Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A little pay back


The 25th of September 2010 will see the second running of the Hitec Otter Trail Run. After only one edition of the run the race has already climbed to the top of the list of runs to do and entries were sold out within days of opening. The 42 km run takes place along the Otter trail which is normally a 5 day hiking trail and is regarded by hikers as ‘very beautiful but strenuous. The tree in natures valley where hikers who have completed the trail traditionally hang up their boots is full of worn out hiking shoes and boots that bears testimony to the toughness of the trail.
My affair with the Otter trail began in 2004 when adventure racing legend John Collins conned me into trying to run the Otter in a day with his girlfriend of the time. No one else had tried this before. He would also do the run but would run on his own. I had run one half marathon in my life at that stage and was not quite sure what to expect. Off we went blind leading the blind as John disappeared over the rocks (a familiar sight to a lot of people). By half way I was cramping and starving and by the time we reached Bloukrans we decided to call it quits. The surf was rolling into the mouth and we were both exhausted.
John finished the first unofficial Otter run and I did not.

This plaque is hidden on the trail somewhere

This haunted me until 2009 when with the permission of San Parks we were allowed to officially prove that the Otter could be run in a day. This time a lot fitter and more experienced along with my Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team we completed the run in a shade over 8 hours.
The start of the first official "Otter " recce

In August 2010 I was offered an entry to do the Hitec Otter Trail Run I kicked myself for even hesitating 5 minutes before accepting the offer. So why try and run the Otter Trail in a day when it can be enjoyed over a 5 day period for a fraction of the price and a fraction of the pain. My answer is simple and as cliche as it sounds it is because we can. Last year I gave a couple of people advice on their training and race strategies and they all finished the Otter .This year will be the same except I will be out there running too, not wondering how my chargers are doing and will they make it.

Jeannette was out with the Magnetic South Team to check out the route and also to bring back information to me about the route!!! This is what she had to say
"How lucky was I to be part of the scout team to check out the otter trail run for the big otter run that magnetic south is organizing in September. we started at 6am on Saturday with the same conditions that the Otter runners would be facing tide and time of the day only thing was that we had to start with our head torches. All I can say it is tough and you will be sore even if you are super fit but what an experience fynbos in full bloom it is the best trail run out there. it took martin and I 6:30 (of moving time IE not including quite a few breaks) we didn't go out to break any records just to run and check it out but even with our conservative pace it was still nothing to laugh at. I'm glad today that I wore my Rocket Compression Tights for the whole run cos I'm able to walk like a normal persons on Sunday which I'm sure I would have not been able to if I hadn't wore them. The Otter run is a truly beautiful, inspiring run it makes you work hard but at the end of it one finishes with a smile to have accomplished it and witness such stunning views makes every pain worth it. Enjoy it" Netski.

"What is going to be special for me this year is that I have decided to try and raise some money and awareness for an amazing day care centre in Plettenberg Bay called Die Sterreweg. This Centre cares for 24 disabled children who have basically be discarded by all but a few in medical and social circles. These kids can’t do what we do and for them taking a few steps or learning a new song is far more of a challenge than for me to go and run 42km and climb 2, 2 vertical kilometers in one day.
My challenge is to go out and do the Otter Trail and beat my time of 8 hours and at the same time create awareness about a small group of kids who also do things because they can even if they are only a few steps or a new song. I will be taking about 55 000 steps on the 25th September 2010. In my mind I want to take each step for those kids at Die Sterreweg. With this in mind why don’t you join me and donate money in increments of 55 to this really amazing place. "James

Click on this link and do the deed

Or check out this little havens web site on

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