doesn’t appeal to me that much but there is one that REALLY stands out for me. “SAY IT AS IT IS” – that is me to a T and how I like to roll in life – and so I decided that I would bite the bullet, stand up here tonight and from my point of view, I will tell you why I personally think that women runners / athletes are just SO awesome! No technical jargon and no higher grade statistics to comprehend – just my straight up thoughts on the subject.
So as most of you know, I’m hardly a runner, I have a handful of medals to my name which I am very proud of – and I still find myself puffing and panting for short 5 or 8km runs which is sometimes pretty frustrating I must be honest. And being a woman, a thinker (or maybe more accurately – an OVER thinker in my case) – I often sit back and wonder as to why I haven’t given this whole running thing up yet……and it boils down to this – the following DNA bits about us running ladies in my opinion.
I entered the 10km Tyger Run last year with literally no training, other than maybe having half run and half walked around a soccer field a few times with my previous running club – but I had SUCH a bee in my bonnet, I wanted to do it and thought 10kms didn’t seem too much to ask. So on race morning we arrived super late at Meerendal (being the novices we were), we parked with literally 5mins to spare before the gun went off – but … we were there. During the race, we ran when we could and we walked when we needed to and we didn’t stop other than for a quick selfie or a glug of water. We were 2 determined friends on a mission that morning to achieve our first medal together – and we did it. We couldn’t have been or felt any prouder at the end of that race, we were glowing (yes from the sweat) but also from such pride. The determination that day was and still is a big chunk of me – my goals may have changed now but that feeling remains. And I think DETERMINATION is one characteristic that we all have inside of us.
FLEXIBILITY / ADAPTABILITY:
So in this pic of these beautiful ladies – lies a whole mix of talents. I looked at this photo and it struck me just how different we all are, how we all have such varied running outlooks, achievements and aspirations – from Puffer trail ladies, to Comrades champs, to first time Park Run heroes and so much more. And in that vein, it struck me just how open minded, FLEXIBLE and ADAPTABLE we all are and we probably don’t even realise it half the time. Here we were challenging ourselves on a hike, some trying to do something way out of their comfort zone – but yet still doing it and succeeding at it too. Sometimes one can become so fixated on a particular style or area of running – or just have such a habit with something that you close off to other ideas and just stick to what you know cos it works and it’s generally easier.
This can even go as far as to include things like training programs, running shoes, exercising or warming up and cooling down – where women would tend to be more open minded to adapt to things like that, than the opposite sex would. I think part of the reason is that we are so accustomed to change, not just with running matters but with life in general too – so being flexible with our sport comes almost naturally to us beautiful ladies!
This is a very personal one for me but I think it very much applies to all us amazing females out there. We all have an inner strength, a physical strength, mental and also emotional strength inside each and every one of us. We may not sometimes feel it or believe it – but it’s there.
Recently I was getting tired of people always telling me how “strong” I was for whatever reason – but then I actually started to believe and feel it – and so I decided that this one word was going to be my first tattoo. It is now my personal constant reminder when I’m on the road or when I’m sweating it out with some weights at the gym or even if I’m having an emotional wobbly…..just that one word carries so much meaning for me.
I really believe that our bodies and minds are stronger than we realise, we can handle so much and I don’t think we give ourselves half the credit we deserve sometimes. So believe it ladies… STRENGTH – you’ve got it !!!
We know we are unique and we are proud of it. We are comfortable in our own skin and do not shy away from being who we are. We are happy to run our own race, be it alone on the beach or chugging along in a bus with a group of strangers at a race like I just did on Sunday! I think we stand tall and are quietly proud of the things we achieve as individuals. Sure we can be competitive out there too, we all have that in us somewhere, but we know and accept that we have our own capabilities and can run our own race without having to keep up with the Jones’s. And we do this with our own style, approach, attitude and manner – which just makes us fantastic INDIVIDUALS!
FRIENDLY & SOCIAL
So by no means am I standing here now and saying that you guys are all a bunch of anti social grumpy geezers – BUT – what I am going to emphasize is that the female walkers, runners and athletes out there, bring a different dynamic to the feel of this sport. We’re chatty, we can be giggly, we’re the first ones to smile, wave and chirp at others on the road, the first to dress up and have some fun too – and we have a soft element to us that takes away the “hardness” of running in a way.
It takes all types out there and both sexes sure, but I think us chicks have the upper hand here! I know from my personal experience and from being around at a few races supporting and maybe even running the odd one – the buzz around us ladies is always so contagious! Without us, let’s be honest – it would make for a pretty quiet and dull club!
But on a serious note, there is so much more that I could say as I do believe that we are complex souls and we have so many characteristics, traits, ways, attributes – call it what you like… BUT they are all just different aspects that make us women such diverse, powerful, interesting and awesome humans. I haven’t even touched on things like willpower, perseverance, endurance, positivity, patience, discipline, supportive and so on……we’re just FAR too awesome for me to keep talking here but I think you get the idea anyway…..!!!
Most of you know that I generally speak very openly and straight up – so I can admit that I know I am often very hard on myself, for whatever reason – and I think in general we all need to be kinder to ourselves, be gentler out there and actually believe that the few things I have mentioned tonight – are all very much a part of each and every one of us. Our DNA is amazing ladies!!!
Right – so in all fairness – I also could not stand here now and NOT say something about the opposite sex too!
So – to you rocking guys out there that are our partners, husbands, lovers, friends, relatives and more……I’m sure many of the ladies here tonight will agree with my sentiments. We may not always be easy, we may challenge you, push buttons, drive you to drink and whatever else – but at the end of the day, your love and support means the world to us and knowing that you are proud of our achievements, no matter how big or small, is all that matters. Understanding our DNA will go a long way – and maybe you have heard a few words that ring true tonight about your better halves …. So yes guys, we love and appreciate you loads.
In ending, I will say this to the ladies – stay true to yourselves, have the courage to face those challenges and have fun while doing it all. With regards to your running or even your walking goals – remember that what seems hard now, will one day merely be your warm up.
Your running shoes have magic in them. They have the power to transform a bad day into a good day, frustration into speed, self doubt into confidence – and my favourite bit of magic – the power to turn chocolate cake into muscle !!!
We spend our lives obsessed with and controlled by time. We wake up at a certain time, get the kids to school at a certain time, go to work at a certain time, attend meetings at a certain time, leave work at a certain time, fetch the kids at a certain time, and go to bed (mostly) at a certain time … only for the cycle to repeat itself the next day, and the day after that.
For some this brings structure and we call it routine. For others, it brings monotony and inflexibility and we call it boredom. Some love the structure of time and are hardly ever late, while others operate as if time does not exist. It can be argued that where we fall along this continuum informs how we define time – as an immovable finite point or as an elastic band that can be stretched in perpetuity.
When it comes to running, our obsession with time escalates to the point of being unhealthy. Hang around any group of runners and the conversation invariably leads to, “What is your best time for …?”, “How fast can you run this distance?”, “What speed are you training at?” and so on.
When we run, we are constantly monitoring our time, speed and distance. If we can do a 5km in X time, then we should be able to run a half marathon in Y time. Or alternatively, if we want to achieve a target time in a race, then we need to train intervals or thresholds at a certain pace. Hence, time becomes ingrained into our running psyche, becoming the sole criteria that determines our ability.
But running is not all about time; it’s about far more than that. Running is about enjoyment, regardless of the time it takes to complete a race. It’s about the friendships we make, laughter, stories shared, journeys travelled together and supporting one another. Yet we often lose sight of this.
For example, when we get injured, we immediately want to know how long it’ll be until we can run again, rather than what we should be doing to avoid injury in the future. Time becomes the focal point, the end goal, and we lose sight of what actually is important.
In running, as in life, time will always be there – from the start of the gun to the finish line. What really matters is how we spend that time, how we enjoy ourselves, how we support one another and how we thank others for giving up their time .
So, at your next race, don’t focus on your finishing time. Rather focus on enjoying the camaraderie, helping or encouraging others, and thanking those who give up their time (like the marshals and supporters). Time flies when you’re having fun, so focus on the important things and you might fly as well.
It may sound like a simple question, but when you sit down to write a run race review and reflect deeply on this question (as one does when you are an amateur-athlete-wanna-be-sports-writer), it soon becomes apparent that the answer may resemble a cringe worthy Facebook relationship status. Basically, it is complicated.
So, as any respectable researcher would, I set out to develop a set of criteria to review and compare races I participate in. The result is a set of six race-day, four pre-race and three post-race factors that I believe make a race great.
So how did the Totalsports Women’s Day 10km run fare on my set of criteria? Take a look below….
What made this race stand out for me?
The race was a special one for me for two reasons. One, I got to run with a school friend (we were together from Grade 1 to Grade 12, not that we referred to them as grades back in my day!). This was thanks to the combined efforts of two awesome West Coast ladies – Mary Langebrink and Gillian Grobbelaar. These two superstars helped us track down an entry for Janine and get the substitution process done. Two, issues related to the well-being of women are (for obvious reasons) important to me, and the work #thepinkdrive are doing is truly noteworthy. Don’t believe me, take a look at their stats.
A race will always get kudos from me if results are available online and in (near) real time. If you are a data junkie, results can be viewed here. Filters on the site will help you do quick comparisons and you can download your finisher certificate.
My ever supportive husband and fellow West Coaster, Dries Coetzee, was the official support crew for the day and our official photographer (although somewhat reluctantly). He did a great job and managed to catch most of the West Coast ladies in action. The fact that he treated me to breakfast at Arnold’s after the race did not, I repeat did not, influence my rating of his photography skills.
So now that we have established that this race gets rave reviews for race day experience, how did it stack up in terms of pre- and post-event criteria?
How would you rate this race?
Let us know what you thought of this race by posting your comments below. Oh yes, and what criteria would you add for rating a great race?
Another lovely, well organised race out at Riebeek Kasteel in the Boland farmland district. The vibe was there on a chilly cloudy morning, along with West Coasters in droves. Only 5 of the clubs’ most hard core took on the tough marathon around the mountain, while the half marathon was almost half West Coast with many familiar faces and a few new ones in club colours.
The morning started with a car pool of 5 of us driven by Naz, 2 guys, 3 chatty ladies on the back seat, lots of good conversation for the hours drive, with a drunk driver mounting the pavement and taking out a street sign in front of us in Malmesbury adding to the entertainment. We arrived to find West Coasters in swarms.
The small field of the marathon kicked off at 7.30am, with the half starting at 8am. Apparently there was a 10km and 5km fun run, I didn’t see them or who was participating.
Sean Falconer of Modern Athlete Magazine was his usual chirpy self on the mic at the start and finish, (though he STILL doesn’t know my name despite many interactions over the years, but he knows Naz! Pfft!).
The half kicked off with great a load of cheer down a short steep hill and out of the PPC factory grounds and on to the main road back towards the quint arty town of Riebeek kasteel, passing through the rather uglier Riebeek West on a route dominated by rolling hills that added to the challenge of the race. Zita and I ran together all the way from about 5km pacing a comfortable speed with lots of conversation and cheering other runners to make the time fly past faster, finishing at 2h15m with Thelma having joined us in the last few km’s.
We passed the long wait for our chauffeur Naz to finish with photo’s, selfies and chit chat with the many other West Coasters already finished. I filled a nagging gap with a boerie roll.
In all an enjoyable morning on the road. I only have one complaint – the old stuck record chant of the mess at water stations. This time the organisers to blame as there were quite a few water stations with NOT ONE bin. Many of us do try to run clean and simply refuse to drop our litter on the ground, but when no provisions are made for rubbish it is annoying and awkward. I carried my empty water sachets in my vest pouch but I dropped a cup at a water table and felt really bad for doing so. It’s really not fair to bang on at the runners all the time about litter and even depriving us of water at some races, yet at others the organisers simply don’t do their bit. Ironically Sean Falconer is the campaign leader for RunClean yet at a race he’s MC’ing there’s no bins.
That’s my contribution! Thanks to my team West Coast for many reasons to be a proud team member!
Here’s my pics. Feel free to add more in the comments below.
The idea behind this website is to be a one stop all inclusive information portal for both potential members and existing club members. Besides general club information we also would like the website to be interactive with contributions from the club community. To do this we are welcoming members of the club to become registered contributors to the News & Blog page, we only ask that contributors adhere to a few basic guidelines.
To become a contributor please contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org, I will set up a user name and password with access to compose and upload posts with images and send you some basic instructions to create interesting posts. Of course your access to the website will be limited to posting blogs posts only.
Images: You are welcome to upload some photo’s to your post if they are your own images. If you upload somebody else’s images you need to ensure the owner has given you permission, and you need to credit the person who supplied the images.
Please ensure the images are of decent quality and not too big in file size. In the image settings a width of 300px is suitable, you can select the “Link to Media File” option then the images will open in a full screes lightbox window when clicked.
Links: Text and images can be turned into links to other pages, websites and media files as required. Please ensure firstly that in the link settings you select “opens in a new window”, and CHECK the link to make sure it goes to the intended page and the content is clean!
DO NOT post advertising or inappropriate content, even as a joke. Offenders will have access rights permanently revoked and you will be named and shamed.
Keep the content to running, across all genres, in fact we’d love contributors from road, trail, cross country, walking, track, etc. Not just road races. But this is a running club website, not your personal diary or self-glorification platform. Admin reserves the right to disallow the publishing of non-suitable content to the blog page. All posts will be moderated (checked for suitability, NOT edited!) before going live.
Start your article with some facts about the event. Location, route, distances, hosting club, etc.
Write about some interesting observations about the event such as weather, vibe, the organisation, praises & complaints, etc.
Then tell your personal account from the perspective of a West Coaster.
Add your picture gallery to the bottom of the text content.
Make it interesting, funny, fascinating and not just factual.
Feel free to share your post to social media when it’s published!
If contributors can adhere to these general guidelines the blog content will be consistent and interesting enough for readers to come back for more.
For any queries please contact Justin, Website Admin, on 0617468928 or email@example.com.
The Cape Town Festival of Running half marathon started at 7.30am on the Sea Point Promenade, routed through Bantry Bay to Camps Bay and on towards Bakoven for a while then turned back to finish at the same place as it started. Hosted by the Hewatt running club, the event also featured a 100km and 50km Ultra in loops around Sea Point and a 25km relay all the day before.
The weather on the day was unexpected, with a hot dry Berg wind in the middle of winter runners found themselves struggling a bit in the energy sapping atmosphere, this coupled with a serious lack of water on route and badly congested water tables far and few between many runners got uncomfortably thirsty. That’s my experience and I didn’t speak to another runner who felt otherwise. Something the organisers will need to look at in future. Most of us are all for the RunClean initiative but if the organisers are going to make us queue at water tanks with cups for water they seriously need to streamline the process, because it didn’t work today. I also found registration to be quite disorganized, but it wasn’t something that bothered me. In all the event was fun and sociable on a scenic, not too difficult route and seemed to be well attended and enjoyed, despite the dry mouths!
From a West Coast perspective, the club was once again proudly well represented with many runners in club colours taking on this race with lots of cheer and smiles and camera’s all over. As always it was noticeable how most West Coasters acknowledge each other on the road way more than other clubs seem to do. The new members seemed somewhat taken aback by all the greetings by fellow club mates, but they’ll soon fit in. It’s inspiring what a friendly and encouraging group of athletes West Coast comprises of.
There was no club gazebo at the finish, so the club crowd dissipated off to their Sunday lunch destinations rather fast after the race.
From a personal point of view, a hearty thanks to Tamara Billimore for the company towards the end, both of us struggling with injuries so we quite happily walked and chatted the entire last 5km right through to the finish line, rather comically and unceremoniously.
The West Coast 2018 Comrades Awards evening was held at the club house on Tuesday 24 July 2018. The fantastic and informative presentation and video was created and presented by WCAC Comrades Guru – David Yuill as liquid refreshments flowed copiously in true West Coast style.
The Puffer race is coming up on the 18th August, many of our fellow West Coasters will be participating in this grueling 80km part road, part trail race from Cape Point to the Waterfront, and as is tradition West Coast AC will be hosting the most awesome support station of the day. To do this we need your help, not just in numbers of supporters on the day but also some donations of food and drink are required to support and replenish our runners.
Have a look at the list on the left to see what is required. Make your selection on the form on the right BUT BEFORE YOU HIT SUBMIT PLEASE SEE THE LIST AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE TO CHECK IF YOUR CHOICE HAS NOT ALREADY BEEN DONATED IN FULL! When you hit Submit your selection will also appear on the list of donations at the bottom (refresh the page).
Please bring the non-perishable items to the club on Tuesdays and give it to Evette.
PERISHABLE items are please to be brought to Evette at the club on 16 August.
Do you enjoy creative writing? Are you a little tech savvy with a computer? Do you regularly attend races in West Coast colours?
If yes to the above, we would love for a few club members to volunteer as contributors to the blog on the club website. We need people to write fun, interesting and informative articles about races and events, from a West Coaster’s point of view, including photo’s.
Interested members can contact Justin, the club web developer and administrator. I will give you a set of guidelines to work within and your own custom log-in access to the web portal to compose your blog. All contributions will of course be checked before being published, not to modify your content, rather just as a precaution to ensure inappropriate content and spam is not uploaded onto the website. Trusted contributors will eventually get publish rights.
This is a great way for the club website to be about West Coast, by West Coasters.
We are launching the second season of the Norrie Program with a 1 mile tester at Parow Athletics track on Wednesday 18th & Saturday 21st July at 6pm. Warm up 10 min before as sunset is at 17h57 and light becomes a problem for time keeping.
**UPDATE: Those wanting to join the Norrie program please send myself Malcolm (0832613613) or David Yuill (0724676034) an estimated 1 mile time if you have not managed to do it yet. We need these ASAP. **
The Norrie training program is open for all members to join. There is a joining fee with a 6 months or 12 Month option.
The program is there to guide us with the following
1. Correct running style & form
2. correct training methods (Low heart rate & quality sessions)
3. Programs for short medium & long distance
The programs are designed & structured to improve performance, speed, & endurance while limiting injuries fatigue & burnout.
Who should join?
All new members, Members who would like to achieve a specific goal or time
The 1 mile test will help us group you into similar paced groups for the various groups. These groups are very important as it keeps us motivated, focused & consistent. It’s also way more fun training in groups.
We are looking at kicking off in the next 2 weeks. Those who can’t make the session but want to join pls time yourself preferably on a track and mail your time to us
firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
Looking forward to a great training experience with all.
Please note that as of this week, 17 April, we move our Tuesday evening club runs back to 5.30pm for the winter, because it gets dark earlier and the safety of our members is important.
Try to be at the club by 5.15pm to catch the pre-run announcements, before we head off at 5.30pm for our 5km or 8km pack runs. Then please join us afterwards for a chat and a drink at the bar. The tennis club is not charging us rent, they make a small profit from us supporting their bar, so let’s support our hosts by indulging in a few post-run social drinks.
Time trials will continue every second Tuesday, approximately. Have a look here for more info on time trials and for recent members times, see how you compare to the rest.
Also, for those who take part in the Thursday evening run in the vlei from McPhersons, those also start earlier. 5pm for the 10km and 5.30pm for the 5km. Chat to Rodney Russel for more info (find him on Facebook). The guys usually hang around for half price burgers and a drink afterwards too.
Hello and welcome to the first blog post of the sparkling new West Coast Athletic Club website.
This entire website is under re-development. Please be patient as the various elements of the site are designed and constructed gradually as we progress to build the most awesome running club website in South Africa. The project is mostly a one-man-job, done as a free contribution by a passionate member of the club and running community.
At this stage there is no final date set for completion as various elements come online as time for development permits, thereafter the project will be ongoing as constant updating will be required to keep the website relevant, interactive and attractive to visitors.
Among the features of the site will include:
A bold, interactive and dynamic home page featuring links to interesting and important pages, news items, events, etc.
Full social media integration with the club’s various social media platforms, including live social feeds in the footer of each page.
A comprehensive, interactive events calendar featuring dated links to detailed races and event listings which will contain standardized information such as logistics, a Google map, event details and links to event websites. Our website will become one of the popular race listing sites in the Western Cape.
A regularly updated New feature in a blog format with updates about the club and it’s events, members, etc.
Various training related pages including a blog style “Coaches Corner” featuring fascinating training articles by our in-house coach, Alan Green. Also training programs and events for all styles and levels of running.
An interesting yet not overwhelming photo gallery.
Results of West Coasters from various events.
All other relevant club info such as club history, kit, membership details, intro to the Committee, club standards, fundraising, members testimonies, club awards and recognition, new members welcome and contact information.
Should you wish to contribute any suggestions, questions or criticisms please don’t hesitate to contact the website developer at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll respond as soon as I can.