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

Thursday, 8 November 2012

2012 Golden Gate Challenge Day 3 Report (17km)

With Day 1 and Day 2 in the bag Day 3 arrived and it was a bunch of tired runners that gathered for the 4AM start. That meant that we were up by 3AM for day 3. The idea is an early start to be on top of the mountain to watch the sunrise. However, there was no chance of that today with low clouds and mist covering the mountains.

Ready for the last day!

Early start so headlights on!

I was very happy as my legs and body was feeling much better than I thought I would at the start of day 3. I was tired, but not really sore. Still, I was glad that day 3 was only 17km long.

On our way for the last time!

The first few kilometers were run on the road. Everyone was in a great mood and the time on the road went by very quickly.

At some point we turned onto the concrete road we came down the previous day. Today we had to go up to the chalets we passed the day before. It was a steep climb but did not hurt as it did when I ran down this road.

Back up to the chalets on our well known concrete road.

Checkpoint at the chalets.

Early morning view.

We ran passed the chalets and up onto a road that leads to some radio towers. It was not long before we had climbed above the chalets. The road was wet and muddy. The first mentionable climb of the day was done!

Going further up.

Wet and muddy on the mountain.

It was dark and misty on the mountain but not cold. I was glad I chose to go with short sleeves. It remained very wet under foot.

Dark, wet and misty.

I knew we were climbing high again today and I kept an eye on my altimeter. According to that there was still some hard work ahead. Knowing it was the last day certainly made me push harder. I was on my way to finish an incredible race. I was in a very good space as I ran on the mountain.

Running here I felt awesome!

Soon the climb to the radio towers came into view. It was a “road” with two tracks. This made it easier but it was very wet and slippery in places.

Road up to the radio towers.

Slippery going up.

I ate more Race Food and kept remembering their add saying “you eat your way up a mountain”.

After some hard slogging I reached the radio towers. The marshals here were wet and cold. It was not too far from the mountain top now. The view was once again incredible.

Radio towers.

Awesome view again.

From the radio towers we followed a trail along the top of the mountain. I took great care as there was some serious mountain edges on my left.

Trail along the mountain top.

The finish among the trees far below.

There was still some climbing to do.

Stay away from the mountain’s edge!

We followed the trail all along the top of the mountain. I was feeling strong and knew I was done with the most serious climbing of not only the day, but of the whole race! As we started the descent I passed quite a few runners with very sore knees and legs. I realized how lucky I was. My legs were tired but I had no pain anywhere.

Starting some knee breaking descents.

This is a beautiful place!

We linked up to the trail we ran on day 1. The last few kilometers were the same as day one, but I was feeling tons better and stronger than on day one. As the hotel came into view I phoned Anette who was there for breakfast. She could see me running and this gave me an enormous boost! Today I was ready to tackle that buttress!

Trail with Bradwag Buttress in the background.

I pushed quite hard on the way to the buttress and passed more runners. The faster guys from day 1 and 2 had much more pain in their legs than I did. The trail was still wet and muddy and I was very careful here. I didn't fall once during the race and was sure to keep it that way.

Wet and muddy trail.

Not long and I reached the stairs going up to the buttress. Today I had much more energy to tackle them positively. They were still a great test though.

Stairs up to the buttress.

Last steep push!

Then it was down the chain again…

Over some rocks…

Some interesting formations!

Through some hollows...

Over the little bridge for the last time!

To the finish…with a few runners I caught in the last few km.

I crossed the line in 03:27:42 for day 3. I was done! I finished the 2012 Golden Gate Challenge! I was very, very happy!

Day 3 done! 2012 Golden Gate Challenge done!

The last part of the trophy is your name on the base. Awesome!

Complete trophy.

Anette was there once again to welcome me home and I was in running heaven. How great is it to have this wonderful wife as supporter?

With my faithful supporter during the race…love her dearly!

What a journey! I am sure the Golden Gate Challenge will see me again.


Giorgio said...
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Giorgio said...

I'd like to have such trophy on my desk, but how could I be ready for a 4am start? :)
Great challenge through that wonderful place, as usual! I'm glad you felt better during the race and enjoyed it.
Beautiful photo of you with Annette and nice report: that early morning view is fantastic and those rocks formations are really interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Liz said...

Wow, I'm so impressed that you get your name on the trophy!

The views look stunning and it must have been an amazing experience, but I bet it was hard work. Well done on completing what looks like an incredible event!

Robin said...


Karien P. said...

Well done on completing such a challenging race! Loved your reports.

KovasP said...

What a great experience! I assume Marathon du Sable is next? :)

Marlene said...

What an incredible experience all of this must have been. Congratulations - that is an enormous challenge and it sounds like you were storng through to the finish. Great trophy!

Thomas Bussiere said...

Congrats and nice trophy. Course looks beautiful but tough.

Char said...

My legs hurt just looking at those climbs. Your legs must be incredibly strong. If we were both in a plane that crashed in the Andes Mountain and had to eat human flesh to survive, I think your legs would be way too tough and sinewy to eat.

Molly said...

WOW Johann!!! What an incredible weekend. And I love how when you saw your wife you were in running heaven. : ) Very cool trophy, CONGRATS!!

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

Very beautiful. I'd probably fall over dead at the finish. A crazy amount of running and hills.

ajh said...

Love that your name is on this trophy. Would this qualify as one of your favorite races ever? Or proudest? You do so many amazing races it must be hard to pick.

Average Woman Runner said...

Wow wow wow. Those stairs to the buttress are ridiculous. Congratulations! How will you ever top this? Will you do it again?

Andre said...


XLMIC said...

I love how supportive your wife is :)

Congrats on completing such an arduous yet lovely event :)

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

Well done! I'd love to do a stage race one day - they look like so much fun.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful and tough country to run through. My boys were looking through he photos with me and asked where it was. They are hoping that we can all come run a trail race there some day.
Love the last pic with A. Big smiles!! :D You are blessed to have her, and she you.

TR said...

What an incredible journey this was!
Thank you for sharing, and all those wonderful pictures!

Lesley Looper said...

Another great race report with wonderful photos! Congratulations on this super accomplishment!

Christina said...

This may be a double comment by me. Great job with the staged race. I really like the finishing trophy being put together each day.

The flag is in France and Frederic has some short races coming up that he'll run with the flag.