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

Monday, 27 February 2012

Some SA Running Rules

In my previous post I mentioned something about rules and regulations and not being allowed to advertise in races here in South Africa. This caused quite a reaction so I decided to post more about running in South Africa.

The main reaction was about me saying we have to run in plain/blank t-shirts as advertising is not permitted. This is a very serious and strict rule. If you don’t belong to a club and therefore don’t run in club colors, you must wear plain clothing and not display any brand or logo on your shirt or shorts.

There is a very strong club structure in road running here in South Africa and most runners belong to a club. Every year you register and get a license number for the year from the province where you reside. This is my 2012 running license from CGA (Central Gauteng Athletics). I have to wear this with my club colors for every race I do. Some races will have its own number and then the license will go on your back with the race number at the front. Some races have two numbers but you can’t enter these without your license number or by buying a temporary license for the race.

I have to wear my club colors as it is registered with CGA and ASA (Athletics South Africa). For example, I am not allowed to wear any other color shorts than black with my club vest/shirt. The club color is black and any other color is not allowed. There are hundreds of running clubs inSouth Africa, all with their club colors that the members have to wear with their license numbers for the year. If you don’t belong to a club you have to buy a temporary license at R25.00 per race and wear that on your plain clothes. No advertising allowed!

South African runners are not allowed to enter the Comrades Marathon if they don’t belong to a club. In Comrades you are not allowed to wear a hat or anything that does not have the race or sponsor’s logo on it. It you wear you New Balance or Adidas hat/cap you will be disqualified. With that, as in all other races you have to wear your correct club colors. I remember in 1997 I wore an old Kellogs 32km t-shirt inside out over my club vest the first few kilometers of Comrades because it was cold. At 7km a race marshal pulled me off the road and I had to remove the shirt before I could continue the race.

Trail running does not require club membership yet, but most races will have some rules about clothing and advertising. Most races will also not allow runners to run shirtless. This can lead to disqualification from the race.

All these rules may sound strict and a bit way out to some, but if it wasn’t for the clubs and their members we wouldn’t have so many races to choose from every weekend here in SA. Most clubs host races and that’s why I can literally choose from 2 to 4 races every weekend. It may well be silly rules with club colors and shirts, but I’d rather have that and then many races to choose from than no clubs and few races to run.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Long Live The Cotton T-Shirt!

After reading this post by Molly from I’m a SleeperBaker, I had to write something about my cotton t-shirts. I definitely prefer cotton shirts above tech shirts.

Cotton shirts wipe blood, mud, tears, snot and whatever else off way better than tech shirts do. They also stay wet longer so keep you much cooler, but most of all, they don’t chafe as tech shirts do. Tech shirts are chafe masters, cotton is king!

Well, that’s my experience anyway. I love my cotton shirts! I have 274 new ones waiting to be used…for training. All from various races over the years. I’m working through the piles and are currently at 1997 – 1998 with a few 1996 and 1999 ones popping up in between.

I do have many tech shirts too. 77 to be precise.  I don’t like them much. Some are nice to wear and show off some races I’ve done, but training and running in them sucks.

I do most trail races in tech shirts though. I even do some long training runs in them to get used to the yucky material. The reason is that I need to run with a plain shirt when racing as not to cause any advertising issues. I don’t have any plain cotton shirts left and I don’t buy t-shirts…ever! The plain tech shirts I have were all gifts from family and friends.

So there you have it. I for one…the only one…??? say “long live the cotton t-shirt!”

Friday, 10 February 2012

2012 Goals

As many of you know my main goal for 2012 is the Pikes PeakMarathon as I mentioned in this post. I realized yesterday that I haven’t posted anything else about goals for 2012.

So without delay, here is a list of some of my goals for 2012 in chronological order:

03 March – Sunrise Monster (32km/20miler)
25 March – Jackie Gibson Marathon
15 April – Slow Mag Ultra (50km)
27 April – RAC Looooooooooong Run (60km)
6 May – Colgate 32km (20miler)
3 June – Comrades Marathon (89km)
7 July – NumNum Trail Run (36.5km)
19 Aug – Pikes Peak Marathon
8 Sept – Mont-Aux-Sources Mountain Challenge (50km)
06 Oct – Thule 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge (24km)
03 Nov – Kaapse Hoop Marathon
31Dec – Year to Year 24Hour Circuit Race

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Welcome Home Spiral!

Spiral is home! Thank you everyone for all the well wishes he received. I'll let him do a thank you post once his cast comes off.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sasol Half Marathon Report

This past Saturday I ran the Sasol Half Marathon at Sasolburg in the Orange Free State. Apart from getting married and going on honeymoon I’ve been battling with a pulled muscle below my ribs on the left side. So taking all of this into consideration I decided to do a very comfortable, slow run to see where I was in terms of running ability at this stage.

I thought I could be in for a tough run so I was glad when the weather and everything else turned out perfect on Saturday morning. The race started at 6AM which was perfect as well. Here in South Africa 6AM is the normal start time of races in summer which helps a lot on the warm summer days. I’ve done some races which started at 5AM as well.

Shortly after the start. Sorry for the blur but there were too many runners behind me to slow down or walk to take a photo.

There were about 2000 runners at the start. This included 10km, Half Marathon and Marathon runners. I started slow, chatting to many friends I saw for the first time this year. The race had plenty water points and was very well organized. I decided early on I’ll be back for the full marathon next year.

Water point early in the morning.

 Lots of evidence that it rained the night before.

I felt very good from the start but kept it slow and easy. The route is quite flat and fast with a gentle downhill for most of the first half. It would be easy to start too fast here. We ran towards the Sasol plant which is the reason the town of Sasolburg exists in the first place. The first 11km had no uphill at all…only flat and down.

 Running towards the Sasol plant.

That’s me with my super new red cap.

The water points were excellent and all the helpers were very friendly. They kept saying “see you next round” and even though I was feeling great, I was glad I was doing the 21km loop only once.

Great water points!

The whole race was run through the tree lined streets of the town. At some point we ran on the outskirts of town with some nice views of the farms and open land that surrounds the town.

Running on the outskirts of town.

The first mentionable hill was just after 14km, two thirds into the half marathon. The route is certainly easy and if you are well trained a good time can be run here. Altitude might put a stop to any PB’s (PR’s) though.

1st hill just after 14km

Top of the 1st hill (only two hills on the route).

I felt super all the way and could definitely have pushed harder, but I stuck to my plan of slow and easy to gauge myself at this stage of the year. Before I knew it I was at the 20km mark with 1.1km to go.

 I was happy to turn in for the 21.1 and not continue for a seconds lap.

The final kilometer even included some trail! Yay for that!

I felt really good as I ran into the stadium…

…onto the track…

…and to the finish.

I felt great when I crossed the finish and not tired at all. The pulled muscle also behaved and I was only aware of it the last few kilometers.

A nice medal and t-shirt after a great run!

All in all this was a great race and I felt really good the whole time. I am happy and will certainly start pushing up the mileage from this week onward.

Thanks for reading and have a super week everyone!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Friday Facts

Our one dog, Spiral, was hit by a car on Wednesday and is in hospital with a badly broken leg. He will spend the weekend there while they wait for the swelling to go down so that they can put the leg in a cast. We miss you Spiral!

I bought new running shoes yesterday. I went to buy another pair of Nike Pegasus 28, but bought the Nike Citius +4 instead. They are incredibly comfortable and fit my shape of foot perfectly. I’ll give some feedback once I’ve done some proper running in them.

I’m running the Sasol Half Marathon tomorrow morning. It is a 6AM start so I will be up early to get there in time. I have a non-running injury to a muscle on my left side just below my ribs. It’s been hampering my running like a broken rib would and I hope it will be fine for 21.1km tomorrow morning.

That is all from me at the moment, have a splendid weekend everyone!