"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Monday, 1 August 2011

25km Rustenburg Mountain Race Report

On Saturday we travelled to Rustenburg for the annual 25km Mountain race. I love this race and always have a good time there.

Friday was one of the coldest days of the year so I was worried Saturday morning would be very cold. We were pleasantly surprised when we got to Rustenburg and the weather was perfect for running!

Waiting at the start…not too cold at all.

The race starts and finishes at one of the local schools. The first 4km is run through the suburbs, gradually climbing towards the mountain. The view of the mountain from the neighbourhood is really lovely.

View of the mountain shortly after the start.

I felt good from the start, but knew to keep it slow and easy as the climb to the top of the mountain is long and brutal.

Getting closer. Beautiful morning!

Although this is a mountain race, it is not a trail race and you run on road and a concrete 4 x 4 track the whole time. The race runs through a nature reserve so there is no traffic for most of the way, splendid!

Traffic free route, awesome!

The real climb starts as you enter the nature reserve and hit the concrete 4 x 4 trail that winds its way to the top. This is about 2.5km of hard slogging.

Into the reserve and onto the concrete 4 x 4 trail.

The real climbing starts.

I was feeling great and actually passed people all the way to the top…what? Me passing people…yep it really happened! The bush and the view make the suffering worth it. It was great to be out there on a fresh morning.

Great views all the way to the top.

There are some really steep areas on the course and every time you feel it's getting easier, you round a corner and see the next very steep part. Towards the top the climb is steeper and harder and your legs really feel the effort.

Great views help the sore legs.

Around 6km the course is really steep and it also looks as if it might be the last real climb. Luckily I know the route well from previous years and knew the climb carries on up to 7km.

Really steep part of the course.
6km done! 1km to go to the top.

Once you reach the top of the tough climb at 6km you see this…

More hard climbing.
And more…
But so worth it!
Nearly there!
We all felt like kings and queens of the mountain.

View at the top to the other side.

Once at the top there is a quick and sore descent until you join the road that runs through the reserve. From here the course is undulating with a few more hard hills thrown in.

Running through the nature reserve. More hills waiting.

The area is really beautiful and it is always nice to run where you don’t see buildings, cars and even many people.

Lovely route through the game reserve.

I saw some Zebra and also Blesbok. It was beautiful and I was feeling great. Just before halfway I was joined by a runner from the Voortrekker Monument Running Club. He knew me because he reads my blog. Thanks Jeandré! We chatted the rest of the way and ran together to the finish. I enjoyed chatting to Jeandré and the time really went by very quickly.

Still in the reserve.

More beautiful views.

Eventually the route starts going down again. There are a few hard climbs up to about 3km to go, but in general it is nice to know you have to get down to the finish.

Looking back you can see one of the long downhills we ran.

The last few kilometers are run on the road through the suburbs again, back to the finish at the school. There are still some great views of the mountain.

Jeandré with 4km to go. Another tough hill.

I started feeling better and better towards the finish and was happy. This gave me confidence for my upcoming goal on 10 September. The 50km Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge. It was probably the downhills towards the end but I really felt good and was almost rested by the time we finished.
We ran over a pedestrian bridge and then took the last few turns back to the school.

Over the bridge.

We cruised in and I was happy that we made it well under 3 hours. My goal was 3 hours so the 2:55:59 finishing time was perfect.

Jeandré and I at the finish.

We received a medal, a 1kg bag of maize meal and a pocket of oranges. I am extremely happy with my run and now go into my peek training with confidence.

The medal.

One of my better races for sure. I was recovered by the time I sat down and did a nice 10km run the following morning. All good for the challenges ahead.

Thanks for reading!


Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

Looks really tough but that view is amazing!

Karen said...

That looks a sensational run. Well done you.

Jennifer said...

Great run Johann. It was almost like a birthday present for you! Great pictures and a good report. Enjoyed it!

Black Knight said...

Yes, you are the king of the mountain. The race looks very very tough.
And of course to "recover" (???) you made a workout the following morning!!!!!
Rugby: I hope that the 3 Nations, for SA, is only a way to find the best team for september. But that Dan Carter is a devil!!!!!

Amy said...

Looks gorgeous and you did great - sounds like you really enjoyed it!
Thanks for the encouragement - if we decide to do the Dodentocht I might just need to ask you for training tips ;-)

ultra collie said...

looks like a perfect day for running..lovely views johann..

Andre said...

Well done brother ! Looks like a tough but very nice run.

misszippy said...

Pictures never do the steepness of hills justice. So--the fact that that climb looks incredibly steep tells me it's a monster! But what views! Awesome job Johann!

Amy said...

Looks like a beautiful course! The hills would be worth it for that view.

Molly said...

that road up the mountain looked great to run on, can't get over how blue the sky is : )

Char said...

Those hills look brutal. What a challenging race! Does anyone manage to run the whole way?

A-Pi (Peter) said...

The South Africa tourism board should get in touch with you. Your photos make me really want to go race there!

Jim ... 50after40 said...

Man, you ALWAYS have the most awesome photo recaps of races. I really enjoy them! It's chilly here too ... about 104F, with a windchill of 106F ... brrrrr!

ajh said...

First what are blesbok? I think it would be amazing to see zebra while out running.

How nice you had perfect weather.

And thanks for all the pics.

Marlene said...

Congratulations on reaching your goal and another strong, smart race! Looks beautiful out there.

Average Woman Runner said...

Wow! I'm glad you took photos along the way, they make the course look as beautiful as it is intimidating...and I'm sure they don't even do the beauty or hills justice :)

Jill said...

What a neat medal!

Good lord those hills make my mountain look like ant hills!! You'll definitely be ready to tackle Pikes Peak and Leadville :).

Nice job on passing people going up and smashing your 3-hour time goal, woohoo!!

Lesley Looper said...

Congratulations on finishing a challenging course under your goal time! Nice swag at the end, too! I really enjoyed your race report and photos, as usual.

Laura said...

Gorgeous run!
Great race and medal as well.

Caratunk Girl said...

WOW! That looks like a fabulous run!! SO pretty! Love the medal!

Teamarcia said...

Congrats on a great run! What a beautiful, crisp day. But oh what brutal incline.

Lauren said...

Looks like a super fun race. Loved the pics. Some of them could have been taken in Southern California. And Zebras? That's pretty awesome. Congrats on another race!

Emz said...

That is an incredible climb. Wow!!!!
Loving all the photos of the big blue sky!
As always---amazing & inspiring.
Love it.

Mark said...

Congrats, Johann! Great pics!! What about Lions?

Kate Geisen said...

Yikes, those are some serious hills. Guess that's why it's a mountain race, huh? I had envisioned a trail race from your title, but I get the paved course made it a lot easier...and still the fantastic scenery to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I've never run a 25k race..but I always think it sounds like the perfect distance in theory :)

Richelle said...

Congrats! What a difficult course you ran... I don't think I'd like all those hills! Cool finisher medal!

Unknown said...

Always beautiful photos! This area looks very much like North/central California (in summer) to me.

Staci said...

Looks like you had a beautiful day and it looks like a great (if very tough) race to do.
Well done and all the best for the next month of training.