Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Kurland Summer Trail Run

The Kurland Summer Trail Run Organized by the Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team 2011

Four days after the event and I can finally write my report on the Kurland Summer Trail Run. That is because this evening I finally got to run the whole route despite the cold and rainy weather. What an amazing run , I knew it was going to be good as we linked bits of jeep track with single track where we followed bush pig paths into the forests, joined old logging paths to new forestry roads and fire breaks. It was also tough the run started with a 4km uphill before turning into some single track through the forest and then it seemed to go up again for a bit through some fynbos and thick onder bos.At the end of a long downhill the fire break section took you upwards again and this time the reward was a great view across the Crags to Robberg. The downhill on the other side was no reward it was very steep. A short section along a district road at about the 10 km mark was a small relief from the knee jarring descent on the fire break. Off the road and after winding along next to the honey bush fields it was another treat of single track path through the forest. This section was a lot more technical than I thought it would be and you were constantly weaving in and out of the trees and monkey ropes. A quick section of farm road and then more paths to the finish but not without a splash through a muddy patch. 675 m of climbing and 16,75km of great trail running .The finish on the polo field was spectacular this evening even without all the banners and people as a rainbow filled the sky.

That is how I saw the 16km route, on the day there was however much more on offer. The Team had three objectives with the organizing of this event
First was to organize an event that would show case our sponsors and the Team.
Second to host an event that would involve the whole family and offer all participants a challenge at whatever level they choose.
Thirdly raise some money for a local charity close by to the venue, in this case The Mind the Gap Foundation.

The hard work started in November after the Sky Run with our weekends being spent cutting and scouting trails on the Kurland and Kleinberg properties in the Crags. Jeff is in his element doing this and once pointed in the right direction is unstoppable. Jeanette’s role here is the “bunny hugger” and she watches Jeff and his assistants like a hawk to make sure not even the smallest bush is hurt and at the same time wattle trees are demolished.

With the help of Google Earth all the dots were joined and with Chris being pulled back in to duty and Garth arriving from East London the Team started setting up the start finish area on Friday afternoon with a strong Easterly wind making sure that we would have to come back very early on Saturday morning to put up most of the branding. The full moon was high in the sky by the time we got back to the farm to eat and sort out the final bits and pieces. The moon was still up as we packed up and headed back to Kurland for the start of a fantastic day.

The Kurland Hotel staff were up early to and by 7:30 steaming cups of tea and coffee were on hand to greet the runners as they registered.

8:30 am and the first runners set off. The Kids Adventure Trail had Moms, Grans and toddlers heading under the start finish arch under the watchful eye of Garth and Jeannette. Their 1,5km route would take them into the forest, along a path through some ferns and then back across the fields crossing logs and fences along the way.

Next off was the 4km run. This route was designed specifically to take away the speedsters and young hooligans who had eaten all the kiddies Easter Eggs at our last race. The route here needed to be well marked and non technical but difficult enough to keep these speedsters busy for just under half an hour. The race started and it was clear that we had the right people in this race as everyone over the age of 10 was left at the start arch wondering what had bulleted past them. Our Adventure Racing team has very clear policy about not following people and also making sure we are always going in the right direction, this clearly was not the policy of young Deon Nagel who missed a turn on the route marked with a 2m square Pennypinchers banner and 2 arrows and then led the whole field on a unmarked round about route to the Pavilion (adding about 1,5km to the route).

The 6km route would have more climbing and a longer downhill through the forest and would be a good introduction to trail running for anyone wanting to venture off road for the first time. The route would finish along the same section as the 4 km route with nobody on the race missing the “Nagle “gate. With young Dylan Van Wyk blitzing this route in 28 min winning the race overall as well as being first junior home. Amy Williams from Knysna was second girl home.

The 16km route would follow the same first 2 km of the 6km and then the runners were split by a GU banner and sent further up the hill and into the new additions to our route. Melakhaya came through from Knysna with Jeff at 4:30 that morning helped us set up the start area and then promptly went out and demolished the field and completed the 16.5km in a very respectable 1hr08. Coming in, in second place was Knysna’s Mark Collins I a time of 1hr19 min with Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team junior Nic Cuthbert in a very respectable third place. Watching the DVD footage of the race I was amazed at how close the ladies race was out in the field with a group of them all together for a lot of the time. All of them saying how much fun it was but actually there quite a race was going on. It was Chloe Carmes who broke away to take first place from local Shelly De Villiers who looked like she paced herself well and had a good last quarter of the race. Third place was Crags local Charlotte Rodgers and in forth Oakhill Adventure Racer Mikhayla Olivier.

By the time all the athletes had completed their races the day had warmed up and they were treated to an ice cold supply of GU Brew at the finish line. Once fully rehydrated with carbs and electrolytes replaced most runners headed towards the Pavilion Restaurant and tucked into the Burgers,wors rolls and chips that were on offer as well as that well deserved beer.

With unbelievable support from local businesses prize winners received some great prizes and after some lucky draws all the runners were heading out patting themselves on their backs for competing in the 2nd Kurland Summer Trail Run.

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