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.
But so worth it!
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.
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!