I finally get to post this report. I’ve been super busy lately, but all a good busy, so life is good!
The Crazy Store Magaliesberg Mountain Challenge was just that…crazy! This was a great event but also really tough.
I arrived at the venue fairly early as I prefer to do. There is a river nearby so the temperature was a cold -1°C when I stopped my car. There was a lot of activity already and the number of runners that arrived grew quickly. The temperature also went up quickly as the day went on.
Beautiful location with the Magaliesberg in the distance. Yes, I did wonder where on the mountain we will run. :)
Registration was quick and easy for me. I received my number and a quality first Ascent shirt and cap. My race number was 35 and I wondered if it would bring luck for the 35km race. In the end the total distance wasn’t 35km and I think the luck went out the window (or down the mountain) with that.
I waited in the car and got all my gear ready. The race started at 09:00 but we had to be on the busses that took us to the start by 08:00.
Eager but nervous runners on the bus.
The bus ride was quick and everyone was talking about the big trail races in South Africa. Mont-Aux-Sources, Otter, Augrabies, Three Cranes… I realized that I was among some serious trail runners and thought maybe I’m actually one of them! Lol! The busses kind of just stopped in the middle of nowhere and it was announced that this is the start area.
The start area.
There was a detailed and very humorous route description where we were told that we were in for a hard day on the mountain.
Race briefing and route description.
Beautiful view of the mountain from the start.
Then finally we were on our way! There was a TV helicopter that made such a loud noise that no one could hear the start, but we did see the front runners take off.
On our way! Straight to the mountain.
The first 4km was on a farm road towards the mountain. This was a great way to spread the field out a bit before the single trail up the mountain. It was a truly beautiful morning in the bush with the mountain slowly getting closer.
To the mountain…
…and onto the trails.
Once on the side of the mountain the climb started in all seriousness. Talking became less and sweat started dripping. This was no easy task.
Serious climbing starts.
The view was already spectacular.
The trail zigzagged to the top and walking was the most popular way forward and upward. I felt good, but had some strange stomach cramps that worried me a bit. It was not the kind of cramps that wanted to send me running for a bush, but almost like a stitch right in the middle of my tummy. I tried to forget about the pain in my stomach by focusing on the amazing mountain we were on. I knew this is what I like to do. This is where I want to be. This is who I am. Even with the stomach pains I was a very happy man!
Still going up…
The scenery was breathtaking, but also gave a sense of harshness. Although it was beautiful, it reminded me that this is Africa and life out here can be hard. I got the feeling that only the strongest will survive out here.
Over the top of the first climb.
Once over the first climb we got a glimpse of the other side of the mountain. More beautiful views and the mountain itself is unbelievable. It is dry at the moment and nothing green is anywhere. Just rocks and dry grass everywhere. It has its own beauty.
On the other side.
It wasn’t long before we reached the next climb. Runner’s started to spread out thinly now. I realized that this will be a long, slow day.
Second climb of the day.
In good company…note the tattoo…
We finally reached the top of the mountain and followed a fairly level trail along the top for about 12km. It was lovely running here, but the pain in my stomach made running very uncomfortable and I had to slow down when running. It was more frustrating than anything else.
Trail on top of the mountain.
It was beautiful but the terrain was tough. There was no time to relax. Loosing concentration on a trail like this means one thing only…fall! Luckily I didn’t :) ! I managed this trail without a fall and only slipped and stumbled a few times.
Concentration needed on this trail.
We went up and down a few times as we ran along the mountain range. The grass was burnt in a few places and the sense of dry and harsh surroundings was very strong. No place for the weak here!
On we go!
The run along the top of the mountain was undulating, going up and down at times but with no serious climbs or descents. We were all waiting for the real descent of the mountain. We were warned that this would be dangerous.
At some point we reached another hard climb. This was the steepest of the day so far and I could feel I’ve been doing some serious running up to here. My legs felt this third hard climb.
Steepest and hardest climb of the day.
Made it to the top! Check that view!
We passed this rock going down the other side.
See what I mean by the harshness of the mountain?
We went through some very beautiful areas before we finally reached the last and long descent down the mountain. I was still battling with the cramps/pains in my stomach and knew going down would be very uncomfortable.
Top of the descent.
The descent was not as dangerous as I expected but I still took it very easy, making sure I didn’t fall. The stomach cramps were not helping my progress down the mountain either. I still don’t know what it was, but it was really bad at times. It drained my energy for sure and it was getting quite warm as well. On top of the mountain there was wind to cool us down, but on the side and at the bottom there was no wind. The trail went through some bush and grass towards a church at the bottom.
Some bush and grass.
Finally reaching the Greek Church.
We joined the 20km course at some point here and the water point they had at the church waited for the 35km runners as well. This was a relief for many runners. The mountain was dry and hot and I think even the organizers realized that the run was not safe without any water point somewhere.
The 20km water point waited for the 35km runners.
From the church the route was mainly flat and downhill towards the river with about 10km to go to the finish. I was tired but ok. My stomach made running difficult so my progress was slow with lots of walking in the last 10km. It was warm and I enjoyed the parts where we had some shade. I’m used to winter training at the moment and although it wasn’t extremely hot, I could certainly feel the heat.
Towards the river.
Typical South African bush in the winter. I love this!
I ran and walked the last few kilometers until I finally reached the river. I was moving slow so it felt very long. I was glad to see the water through the trees.
Finally at the river.
We followed a path next to the river for a while and then I got to run over this floating bridge!
This floating bridge was fun!
We then followed the path on the other side of the river towards the finish. We ran through some reeds…
…and there was this green spot…
...and more "reed tunnels"...
Then we had one more water crossing (no floating bridge this time) to get through. This was just deep enough to get the shoes and socks soaked properly.
A few more turns and then the finish was in sight. I was happy to see the finish. My stomach was still a problem and I was really tired now. A quick photo stop and then I crossed the finish line. Really happy that I was done but also happy that I could run this great race.
A tough day, but I’ll be back next year for sure! Thanks for reading!
After my previous post about my upcoming trail race I received a few questions and comments about carrying what I will need. This 35km trail race requires that you carry everything with you as there are no water points or aid stations on the route.
So what do I do?
I have this fantastic hydration pack that also doubles as a backpack. It has many pouches and I can really fit a lot into this.
I will carry 1.5L of water in the bladder and also 2 x Powerade, 1 x chocolate milk, some energy jellies (Energade), long sleeve wind resistant top, cell phone in waterproof bag and a PB sandwich in the hydration/backpack.
I’ve carried this many times in trail races and during long training runs before, so I’m 100% comfortable with this load and also know exactly what I pack where.
I will also have my trusty fuel belt with me loaded with some gels and Gu and of course my camera.
So that’s it, quite simple. I do train with this often and think it is essential to do so.
Next Saturday, 20 August, I'll be running the Crazy Store Magaliesberg 35km Mountain Challenge. I'm using this as my final long training run before the Mont-Aux-Sources 50km Challenge on 10 Sept. This is the first year they have the 35km race and I have an idea I am in for some "hard fun" if I can put it that way.
Here is the latest race information that was mailed to runners:
Dear Crazy Runner
The inaugural Crazy Store Magaliesberg Challenge is just around the corner.
In order to make it a day on the trails to remember, here are a few handy pointers and general information to help you on your way.
The date of the race is Saturday 20th August, just in case you have forgotten to train and need to spend the next weekend cramming.
Race registration starts at 7am. This is where you collect your race numbers and First Ascent racing Tee and Cap.
If you are doing the 35km, please be there early as you will be teleported to your race starting point.
8am, 35km runners climb onto busses, horse carts and tractors to transfer to their start.
9am, 35km Start in the Bush (warms up for a few k's, then a torturous mountain climb, then cruise across the Magaliesberg) 9am, 20km Start at the Base camp venue of Van Gaalens (a large circular route).
9.30am, 10km Start, also from base.
12 -1pm, estimateprize giving starts. Lots of lucky draws from First Ascent, Salomon and more ......
Race Day Info:
You are encouraged to carry all your own nutrition and hydration for the entirety of the run.This means that the 35km runners must carry minimum 1 litre with them, (20km runners advised to carry 1 litre), and a few bars, biltong, dried fruit, gummy chews etc - whichever gets those rockets firing.
10km will have 1 water table, 20km 2 water tables, 35km zero water tables.
As the 35km route goes into remote areas, you must carry a wind breaker and charged cell phone. Add the emergency number at reg.
Race numbers to be worn on the front of your running shirt, club numbers are not required.
There is a kiddies jungle gym and big grassy area in front of the restaurant at Van Gaalens race venue. Bring the family along and enjoy a relaxed morning out whilst waiting for sweaty mom or dad's arrival. Restaurant on site. (Free Kiddies run at 10am).
The Crazy Store is the title sponsor. Do not take this lightly! The best and ZANIESToutfits will be rewarded at prize giving. Think out of the box!
Good luck with your final preparations.
Eat some pasta,
I am just wondering why the 10km gets a water point, the 20km two but the 35km zero! What's wrong with this picture? Ha, the remote areas I suppose. That brings me to my second question. 35km runners are required to carry a cell phone. Will there be cell phone reception in these remote areas?
Only the day will tell, but I'm sure it will be some awesome fun. I can't wait for this one!
Have a super weekend everyone! I'm running 9km on the road tomorrow and a 33km trail LSD on Sunday. Happy running!
Yesterday I ran the Alberton Rietvlei Farm 15km Trail Race. I ran the race last year and enjoyed it a lot so I was keen to do it again this year even though I ran a hard 28.5km trail the day before. I wanted to get some tired legs training in so this was a great opportunity to do so.
The morning was cold with some clouds and wind. This race is close to home so my club had quite a few runners that braved the cold.
Despite the cold weather there were a good number of runners for the 15km run. There was also a 4km run for those who didn’t feel like a longer run.
Waiting at the start.
I was happy when we started as I knew I would warm up quickly. This was indeed the case and by the time we reached the first climb I was sweating already.
The first 2km or so is run through grass fields and then the route goes into the hills with more technical trail to negotiate.
Through the grasslands.
Not long before the trail becomes more technical.
A few traffic jams early on.
I was feeling good but kept things easy as I knew my legs would feel the previous day’s long run later on. The route is not difficult but there are a few testing little climbs along the way. By the time I reached the more difficult part of the course, the sun was out and it was becoming a beautiful morning.
Not many clouds left.
One of the steeper climbs.
Once over this steep climb there is a steep descent as well and I tested my legs while going up and then down here. I could feel the week’s training but also that I’m getting stronger. At the bottom there is a lovely run through a small forest with lots of twists and turns. I was feeling really happy while I ran through the trees.
Into the trees…
At the 9km mark we headed out of the trees for a loop of about 2km before we headed back towards the trees.
Leon, one of my club mates, at 9km.
Back into the trees.
Stream crossing on a mountain bike bridge.
Nearly 12km done.
At 12km we ran onto a dirt road and started the 3km run back to the finish. I was a bit tired but knew the rest of the run was nice and easy. The road took us back to the grasslands and the trail winds its way through here down to the finish.
Onto the dirt road.
Last little uphill.
Lovely trail through the grass.
We crossed one more mountain bike “bridge” and then it was a short run to the finish.
Mountain bike “bridge”.
I finished in 01:49:45 and was happy about how I felt.. This was the end of a 95km (59mile) week and I was tired but good.
We received a medal and a hand towel with some other goodies that my son claimed. A great, well organized race that I enjoyed very much indeed!
Medal and hand towel.
My trail training for the mountain challenges ahead is 100% on track and I’m really looking forward to the rest of this year for some awesome trail fun!