This weekend I ran the Colgate 32km race at the Boksburg City Stadium east of Johannesburg. This race is known as one of the coldest on the calendar and it certainly didn't disappoint this year. It was 1°C before the start, definitely the coldest morning so far for 2013.
The race is very popular as it is relatively flat and easy. It is about a month before Comrades so many Comrades runners do it as a last long training run before they start their taper. With Colgate as a sponsor the well stocked goody bag also attracts runners.
Doesn't look it, but this is a fast course.
We arrived early and had enough time to get everything done in a relaxed way before we made our way to the start. Anette braved the cold to see me off. She entered the 5km that started at 7 AM, 30 minutes after my start.
Cold start…trademark of this race.
The sun was not up properly yet and the start was cold. I started with long sleeves and gloves. I was very happy I came prepared as the first few kilometers were really cold. Luckily the skies were clear and we could feel the sun on our skins soon.
On our way!
I started slow and kept a very steady pace. I only wanted a nice long training run to test my knee and also get some good time on my legs at the same time. I was here for fun and had no plan to push myself at any stage. This was also my last road race for many months. With Comrades not on my plan anymore my trail season starts now.
First water table at 3km. Cold water :)
I could see that Comrades is close as most runners were in great shape but just taking it easy. There was lots of chatter and you could see most people didn't even feel the 32km distance. That is a trademark of South African races. Most runners are there to get in a long training run for Comrades.
Cold in the shade, 6km done.
There is a 15km race as well and the 32km is a double lap of this with a 2km detour on the 2nd lap. I felt very good and enjoyed the run. My knee was fine and I was happy. I ran a very comfortable pace and was very relaxed. The organization was great, including very good and well stocked water tables. Soon the first lap was done.
Heading back to the stadium on lap 1.
Most runners kept on going for the 32km distance. Another sign that this was an important Comrades training run. I hoped to see Anette as I completed the first lap but this didn't happen. I think she was still on her way back to the car after her 5km. She had a great run as well!
Start of lap 2. At least the sun was out now.
I was still feeling very good when I started lap 2. My knee was also good and that is great news. It made me very happy indeed! It was still cold and most runners just kept going in their warm clothes. I did the same and didn't remove my long sleeves or gloves.
Most runners still wearing their warm gear.
At 21km I caught up to a barefoot runner. I wondered how cold his feet must have been earlier, but thought that if he could run on the road like that he probably doesn't feel the cold.
Barefoot on the road.
At 24.5km we turned off for the 2km detour to make up for 32km. This part includes the only pretty street of the route. Boksburg is not known for its scenery…
Only pretty street on the route.
After the detour I started counting down the kilometers. Almost suddenly there were only 6km to go! I was feeling very good. Yes, I was running really slowly, but that was the plan.
Over the bridge for the 2nd and last time.
I collected some more chocolate at the last water table and then it was just a matter of strolling into the finish. They handed out small chocolate bars and I took a few home. Well, they were on their way home but Anette and I enjoyed them in the car!
To the stadium for the finish.
Soon I turned into the grounds at the stadium and there was only 1km to go. I felt good and not tired at all. I still kept to my plan and never increased my comfortable pace. We ran around the stadium and then turned in to finish.
Into the stadium…
…onto the track…
…to the finish...
Fast runners like me need tartan tracks to finish on!
I was happy! Mission accomplished and my knee was not sore at all. 32km (20 mile) race number 129 in the bag!
Well done to Boksburg Athletics Club with yet another super race. Everything was great.
Nice medal and shirt!
Thanks Colgate! I will have clean skin and teeth for a long time.
That is it for me and road races for some months to come. My trail season starts now…yay!