Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Vital Lourensford Half Marathon

UPDATE: The traffic congestion was a bit of nightmare, people who left Cape Town by 5AM could not get to the start on time, some even an hour after the race had started. I feel sorry for the club and organisers no one goes out to cause problems like this, but expecting people to leave their house at 4AM or earlier for a 6:30 race is a bit of an ask just because of traffic and not distance.

The route elevation this year will be different as the entire half marathon route happens on the Lourensford Wine Estate (not on the sports field as in previous years). The flyer description says the first 3km are tough and the route is all off road/jeep track I assume. 

I am happy see the dam still features as well as Champagne Corner. I am bit concerned about the hill climb between the 8-9km mark, but I am still thinking of the old route. 245 meters was the highest we climbed last year. 

Lourensford Half Marathon Route Elevation.jpg
2009 Elevation Profile
I think it is great that the organisers are trying a new route and hope the parking situation is not a nightmare. Quite a heavily advertised race and entry on the day, so I bet there will be lots of people.

Flyer Route Description:
The 21km and 10km are off-road all on Lourensford Wine Estate. The two routes follows the same initial course with the first 3km challenging followed by most scenic views. The 10km meanders back mainly downhill and level running to the finish while the 21km continues contouring along jeep track and farm road along the foot of the Helderberg, passing Brinksburg dam including Champagne Corner. Another hill climb between 8 – 9km marks – the second half mainly downhill on easy forest and farm road. Please note that the surface of this route is not safe for wheelchairs and strollers. The 10km Walk follows a different course, relatively flat and easy, through the beautiful Wine Estate with an initial 2km tar section, the balance on good farm road.

Crazy Slow Motion Running

Ever think that your running style was a bit odd or unique? Here is a video of people running in slow motion. They seem to be enjoying themselves, which is what exercise should be all about.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Niel Joubert Plaaswedloop

November in the Western Cape has some fantastic runs one of my favourite races of the year is the Niel Joubert Plaaswedloop a 13km race.

A person can approach this a race in several ways. Too seriously and as a jol. Having just completed the Winelands Marathon a few days before I am leaning towards the later. What this race has going for it is that is at that time of year when summer has set in properly, a unique route, the wine tasting during the race and the party afterwards.


For the last few years the finish medals were glued to a full bottle of wine, looking at the race flyer this still is the case. The first year I ran the race never got a medal because they were limited to the first 1000. I guess that is what you get when you run injured against medical advise.

There are two hills that you really need to experience for yourself.  In previous years they had signs on the route, I missed them last year.The first is a Bultjie and the second is a Moerse Bult, with signs posted saying "Real runners walk here".

Get there early as arriving late means you will not be able to park until everyone has run past after the race has started.
Last 3km - high Tripping Potential
Bring picnic or buy food there but staying afterwards is what is is all about.

Route:Distance: +-13.0km
Grade: Extremely steep
Climb: +437.5 / -454.9
Surface: Jeep Track: 100%
Technical: 2/5
Organized by: Sanlam Running Club
Flyer: Neil Joubert flyer - PDF
Route Elevation Profile

KML: Google Map of the Route.

View Neil Joubert Plaaswedloop in a larger map

To find out more about Neil Joubert wines go to Neil Joubert Wines

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Winelands Marathon

So once again it is time for the Winelands Marathon. Year seems to have gone so fast. Some people have asked about the route profile so I thought I should post it.

Quite a few people will complain about how tough it is. I think it has something to do with hill that starts at about 21km and does not go down much until round 30km - just in time for you to hit the wall. The downhill is a great but it ends to quickly. When you see the strawberry farm you have to start working hard again. The race start is crazy early 5:30 but that is because it can get really hot, it is supposed to be summer after all.

The Winelands Marathon is a well organised and popular race. I prefer undulating and hilly routes like this one; the Cape Town marathon was hard work for me and I was really sore afterwards. Here's to hoping for a better Two Oceans qualifying time.

Winelands Marathon Route Elevation
Winelands Marathon Route Elevation

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Top of Price Drive

I have decided to have a stab at learning to draw after following Jill's Today I Saw blog I really have been inspired. I doubt I will be as frequent (everyday) but I will see how it goes.

What I am going to draw is what I saw on my runs. Cape Town is an amazing place to run and the Constantia Valley has lots of variety and there should be plenty of things to draw.

Last Tuesday we ran to the Top of Price Drive (Extension) in High Constantia. While catching my breath at the top I tried to take in as much as I could and this is how I remember it.

Sketch #1Top of Price Drive

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Route:Distance: 9.0km
Grade: Extremely steep hill
Climb: +239.2 / -246.4
Surface: Tar 50%, Jeep Track: 25%, Single Track 25%
Technical: 2/5
Dogs: Groot Constantia farm workers houses, mostly locked away.
KML: Google Map of the Route.

The view at the top is great for a view of the most the the Southern Peninsula but the long single track trail section makes the climb up price drive worth it. The single track is unspoilt Yellow Wood forest. The path is well maintained with erosion prevention implemented.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Red Hill Marathon

One mistake I am glad I made was to do the Red Hill Marathon as my first marathon last year. I remember running up the Scarborough side of Red Hill and people asked me how many marathons I had done and they said I was crazy doing it as a first one, my reply was only to say “Hey pal I am still running it”. It was a pity by the time I got past 30km I was running less and less. Why running it first was a mistake is that people who know me know I have slight OCD tendencies. So now I am stuck having to run it every year that I am able from now on.
33%The percentage increase in the number of runners doing the marathon in 2010 compared with 2009. Fish Hoek Athletic Club must be doing something right.

I also like the idea of having an escape route option of the 6km shorter 36.3km Red Hill Classic and not taking it. This year I noticed a guy at the t-junction asking one of the marshals if he could down grade from the 42.2km to the 36.3km but never got to see what the outcome was.

Slangkop Light House
The Red Hill route is amazing. A bit of a slow start from the Fish Hoek sports complex, then onto the Kommetjie Rd, up Slangkop hill looking down at the Slangkop lighthouse.

I try to run in the middle of the road on this stretch as the camber it quite pronounced.

At the top of Slangkop is the start of a long speedy downhill, through Misty Cliffs to Scarborough, famous for the Camel Rock. Passing though Scarborough is a sneaky uphill up until the t-junction where the race splits between the Red Hill Classic and Marathon.

The out and back section towards Cape Point is mostly 3km of downhill. At the turnaround you are at the lowest point and the uphill does not stop until just before the 30km mark. The top of Red Hill was one of the best water stops ever, sponsored by a coffee shop.

It was too bad that I really was not up to eating muffins only had a slice or two of oranges. I could see that I was faster this year by the options available, last year by the time that.

Running down Red Hill gets to work some different parts of the body. I managed to get to the 30km point faster than Bay to Bay which was a good suprise.

At that bottom of Red Hill it is mostly flat until the Fish Hoek circle. At this point it becomes a mostly mental race.

There are 19 avenues that you need to run past, I like add 1 in my head and count them up one by one as percentages, counting 5%, 10% … 95% each time of cross an avenue. Before you get to 20th avenue you go off the main road and join up with the field. Getting onto the field is not the end there is quite a bit of running until you get to the finish. This year was well organised, plenty of everything: cold water, marshals, scenery and good weather. The only annoyance was the congested start. There definitely were much more people running this year.

Red Hill Marathon route elevation profile and Google Earth route KMZ.
Red Hill Marathon Profile - Click to Enlarge

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Two Oceans Marathon qualifier Flowchart

There are less than 37 days left to still qualify and enter the Two Oceans Ultra 56. I was wondering what choices people who want to qualify and enter have or are still to make regarding the marathon choice. I went for an earlier qualifier at the Winelands Marathon in November and I am so glad that I did as running the Red Hill Marathon this weekend took the pressure off.

There still are a few Western Cape maratho qualifiers still avaliable:
  1. 21 February - The BDO Peninsula Marathon
    Using the same route as last year, changing back next year

  2. 27 February - Cango Caves Marathon
    Famous for personal best times

  3. 6 March - Seeff Weskus Marathon
    "Although the official Two Oceans entry closing date is 3 March, Rowyn James, Two Oceans Race Director decided that they will man an entry table at the Seeff Weskus Marathon Finish venue and take manual entries on the day just for the 56km race." - Official Statement

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Bay to Bay 30km Race

A scenic race from Maidens Cove to Hout Bay and back
With the excesses of the Festive Season a not too distant memory and Two Oceans less than 3 months away. A 30km race it just what the doctor ordered to get the year started right. The route consists of a considerable amount of hill work.
Type: Out and back
Distance: 30km, 15kmx2 relay and 5km fun run option
Google Earth: KMZ
Start Time: 11 January 2010 06h00
Time Limit: 4h00
Surface: 99% tar
Entries: Pre entry and on race day
Bay To Bay 30 km 2010 Route Elevation Profile
Click to Enlarge

View Larger Map

Antipolis Wreck with Lions Head and 12 Apostles Hotel

Antipolis Wreck with Lions Head and 12 Apostles Hotel Enlarge
Driving the route will never be the same, the route is spectacular but running it allows you to experience it with all your senses.

30km races are hard to come by in the Cape Town area so when one is available you have to do it.

After the 15km there is a little bit of cruelty; instead of running straight up Suikerbossie, you do a short hilly tour of the houses in Hout Bay. The route drops straight down to the bottom of Suikerbossie hill (just in case you were worried that are somehow going to meet up with Suikerbossie half way up).
The route passes at least 5 shipwrecks
São José - 1794
Het Huis te Kraaienstein - 1670 (South Africa’s oldest known shipwreck)
Blythe - 1966
Antipolis - 1977
BOS 400 - 1994 visible on the approach to Llandudno.
2009 Winners
Male - Zolile Bhitane 1:44:42
Female - Joanna Thomas 2:06:39

2009 Webber Wentzel Bay to Bay
2010 Ocean Basket Bay to Bay

I have run Bay to Bay twice before it is a good race. I have to admit I prefer Big Mama 30km round Durbanville hill and the John Korasie 30. I think one reason is because the other two compared with Bay to Bay have not psychological half way point and also have all their hard work in the earlier part of the race.

Bay to Bay was my first long run and race over half marathon distance.When I got over to the top of Suikerbossie and saw the 21km marker, I was disappointed at how no one else seemed to notice.

Great views, good hill work and it dovetails into most programs gearing up for Two Oceans.