DIPPING UNDER 3 (Hippo Marathon)

By Siya Ngcobo

Siya

 

It had to happen! The barrier that had been on my mind since the beginning of 2020, I had no choice but to run a Sub 3 marathon. Runners might find it arrogant, but my mind was made up, I was going to go to Richards Bay on the 22nd of February 2020 and run a marathon in under 3 hours, so please allow me to share the best 2 hours and 55 minutes of my running life.

In August 2019 after the Mandela marathon, Gcina and I decided to go run Hippo Marathon in Richards Bay the following year because we had great reviews about the course, flat they said, they lied to us! There is no such thing as a flat marathon especially after 38km where a speed hump feels like a hill.

We left Durban on Friday at 12:04 and were at our destination in no time, collected and whined about not having plastic sachets on route, especially with 34° expected on race day. Oscar was kind enough to show us the route so we could strategize. I find it easier to run when I know what’s coming. At 6:20pm on Friday we did a 4km jog at 4:22/km to stretch our legs and get a feel of the roads and the air in Richards Bay, found the humidity not to be as bad as Durban, and that made me happy.  We got back to the hotel and prepared our drinks, but we had a challenge as no one was there to second us. Oscar was kind enough to find someone to do that job, but that was a disaster as we only met the guy 15 minutes before the start. He could not process the information fast enough to do an efficient job (we only met him at 27km for the first time), he popped up at 38km when I was expecting him at 32km, was already running on grit at that time but that caffeine GU gel was heavenly when I got it at 38km. Now this is how the whole race went.

The gun went and I said “Valar Morghulis”, Game of Thrones fans will know these words very well, but at that moment I was prepared for a battle, the battle of dipping under Sub 3. In racing terms, you only have to maintain 4:15/km for 42.195km to finish in 2:59:59, I had bigger plans than that. I had told myself that every part of the race must be like a training session, and had planned to replicate all my sessions in one race. As soon as the race starts you climb a monster 350m hill, my mind went into Hill repeat mode and I was done with it without any trouble, I knew that the next 13km was flat and undulating with gentle climbs popping up now and again, these gentle climbs became monsters in the second lap. The first half went well, I could stay at 3:55 without breaking a sweat and put the hammer down to 3:45 on gentle downhills. I had expected our guy to be waiting for us with the magic stuff at 12km, but “dololo” he was nowhere to be found, bought time and only took the GU gel I had with me after 15km, felt the magic as I crossed the halfway point at 1:22:50, climbed the 350m hill at 4:05/km and went on cruise mode trying to stay at 4:00/km.

My face lit up when I met our drinks man at 27km, took my second gel and decided to push a bit because I had expected to see him in the next 5km’s, but that was not the case. Went through the 30km mark in 1:59:35, that is when I knew that Sub 3hrs was in the bag, now it was a matter of how low can I dip under the magic figure, Sub 2:50 started to pop in my head but that all vanished when I got to 32km and did not get the most important gel in my race plan, I needed that high caffeine gel to turn me in to running lunatic. I did not know what to do, the temperature was rising with each stride, so I could overheat at any time and stop on the side of the road like an old Toyota (I drive one too). Decided to drop the pace to 4:30-4:35/km as I knew this would get me a 2:55 without much trouble.

Gcina came into this race carrying an injury, and when I started seeing him on the road, I knew he was in trouble, I ran with him for about 150m but he could not keep up, so seeing my running mate battle at a race messed up my head for a while but he told me to go, and that made me feel at ease with the decision of living him behind.

I got to 38km and I started to feel my legs getting heavier with each stride, it was getting hot, above 30° I reckon. I was in the dark hours, now the last 4km were a challenge but I started to think of the people who would be disappointed more than me if I did not get the Sub 3. I thought of my wife to be, my club Stella who have been supporting with kudos on Strava and just general encouragment, my head went back to a track session I did with a mad Surgeon Henry Van Niekerk, surely this last 4km is a breeze compared to that madness we did two weeks before Hippo. I do not remember the last 4km except asking people to move and leave the yellow line to me, I do not know what was that all about, but I just wanted to run in the yellow lane until I finished, and when I entered the finish point I said “Valar Dohaeris,” meaning “all men must serve.” I had served a 2:55:17 (2:54:43 official time) on a steaming hot day in Richards Bay, now let the “Chasing Silver” slogan take over in preparation for Comrades. I have dare to dream “Iphupho lam” and hope to achieve it.

Hillcrest Marathon 2020

By Kathryn Watt

Kathryn - photo

 

Sometimes it feels like joining a running club is not so dissimilar to joining a cult. And no time does this seem truer than when waking up long before dawn, squeezing into spandex and heading out into the dark to run an unreasonable distance, at an unreasonable hour, with excited hordes of other equally-brainwashed- spandex-clad folk.

The start

Standing amidst the throng of excited runners at the start of the Hillcrest Marathon,
alongside the formidable figures of Brad, Coenie, Matt, and Sean, I wondered if I was going to make it to the end of the 42.2kms that lay ahead. In the weeks preceding the marathon,  I had continuously considered downscaling my entry to the half marathon. My training had not been as rigorous or focused as it had been for my first marathon the year before, and I didn’t feel as well prepared. But the time for hesitancy had passed and, 15 minutes later than expected, the start whistle blew and the crowd jostled forward, tightly packed and wafting the scent of deep heat and sunscreen. In a few minutes we had crossed the start line and Sean and my race began.

Lap 1

At only 3 kms in I already needed an inconvenient toilet break, I was not the only one and the wait for the portaloo was excruciating as valuable minutes ticked by. The woman in front of me eventually rapped curtly on the portaloo door – I admired her bravado – and finally it was my turn. I felt a relief only runners know and eagerly headed back onto the road.

“Roll it, don’t push it” chanted the 2:30 pacesetter as he led his bus cruising downhill. “Roll it, don’t push it” I responded as I hopped aboard for a kilometre or so, the vibe of the bus pulling me along.

Sean and I ran sometimes a few metres ahead of, and sometimes a few metres behind the indomitable Sandy and Kirsty, both of whom were enroute to 21.1km. Sandy suggested that to save our energy for the second lap we try keep behind her. Dutifully I lessened my pace, and from that moment was sure never to pass Sandy. When Sandy slowed, I slowed and when she and Kirsty sped off into the distance I did not try to keep up. Sandy’s sage advice gave me permission to walk before I was forced by tiredness to do so, and I am certain this was the reason I took so much pleasure in the race and did not succumb to undue suffering on Lap 2.

We passed beneath the green canopy of a glorious avenue of trees, admired the manicured lawns and sweeping views of the Hillcrest mansions, shared smiles and words of encouragement with marshals, slurped coke mixed with water, and bit by bit watched the kilometres melt away.

I knew we were nearing the end of our first lap when we saw some of our favourite runners bounding down the hill we were battling up – they were already on their second lap and making great time. Ahead of the race, I had wondered if I would be tempted to turn off at the 21.1km mark, but on the day I cruised past the turnoff with no inclination to end my race.

Lap 2

As we began our second lap we were joined by a fantastic Save Orion runner who was
hoping to qualify for Comrades, we formed a mini-bus of our own and encouraged each
other onwards. This interaction led me to quietly hope that Sean and I too could complete our race in under 4hrs50mins.

It was starting to heat up, sweat ran down the back of my neck, and my hamstrings stung. Tired and shuffling slowly up yet another hill, a festive table of Chillie runners encouraged me to keep pushing and laughingly teased that “Stella got her groove back!”
I was surprised how little I minded running the same route twice as the second lap presented new sights, sounds and sensations (including a rather unpleasant pain in my hip).

In the final few kilometres as we walked what felt like the millionth hill, Sean and I came
across Tim – who is always such a friendly fellow to meet on the road. A persistent whistle blew from a pack of determined Hollywood Bets runners, and the 4.50
bus nipped closely at our heels. Now that I really believed we could finish under 4hr50mins I was fuelled by a jangle of nerves and unexpected determination. “All you need to do is stay ahead of that one bus” I thought.

The finish

We crested the final hill, pushed along the straight and then at last we were flying down the grassy slope towards the finish. I heard my name called out and looked up to find a row of green and gold figures cheering Sean and I on towards the end and before I had time to think we had crossed the finish line and our race was over.

My experience at Hillcrest Marathon left me filled with gratitude. Gratitude for fellow club members who celebrate each fellow runner’s achievements, no matter how small. Gratitude for all of the jovial marshals and the running community who make race day fun rather than daunting. Gratitude to Sandy and the other Stella veterans who offer expert running insight to us rookie runners. And gratitude to Sean for sharing the long run with me.

Membership 2020

Renewal

In an effort to streamline the membership registration process for 2020, we urge runners to make payment before January if possible.  The idea being that your licence number will be waiting for you with your receipt and a pre-populated ASA registration form for signature.

Licence collection is expected to take place from the first week in January.  A notice will go out.

Payments

Via EFT

STELLA ATHLETIC CLUB

220226     Account 6202 9283801 

Use your name & licence number as the reference   EG: sally2200  

OR at the club using ZAPPER or Cash

New Members

The 2020 ASA Application form can be downloaded off our website or we have a stock available at the club.  

Tania Waters or Pat Freeman are available at the club to assist or email

stellaathleticclub@gmail.co.za

Age Category Tags

Are available from Sean the barman at a cost of R10 a set

Message from the Chairman – 2019

By Dave Beattie 

So ends another extremely busy and successful year for Stella Athletic Club. In terms of judging the success of the year I have looked at the following criteria:

  • The achievement of goals by the club and athletes
  • The numbers of athletes who have signed up as members
  • The number of athletes who are active at races and spend time at the gazebo after races
  • The number of athletes who participate in the monthly Club Time Trial and the Time Trial League
  • The number of members who participate in club and fundraising events
  • The success of the annual Stella Royal 10 / 25 km race
  • Being innovative in the athletics space (i.e. trail runs)

2019 has been another big year for Stella AC. We started the year with Stella AC playing an important role in the Task Team that was formed to regain control of KZN Athletics on behalf of all runners. It was a very difficult time, but over the year under the guidance of Steve Mkasi, this Task Team has achieved its objectives and us the clubs and runners now again have a say in how the organization will be managed. KZNA will now go from strength to strength.

Stella AC is definitely heading in the right direction. Our numbers are growing and most importantly the majority of these new members are actively involved in our weekly activities. These new members bring a vibrancy to the club that must be sustained at all costs. We must remain good ambassadors on the road and in the community and never rest on our laurels. Stella AC must be a place where any passionate athlete can find a home. As a committee it’s important that we listen to the members ideas and comments so that we can remain relevant in the running community. At the same time members can play an important role in keeping the club sustainable by offering their time and skills to make the club a pleasant place to be.   

Big plans are being made for 2020. The Marshalls World of Sport Stella Royal in March will be part of the Discovery Vitality Series. This will mean that a 5km fun run will be added to the existing menu of 25km and 10km races.  With the logistical support of Discovery this race will be taken to the next level and we anticipate that the event will be a massive success. It is our aim to invest some of the profit made on this race in the renovation of the Den and the expansion of our Development Runner Program. We will put a request out for assistance from our members when it comes to the organization of any work-parties. 

With the Committee and members all pulling in the same direction I foresee a productive and hugely successful 2020. Most people will be looking forward to a rest over the festive season. The Club will be closed from 16 December until 7 January. Our first Club run of the new year will be on 7 January and the first Time Trial on 9 January. This will give the majority of you athletes time to rest up and come back refreshed and looking forward to a busy January running schedule. To those dedicated Comrades runners who are working on their base over the festive season I urge you to try get some quality rest. The hard months are still ahead and you need to be injury free to tackle them.

To all Stella members I would like to wish you and your families a blessed Christmas and trust that 2020 will bring you all health, happiness and success.

Stella Accolades – December Edition

Stella is a club of many talented athletes, and in varying degrees, not necessarily in speed, but also in endurance, grit, stickability and character. This month we asked two of our Stella legends to share their running stories and achievements with us.

Pat Freeman

I started running in 1988 at the age of 32, my son Douglas was two years old.   A friend of mine used to run and she encouraged me to try and train for a 10km race.  So I entered . . . Having never run before, I rushed out (in my north stars) not wanting to come last.  I completed the 10Km “Clicks” Ladies race –   in a time of 50mins. The time didn’t mean too much to me as there were so many people in front of me, I just didn’t want to be last.

I love a challenge, so roll on 1st half marathon,  the “Redro” 21km in Durban North  – again I rushed off on my own not wanting to be left behind, get lost or not knowing which way they went! –  1.52hr

The following year, my running club Dolphin Coast Striders, made a HUGE fuss of going to the Two Oceans Marathon 1989 – It looked so pretty and exciting and the experienced runners gave fun “pep” talks and described the route, and the challenges, I couldn’t wait!  Apparently, (a little inconvenient) I had to do a marathon in 4.15 to qualify for Oceans, so I entered my first marathon, the Besenol Marathon in Hillcrest (same route as today).  The distance didn’t bother me as much as the concern that I would not be able to run Two Oceans if I didn’t qualify.  So I hurried along and finished in 4.06hr.

Two Oceans came along and I loved the scenery – vibe and happy day on the road.  The cut off was 6 hours – I managed a 5.46hr. I was nearly a real runner! When I realized I could still walk after the race, I thought, surely Comrades could not be that difficult as I had the whole day to complete it!  So I entered … My first Comrades 1989 was a down run, I finished up with 10.25hr.  It changed my life!

My 31 year running career had started and I am lucky enough to still be on my feet and looking for a challenge or new experience.

Permanent numbers received:

  1.  1000km challenge  (completing 1000km of registered races in one calendar year) for 3 years running – Permanent Number 320
  2. Mont Aux Sources 50km Ultra Trail  (5 times)  Permanent number 151
  3. Two Oceans Permanent Number 1650   –   best time ever 5.24
  4. Rhodes 52km Ultra Trail – Permanent number 323
  5. Comrades Marathon –  Triple green 6883   –   best time ever 9.12

Completed 91 Standard Marathons including 4 international Marathons (favourite is New York) – Best Marathon time 3.43.

Completed 11 multi day Ultra Trails.

The MOST difficult 1 day trail I have ever done was the “Otto Grail of trails” – 42km

Completed 55 ultra-marathons (excluding Comrades)

I am forever grateful for the ability to run – no matter how strange my style or slow my pace

My happy place!

Louise Hucklesby

By Sandy Mullins

Some people have been part of the Stella tapestry and history for so long, that we don’t realise exactly what they have achieved in their running career. One such person, who has given so much to the club over the years, that she is Mrs Stella! So just to put you in the picture, the spotlight falls on Louise Hucklesby!

Her running career started in 1994 and she ran her first Comrades in 1995, in a time of 10.19. Her fastest time was 8.38. “With all the hectic training I did was lucky to run 5 sub 9’s”. Louise has completed 21 Comrades!

She has also run:

  • Thirteen Two Oceans, her first in a time of 5.21 and the fastest 4.54.
  • 70 marathons and 20 plus ultras

Louise has permanent numbers for Bergville, Pietermaritzburg, Buffs and Hillcrest. She also was fortunate enough to run the London Marathon in 2001 in Bruce Fordyce’s bus and had the pleasure of having Rory Stein (Madiba’s bodyguard) running with them.

PB’s

  • 5km  – 20.50mins
  • 10km –  42mins
  • 21km –  1.35
  • 42km –  3.19

Louise is passionate about running and loves assisting fellow athletes. She has been Chairperson of Stella and involved in the Committee for almost as long as her running career. She was one of the founders of the ladies time trial league, which in those days was sponsored by Nandos. The gents liked the idea so much that eventually the Time Trial League was formed and is still going today.  

“I have had the privilege of managing the KwaZulu-Natal teams going to SA Champs for Cross Country, 10km, 21km and 42km and also served on a few committees at KwaZulu Natal Athletics”.

Words of advice – “Consistency is key and then always keep running and life balanced”.

Stella is fortunate and definitely the richer for all the input and sacrifice that Louise has given and in so doing put Stella on the running map! Thank you Louise!!

The Authentic Athens Marathon 2019

By Alan Brunsdon

On Thursday 7 November 2019, our group of three runners set off to run the “Authentic Athens Marathon” in Greece. The Stella contingent of the group was Alan Brunsdon and Roger Scholtz.

The event commemorated and retraced the “original” marathon when, according to legend, a Greek soldier by the name of Pheidippides, in 490 BC, ran the 42 kms from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce the news of a great military victory over the Persians. According to legend when he arrived in Athens and announced the victory he promptly died of exhaustion – a feeling I can relate closely to!!

The event included a family run, 10km and the marathon which attracted 60 000 entrants from 110 countries, of which there were more than 100 South Africans!

We flew Emirates Airlines from Durban via Dubai to Athens. The race registration and expo was extremely well organized, as was the entire race.

On the Saturday before the race we did the tourist routine of visiting the Parthenon and Acropolis – this was the right option as we thought it best to do the walking whilst we still could! The sights and history of Athens go back centuries and are spectacular.

Race day arrived on Sunday together with cool cloudy conditions and temperatures of 21 degrees. There were five different collection points throughout the city of Athens that would take the 20 000 runners to the start of the marathon in Marathon. We arrived at our collection point, conveniently close to our Airbnb accommodation, at 06:00 to find numerous luxury buses waiting to take us to the start. We boarded very quickly and en-route a recording played through the bus PA giving us clear instructions as to what to expect on arrival at the start.

The starting area was well laid out with different coloured balloons marking the different starting batches etc. My starting batch as per my bib was purple – so all I had to find were the purple balloons! The race is run mat to mat so I set off at 09:28 while the front runners started at 09:00.

The first 5 kms were pretty easy but from there till 31 kms it was literally all uphill – a tough course! The water stations were very well stocked with drinks, dark chocolates and energy bars. The vibe on the road was great and crowd support good with the locals calling me “Bravo Bravo” even though my name was on my bib! Running in the South African flag colours certainly helps with crowd support and interaction with other runners. My SA flag running shorts earned the name ‘Faf shorts’ from many of the South Africans on the race!

The last 11 kms into Athens was a gentle downhill with lots of crowd support. The finish was into Panathenaic Stadium, the white marble stadium where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896. I finished in 5:58 even though the cut off was a generous 8 hours.

We returned home after a memorable Athens experience – definitely a marathon for the bucket list!

Stella Accolades – November Edition

By: Sandy Mullins

Stella is a club of many talented athletes, and in varying degrees, not necessarily in speed, but also in endurance, grit, stickability and character. This month we applaud the following Stella member for his achievements!

Grant Matkovich

When it comes to running, for most of us, we are simply proud to finish a race or complete the goal that we have set for ourselves. But some athletes, are simply amazing with what they manage to achieve, and the beauty about it, is that you would never know because it is not broadcast. That is, until I get hold of it!!😊

Stella has one such sportsman who has achieved so much. Here are just some of his achievements:

  • In 2008, he summited Kilimanjaro.
  • In 2015, he comfortably completed the full Ironman competition in PE.
  • He has completed two Two Oceans Ultras in 2006 and 2014.
  • He has ten Comrades to his name, his best time being 8:22. However on his 10th, he raised money for charity, doing the UNOGWAJA CHALLENGE, which is a 10-day, 1,660km cycle from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg, then on day 11, you simply run Comrades! What is seriously impressive is that he did Comrades in under 11 hours and raisingover R500k for Comrades Amabeadi-beadi charities!
  • Also added to his bucket list of achievements is most of the road and trail running races, cycle races (Amashova, tour Durban) and triathlon events in and around KZN.

Not only is our doctor an achiever, but Grant Matkovich gives back for the love of the sport. He is a member of the Comrades Race Organizing Committee as the Portfolio Convenor for International Hospitality since 2015 to present, which looks after International runners’ registration at the expo and the International hospitality area on race day. He also helps Community Chest Charity with their Comrades fundraising campaigns.

We as Stella are extremely proud of what Grant has done and commend him for his achievements and his selfless giving!

Pushing Boundaries!

f9ef6a26-f910-4515-b36c-821fc0b17262.JPGBy: Jocelyn Goodwin

Walking is one of those disciplines that sounds a bit silly at first. Anybody can walk, you might think. Then how on earth could walking fast be a sport?

Well, walking is MY sport!

I joined Stella in mid 2018 due to the fact that it was no longer safe to walk alone in the afternoons as a lady. For me, Stella AC was just a club whereby I could continue my love for walking in a safe environment. It’s become so much more than that!

I had completed a few 10k races as well as three ECR 20km Big Walks, so was under the impression that completing a half marathon would be well within my limits. My first attempt was the SAPS Striders 21km which is a double lap course along our beautiful Durban promenade. I was prepared physically, but for weeks leading up to the event I became less and less confident, worried I was going to be the last person on the road and not finish in the allocated time limit. It was always going to be a dual between my head and my physical ability, it turned out my head won. I bailed at the 16km mark! Looking back I was well within the time limit and was not the last person on the road, I could have finished.

I was feeling despondent and didn’t think the half marathon distance was for me. Fortunately for me it was at this point our Chairperson Dave Beattie offered to guide me through another half marathon. We chose the upcoming Goss & Balfe Sapphire Coast 21km. After a few “big“ and “small” Gillies I felt confident I could do this.

Before I realised it was the morning of the race and it was now or never. Dave and our Stella family were there for me through all the tough moments and 3 hours later, we crossed the finish line with a feeling of euphoria. I DID IT!

Having seconded on the side of the road for many years, I never realised how valued seconds are. Often seconds are husbands or wives, friends or family, in this case it was a Stella angel by the name of Sharon Troll who popped up along the route exactly when she was needed.

The camaraderie amongst the Stella family as a whole has been fantastic, so many playing a part enabling me to accomplish my goal. Thank you everyone!

In the words of Eliud Kipchoge, “NO HUMAN IS LIMITED”

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Jocelyn came second in the walking event for the half marathon distance!

 

Stella hosts Walking Clinic with Natalie le Roux

By Sharon Troll

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Early Saturday morning a bunch of eager walkers from as far as Hilton attended the Walking Clinic given by Natalie le Roux.

She shared her truely inspirational life story, some of her future goals, nutrition, how to train for a race and a little bit about KZN Masters Athletics before taking us through the warm up routine. Boy was that difficult!!! ‘Pulling the line from your navel’, ‘rocking the baby’, ‘loosening those hips’ and ‘activating the shins’ made us all look at bit silly, but we soon saw the benefits of all these movements.

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After a few stretching exercises we walked up to Bulwer Park where Natalie explained how we should approach the up hills and downhills, and some other techniques. We did a couple of rounds in the park showing off our new moves.

The clinic was enjoyed by all and several walkers showed interest in future events. So watch this space.

Thanks to Natalie for sharing your knowledge in such a humble way. 

Thanks to Jodi Pastorino from KZNMA for joining us.

Thanks to Stella Athletic Club for hosting the clinic.

Thanks to Michael Mostert who took the initiative in asking for a donation towards the Elders Voice and thanks to everyone who gave from the heart.

I’ll end with a very appropriate saying coming from our own Frankie…

WALK WITH PURPOSE!!

Mtunzini Trail Run 2019

By: Michael Mostert

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Michael, Maureen and Sam at the end of the trail run

It was that time of the year when the beauty of Umlalazi Nature Reserve called me back to tackle the not one, but two day trail hosted  by Mtunzini AC.

I decided to do the two day race with my ankle conversing with me in fluent Gaelic. “Remember your history with trail runs and also remember you just recovered from a broken ankle, break dancing down the wet steps” I said to myself. Weighing up my options and waking up with my trail run nightmares and cold sweats,  I entered the two day Bushbaby Whacker  which compromised of 15km on day one and 10 km on day two.

The day dawned as we all gathered around burning fire baskets in nervous chatter. It was great to see the friendly faces of other Stella peeps who like me were tackling the whacker. We lined up in our multi coloured regalia and camel packs stocked enough for Mount Kilimanjaro.  “Yho! these trail runners are serious, what have I got myself on for” I thought.…

The race set off at 7 am to the start of a fish eagle call. I lined up with fellow Stella crazies, Samantha and Maureen, as we headed into the green forest of the reserve. Maureen and Sam bounded down the hill like impala being hunted by Cheetah. We headed through a section of  the golf course safely and entered into the most beautiful scenery of forest paths, fallen yellow leaves, wooden walk ways, bridge crossings, and trees as we meandered through the foot paths and the tush-aching beach section. The beach was breath taking, even the cold shark infested water looked inviting to cool down burning glutes. My time was slow as I helped out a young fellow runner with an Achilles tendon injury, but bounded off like a hare to the finish line another 7 km away ….

After two hours of awesome trails we headed up to the finish which felt like a category 1 climb on the Tour De France. We crawled over the finish line to family and friends welcoming us home. That was day one, day two was a sight to see as those who did day one were lined up with aching muscles. It was a comedy of errors seeing those, including myself, hobble down the hill with moans and groans. Some of us literally looked like crabs running back into the ocean with stiff legs. This time we hobbled past the fairway and no stray golf balls to worry about as a drone hovered above. We entered the cool forest again with odd sightings of Duiker, Zebra and Mongoose ..

At least for the 10km option there was no beach section, thank goodness. I went to see the 15 km route and the size of the beach dune they had to traverse up, which was not for the faint hearted!

All in all, I had two awesome days on two different routes and recommend this race as a must for all Stella runners. You can arrange a weekend getaway in the camp site with other clubs or stay in one of the many chalets and BnBs in the tranquil village of Mtunzini. Highly recommended!