"

Over training is over rated, rest better so that you can train even more" - Nick Yster Bester


Monday, December 19, 2011

How I Peed On A Leopard

OK everyone. The 15th point of my previous post is explained below. Not that big a story but still one to tell...

How I Peed on a Leopard

Years ago I was fortunate enough to go on a 5 day hiking trip with a friend of mine. I had some contacts in the army that allowed us to do a hike on army property. The army bought 7 game farms and turned one into a military base. The other 6 were merged for later use but remained “untamed” for many years.

We decided to do a hike that would take us over the six game farms and just slept where we found a good spot. It was an amazing experience and we encountered lots and lots of game very close up. The best part was the feeling of total freedom we felt the whole time.


On the third day we decided to have lunch on top of a mountain with a spectacular view. My friend was busy preparing lunch and I was standing at the edge of a ravine admiring the unbelievable view. There was a ledge about 3m (9ft) below me that went all the way along the top of the mountain we were on.

I decided this ledge would be a perfect spot to pee on. Yep, I was a free man in my early twenties and this appealed to me…J So I did the P thing 3m down while admiring the great view. The next moment we heard a growl and a leopard suddenly got up right below me where I was doing the P thing…right on him! He got up with a growl, looked at me, and then walked away on the ledge…not pleased at all.



We didn’t hang around to see where he went or what he did next. We had our lunch an hour and a lot of kilometers later. I can’t remember if I completed the P thing or not. I can confirm that at least I didn’t do more than the P thing…it might have been close.

And that's how I peed on a leopard!

Thanks for reading! Have a super week everyone!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

21 Random Things About Me

AJH at Age Groups Rock did a 21 Random Things About Me post a while back and I thought it a good idea to do the same. So here are 21 random things about me.

1. I am a very big stats fanatic.
2. I’m seen as quite the nerd.
3. I have very green fingers, everything I touch grow out of control.
4. I drink a lot of coffee.
5. I don’t drink tea at all…never!
6. Although I live in Johannesburg, I’m stopped very often on my way to work for cattle crossing the road. I love it!
7. I breed tropical fish and have literally hundreds of baby fish at home.
8. I love chocolate cake and sometimes bake my own for carbo loading before an important race.
9. I love chocolate milk and use it as my recovery drink.
10. Living in Africa is special for me.
11. I don’t like eating out and can easily skip restaurants for ever.
12. I love nature and being outdoors makes me very happy.
13. I love swimming but hate cycling so I stick to running.
14. I have completed 4 triathlons including one half iron man.
15. I accidently peed on a wild leopard once – true story!
16. The radio in my car has never been used although I use the CD player sometimes.
17. I finished my first cross country race with a broken arm.
18. I ran my second cross country race with my arm in a cast.
19. I’m the youngest of 4 children.
20. I don’t need much sleep and get by with 4.5 hours a day comfortably.
21. My best time for a marathon is 3:48.

Thanks for reading and happy running everyone!

Monday, November 28, 2011

RAC Tough One - Short Feedback

Hi all

I'm crazy busy at the moment so just a quick summary of Sunday's 32km (20 mile) race.

I had a great run! The weather was not bad at all and it was not as warm as it sometimes is in November. There was also some wind that cooled things down a bit.

I was taking things slow and easy, just hoping for a sub 4 hour finish. At halfway I was feeling so good I could hardly believe it and this was the same a few kms later.

I kicked things up a bit and ran a 12min negative split! Yep, I ran a negative split! Something that hardly ever happens to this slow runner.

I finished in 03:27:09 and is very happy with that.

Detailed report with photos as soon as I have the time.

Work is crazy and then there is a wedding on 14 January that I will tell you more about at some stage. :D

Have a super week everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Charity Announcement

Hi all! Sorry for being so absent but things are really crazy on my side. Good news is that running and everything else in my life is going well and strong.


I have joined the Sudan4Jesus team for the 2012 Comrades Marathon. Joining a religious charity was not planned but literally shown to me as being where I was needed. I've never been ashamed to tell people I'm a devoted Christian and it is time to give back in the way I love to what matters in my life.



To me this is a leap of faith and doing so publicly is also part of what I need to do. I know some people won't like this and that's just to bad for them. I'm not changing and this blog is not changing but I will certainly give the space and time required to this journey. Sudan is probably one of the worst places for anyone to live on our planet. If I can make a difference I will.


I'm running the RAC Tough One (32km/20miler) this coming Sunday. It is one of the harder races around but I'm really looking forward to it. I will be running in my new club vest for the first time. The club t-shirt I've been running in is just to warm for summer racing. Even if I don't run good I will at least look good!



Happy running everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Foto For Friday

A lot of you would have seen this photo of Oscar Pistorius (South Africa's Blade Runner) on Face Book. It inspires me so much I want to share it here as well.


Have a great Friday and super weekend all!

Monday, November 7, 2011

MIA for all the right reasons

I’ve been MIA a bit and I do apologise. I do have some excuses though.

The two of us…
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…have been so busy with these two…
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…and these two…
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…as well as this guy…
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…that I’ve been out of the blog loop for some time.

Add to that the 7 dogs, 4 cats and zillions of fish and you can see why things have been a little crazy.

I also took ownership of this…
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…and all this is part of the upcoming plan to get all the above into one happy family. Yep, things are moving here by me.

Between it all running is still going well and I’m training quite hard for some upcoming races. In general I can really say life is good.

Hope life is good there by you as well!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Difficult Decisions are Usually the Right Ones to Make

I made a very difficult decision this morning. I will no longer run the Golden Gate Challenge this weekend. It was not easy to do this but I know it was the right decision.

Don’t worry, nothing is wrong and I’m not injured. I just don’t feel I’m ready. I know most people will say go for it and you will be ok and so on, but this is different. I know I am only 80% ready for this and because it is a 3 day race away from home, I have decided not to go and get myself into trouble. I’m listening to my body telling me I should give it a break from a heavy race that can break it down completely.

I’ll be honest, some of this has to do with my bad mugging experience of a few weeks ago. I decided that day to keep things closer to home for a while. This doesn’t mean I won’t do any away races. If I was 100% ready and the race was not as challenging, I would have been there. However, I am not ready to have my loved ones worry about me all the time. We all realized that day how we must treasure every moment together. Having them worry about me for three days does not feel right to me.

Anyway, enough babbling. I don’t feel ready for this race and decided to rather give it a skip. I have already adjusted my training for my next goal, the RAC Tough One (32km/20miles) on 27 November.

Happy running everyone!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Foto Friday

With the Golden Gate Challenge happening next week I thought I’d share a photo of my first visit to Golden Gate National Park with you. In 1964 I went there the first time, not to run, not hike, but to ride some horses!

I was born a natural in the saddle…

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Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 Soutgate 15km Race Report

This past Sunday I ran the Southgate 15km race. I like to support this race as it is one of the few close to home races for me every year. I always try to support the local running clubs.

I ran this race as a training run at the end of a fairly hard training week to end the week on a total of 89.7km (55.7miles), so time or pace did not matter at all.

The race started at 6:30 and I was glad it was only a short drive.

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Waiting at the start.

It was a beautiful morning and I knew it was going to be a warm day. The early start was appreciated by everyone. After a short chat with some friends at the start we were on our way.

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On our way!

I did a 22.5km trail run the day before and was keen to see what my legs would feel like. I was happy that they weren’t sore in any way and just a little tired on the hills.

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Beautiful morning in the suburbs.

The route goes through all the areas where I grew up and that is another reason why I like to run this race. Many parts of it runs on roads that were my training routes many years ago.

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I was baptised in this church 48 years ago. Nice to run here!

The first 7km of the race is flat with some downhill. From here to about 11km is a steady climb with one or two hills testing runners a bit. I was feeling good but could certainly feel the week’s training on the hills. I never looked at my watch during the race and just ran comfortably all the way. Soon I reached 11km and the hills were something of the past.

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11km done and the hills behind us.

I felt good but knew I was running quite slow. I guessed my pace at about 6:30min/km. Overall I was happy that I had no problems or niggles anywhere after a week of solid training. I was happy with my run and just cruised over the last 3km.

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A last little bump over a bridge.

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Then over the finish line.

I was a little slower than I thought 6:32min/km and finished in 1:38. I guessed I would finish in 1:36. The legs were probably a little more tired from the trails I did on Saturday. I still love that I am able to run a race without ever looking at my watch. Overall I’m pleased and feel training and running is going well for me. We received a carry bag and medal for the effort. All was good and I was back home at 08:45 again.

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Bag and medal to show off.

I only saw later when I logged this race that I reached a mini milestone on the day. This was my 350th 15km race and my total number of races now stand at 1358.

Thanks for reading! Run well my friends!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Golden Gate Challenge Preview

Before I get to the preview I just want to thank everyone for there feedback and advice regarding the walking poles. I’ve decided to go without them because I have not been training with them. I’ve done quite ok without walking poles on many mountains before and I’m sure I will be fine.

Now on to the Golden Gate Challenge…

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This is a three day stage race that is run on 28, 29 and 30 October. Registration and pre-race briefing is at 18:30 on 27 October. I will be sleeping in the runner’s village in my allocated two man tent. This will be our base camp and we run a different route from here every day. This will basically be a run to the top of a different mountain every day. Distances are 27km, 27km and 17km for a total of 71km.

Watch out for….
  • Ticks – please search all possible places for these little buggers!
  • Mountain edge: there are some big mountains and sometimes the trail go close to the edge so please be mindful and careful
  • Rocks – enough of these around, lift those feet!
Heat & Dehydration –drink enough and bring some sunscreen. Please note that Day 1 is very remote and you will be without water between the checkpoints for a long time – hence the compulsory equipment rule for a Camelback or water bottles.

The route description are from the race organizer.

Day 1: 27km
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Route Description: Taking on Ribbok Trail


Today you will follow the very well known Ribbok Hiking Trail – 27km’s of pretty magical stuff but also hard work! We thought we’ll get the hardest day of the 3 out of the way – so take it easy there are some big mountains waiting for you!

Look out for some waterfalls, rock pools, Eland, Ribbok and loads of other game! (Unfortunately we will not be able to take you through Cathedral Cave due to it being really unsafe) The route is narrow and some places really rocky so watch your step.

You have two relatively big climbs, the biggest one of the two is right at the start - Generaalkop! Other nicknames such as Kneebrake, Moedbreek, Hartbreek and Inbreek should give you an indication of what this mountain is all about! All I can say is one step at a time.... and it’s pretty good getting to the other side of the mountain and into the valley!

The second half is a bit easier but know that you still have some climbing to do before descending into the rest camp. It is not nearly as hard as the first climb, but it will definitely test the legs. The route will also take you over the legendary Brandwag mountain that is signature to Golden Gate.

Day 2: 27km
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Route Description: Exploring little Serengeti


So today we will start off with a bit of a drive to the start but as with all things the bigger the effort the bigger the reward! An hour bus trip will take us right to the other “unexplored” side of the park. The side where hikers and public are not allowed....except for you off course. So please bear with us on the bus, the road is bumpy!

I'm not gonna talk too much about the start as I'm sure many of you will so hate me for the first 5km’s, but then again I’ll be heading back to the Race Village and you will have about 22km’s to cool down! The start is hard. Big rocky climb to the top. ...but once at the top “Welcome to the Little Serengeti”. You will be greeted by herds of Zebra, Eland, Bontebok, Hartebeest, Wldebeest....as far as you can see. Vast mountains and rolling hills awaits as you meander your way around the park.

Old Jeep track and management roads will make the running a bit easier and will be a welcome treat after Day 1’s single track only running!

At about 15km’s you will take a turn towards the Highlands Mountain Retreat where you will take on some single track and some good climbing. Once at the top you will have the best view ever of the whole park and you can look forward to a long downhill all the way home!

Day 3: 17km
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Route Description: Just love the sunrise! For every up there’s a down...

Waky waky, rise and shine!

It’s up and then down..... A bigger uphill and bigger downhill I’m sure you’ll never find on any race, but then again so is the views. We’re taking you right to the top 2 438 m!

Yep it’s a big climb to the top, a bit down, a bit up again and then you can enjoy the best sunrise right on top of the mountain. Your breakfast Watertable will await you here – so take some time, breath easy and just love life!


As you make your way down the mountain you can truly look forward to a well deserved event trophy as you just conquered one of the hardest trail runs in the country....

Enjoy Breakfast!

So that is it for the route descriptions. I’ll post more details and a bit about my preparations for this race. I can’t wait and really think this will be a fantastic adventure.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Walking/Trekking Poles

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I am in the process of preparing for the Golden Gate Challenge, a three day mountain race at the end of the month. I recently received the final race information which includes a list of “what to bring”.


What to bring:
  • Headlight for Day 3 (compulsory)
  • Bright Waterproof light weight jacket (Compulsory in misty conditions)
  • Whistle (compulsory equipment)
  • Warm sleeping bag & sheet for the mattress
  • Hydration System (Camel Back) (Compulsory equipment for Day 1. No less than 2L)
  • Sunscreen
  • Walking poles – recommended (some steep ascents and descents)
  • Extra socks – might be a good idea to carry a pair of dry socks in your backpack. There are some river crossing on some of the days and it might be wise to change socks after these.
  • Sense of humor :)
I have all the items on the list except the walking poles. I have never used walking poles before and don’t know if I should invest in a pair or not. I believe they are easy to carry when not in use and should not be a problem.


Any advice? Have you ever used walking poles?


Thanks and happy running everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Golden Gate, South Africa

A month from today, on 27 October, I will be at the Golden Gate National Park for the Golden Gate Challenge. This is a three day event over 71km (44miles). Basically each day is a run to the top of a different mountain.


I'll post a full preview later but for now I just want to show you South Africa's Golden Gate.


This is it...


Yes, I'll run over that rock on my way to the mountain top in the background.

Happy training and racing everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thanks & Throwback Thursday

The blogging and whole online community never seizes to amaze me. The words and encouragement I received after my previous post are overwhelming. Thank you so much everyone, I really appreciate it. I am already on my way back to my happy place.


I haven't done a Throwback Thursday in a while so here is one for today.


This is the oldest photo of me running that I own...


1973 - I was 10 years old.


Happy running my friends!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reality Struck Me Down

I think I have a very good life and I am really blessed that I can do a lot of things I really love with the people I really love. I have more than I need and do a lot of things some people will never be able to do. For all of this I am always very grateful.

Lately, my life has been fantastic. I’ve been really busy but all in a very good way. I’ve been in a very good space. On Saturday morning reality struck me when I was ripped out of this happy space.

I was at a shopping mall and had to go to the men’s room. As I walked in a man walked in behind me and the next moment another stood in front of me and put a gun to my forehead. Another guy appeared next to me and said: “we are taking your money now”. They took my wallet and searched me for a phone. By chance I actually forgot my phone in the car. They got really upset and angry that I didn’t have a phone on me. The one guy ripped my watch from my arm and they disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

I was totally stunned, but also happy that I was ok and not hurt in any way. The whole time I stood there with the gun to my head I thought about my 10 year old son. What will happen to him? How will he cope if he gets the news that I’ve been shot were the thoughts rushing through my head.

I realize as things sink in that my happy space is gone. Although everybody and everything I love is still there and we are all unharmed, I am at the moment in a very bad space. I always have a very cool and calm head and this probably helped me during the ordeal. I do however feel a lot of emotions I don’t usually carry with me surrounding me at the moment. This includes anger, disappointment, nervousness and probably even some hate.

Reality struck and it struck me in a lot of places. I’ll be back in my happy space and I will do all the lovely things I always do. I will do it with the people I love and I will be a lot closer to them than before. But somehow I feel there will always be this bad spot in my happy place. An opening where bad things can jump in at any time…

Be grateful and love the people around you. Keep them very close to you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge 2011 Report

Those of you who know me on FB would have seen all my Mont-Aux-Sources photos and also know that I had quite a bad experience with dehydration. It was still an incredible experience to run up and down that mountain.


When we arrived on Friday it was very warm and Saturday morning was no different. I knew I was in for a hard day. I’m not great in the heat and coming out of winter training also didn’t help. At 10km to go a medic actually pulled me off the course. This has never happened to me before. Usually I’m good at faking what I really feel like, so I must have looked terrible!


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Waiting for the start…

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On our way!

The beauty of this race cannot be described in words. From the start it is a 10km climb up the Mahai valley to Witsies Hoek resort. It is tough but the views make the climb feel easy.


Going up the Mahai Valley…


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Reaching the Mahai Falls is my first milestone of the race. I had a quick drink of the lovely water. From here it is on to Witsies Hoek and the first check point.


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Mahai falls.

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Witsies Hoek in the distance.

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Arriving at Witsies Hoek.

As I was putting my camera away after taking the photo above, I did a face plant in the grass. No harm done and I was just happy I planted my face on grass and not some rock.

From Witsies the route follows a dirt road for 9km to the Sentinel car park. This is a tough section and it was literally heads down and push forward.


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Dirt road to the Sentinel car park.

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Beautiful view of the Sentinel…still a long way to go.

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Nothing easy on this road.

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Beautiful views to keep the spirits high.

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Finally reaching the checkpoint at the car park

I arrived at the car park feeling reasonable and aware of the heat. I was a bit worried about the amount of water I could carry to the top but we were assured that the Tugela River was flowing on top of the mountain and water was no problem.


Note: Next year I will send extra fluid supplies in a drop bag to the car park.


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View from the car park…beautiful!

From the car park it is a very difficult climb up to the chain ladders. The route goes up the zig zags and it is really very hard and steep at this point. The thin air also comes into play and many runners stop from time to time to get their breathing under control.


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Trail towards the zig zags.

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As if we didn’t know…

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Runners above me on the zig zags.

The views here are breathtaking and it is worth spending some time to take it all in.


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Where I came from. Note the car park in the distance.

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Stunning!

The journey to the chain ladders felt long and I was really tired at times. Once I was over the zig zags I recovered nicely and I was happy to reach the ladders.


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Approaching the chain ladders.

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Runners on the ladders. The wind was very strong, making the ladders a bit more challenging…certainly not for the faint hearted.

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Taking a breather at the top of the chain ladders while admiring the spectacular view.

After the ladders there is one more climb and then you are at the top. The mental victory of reaching the summit is awesome, but I could feel the heat and strong, dry wind was taking its toll on my body.


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Great to be at the top…running towards the amphitheatre.

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Top of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre.

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No words needed…

I was slower than I hoped to be so there wasn’t much time to admire the incredible scenery. The run goes over the top of the Tugela falls and then there is one final climb to the top of the Gully.


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Top of the Tugela falls.

The climb to the top of the Gully was tough and I was quite tired and very hot. This felt strange as there was still some snow visible in a few places. The wind was still dry and very strong.


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I was hot and dehydrating even though there was still snow in some places.

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Me at the top of the Gully, the highest point of the route.

Going down the Gully is tricky and a bit dangerous. There are lots of loose stones and rocks and the ground is very slippery. Lucky for us the mountaineering rescue squad on hand provides a rope to help you down.


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Looking down from the top of the Gully.

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Easy does it. The descent is steep and long.

I was relieved when I reached the bottom of the Gully. It felt as if it took forever and I was very hot and tired. I had no water left and the wind was blowing me off my feet. I started my run back to the car park.


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Running back to the car park.

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Downhill, but still tricky.

The wind was incredibly strong and it was very warm. I was dehydrating fast and by the time I reached the car park the damage was done.


I had some water and coke and refilled my hydration pack. I then started the run down the gravel road back to Witsies Hoek. On the gravel road I died a slow death. I could not drink anything and vomited the moment I took in anything. This continued all the way down to the checkpoint.


At some point I took this photo…


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I have no idea why I took it or what I was thinking. I didn't take any more photos after this and have no idea why. I don’t remember much of this and thinking back I can understand why the medic was adamant to pull me off the course at 40km.


Running at the top of the amphitheatre was the highlight of my day. My legs are 100% and this is great...training is paying off. Doing a very tough run in the heat on winter training was difficult, but it also made me stronger for the next challenge. I already have my strategy for next year’s race worked out.


Thanks for reading!