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!