Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Two Oceans Trail Run 22km

As a rube from the countryside, coming into the big city, the two oceans trail run to me was a slightly intimidating event. Having 800 entrants, it was the biggest trail run, I'd certainly participated in. And the hullabaloo started nearly the moment I arrived in the mother city, when I jumped the vipers pit (or perhaps the Labyrinth) of the Cape Town Convention Centre and queued for my race pack; the arena had been transfigured into a temple for running related kibble (items which in retrospect are indistinguishable from the contents of one's waste basket). Now don't get me wrong, as a runner who, to use that deeply irrational cliché, 'gives it his hundred and ten percent', I certainly salivate over high performance equipment and nutritional supplements (GU) and was persuaded to purchase some items which would protect me from Mr. Sun -namely the blurry cap and the snazzy blurry glasses seen in the blurry picture above- but I found it quite disturbing that the simplicity and almost universal accessibility of running was hijacked by hundreds of little widgets and doodahs, such as Magic Shoelaces, amulets and little running pouches which attach to your shoes - are not pockets good enough?! Wending my way out of this web, I left for my aunts house, getting ready for a rude start and looking forward to what should (and would prove to be) a good race.


The Race!

The start was a windy one, making it slightly chilly. As we had arrived punctually I had the luxury of exploring the historic buildings of UCT during my warm-up, as we waited for the five batches of 10km runners to leave the chutes. After that, grinning foolishly in the start shoot, I waited, along with approximately 800 other runners in the start shoot, as Trevor Ball  tried his very best to instill a little fear into our hearts - for the fun of it. It was not entirely unjustified however, as a brutally fast start leads us upwards towards Devils Peak. With a good understanding of a trail runner's not entirely correct psyche and a proficiency in crowd dynamics, the several first gruelling kilometers were on double track terrain, which naturally led to a lot of foolish and nonstrategic dicing upon my part, despite being insulated from the world by a pair of polarised lens. 

Eventually the path narrowed and then the fun began. As usual in these things, upon nearing the summit and usually the half way point, one usually talks about the view, which is always inevitably magnificent and profound, offering a truth or another. Instead I'll talk about Mr. Green, so called because of the shirt he was wearing. I'd been sticking with him for much of the way and so I took it as a personal affront when as I fatigued, he only sped up. Eventually he and two others disappeared around the one of the many turns of the twisting trail, even as I tried my best not to flag. That was when I entered what I'll nickname 'Prickle Path', a two kilometre stretch of fynbos, which left me scratched and bleeding and also slightly confused, when I momentarily left the trail. This momentary lapse, led the leading lady at the time, KATYA SOGGOT to overtake me on the challenging and hazardous descent to the famed Cape Town cannons. 

With energy at a bit of an ebb after the cannons, up a hill known unofficially as a Bastard to even the local capetonians (who should in all other circumstances take delight in breaking a man) , I was again overtaken, this time by the infamous and once local to George, LANDIE VISSER.

At the four k to go mark, I found renewed vigour and to my delight was able to overtake a number of runners, through the fun little section towards the blockhouse and UCT, including the now second place Katya and my new arch-rival, Mr. Green. It was a relief to collapse at the finishing mat with a 19th Men's open and 2nd Junior man's placing. It was indeed a blustery day.

Thank you Pennypinchers for the trip.

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