Walking

Stella Female Walkers Team wins the 2018 Time Trial League

By: Sharon Troll and Kim Flack

8718031b-6211-40af-8700-ddd57b849947.jpg

Last year walking with Michael’s group he started “briefing” us on something called time trial league, but we soon forgot about it until we found ourselves at the walkers meeting late last year and offered to walk if they were needing numbers. It was a bit of a decision to make whether we should register as a runner or walker, but we are so glad we joined in with the walkers – it’s been a wonderful year with amazing people! Big thanks to you Michael – your enthusiasm is infectious! Well done to us all. 

We’ve already received next year’s fixtures and we would like everyone to come join in on the 2019 fun, whether you are a runner or a walker, fast or slow. Looking forward to seeing you there. 

 

The Mandela Marathon- Walkers can enjoy it too!

By: Mary O’Gorman

I took part in the 10km walk at the 100 year centenary celebration Mandela Marathon this year. It was the biggest event I have competed in so far as there were 24 000 entrants in the distances – 42kms, 21kms and 10kms combined.

From the very start, the message spread that it was a special race. There were posters in the streets and radio announcements in the build up to race day which made the race seem very significant.  At the race pack collections, there were huge posters with pictures and quotes from Mandela and clips of his speeches were being played.

Because of the vast number of entrants, there were challenges caused by having to queue for everything but the atmosphere of the race made up for that.  Waiting in that huge crowd at the start was quite fun as Jaluka music was being played and everyone started ‘dancing’ on the spot to the music. When we all sang the National anthem, it was emotional and some even shed a tear.

The stream of luminous race T-shirts during the race were visible for miles as far as the eye could see on the winding country roads.  The scenery is spectacular with challenging up-hills most of the route and we 10kms participants enjoyed the well-stocked water tables (before they ran out of supplies later).

What made the event memorable was the large number of supporters along the route. They cheered, clapped and sang as we passed.  By the time we reached the Mandela monument at the end, we felt elated.

Walkers should certainly grab this rare opportunity that this event provides to experience this level of crowd support and the feeling of comraderie amongst the entrants!

Larson Time Trial League – Westville AC

By Therese Hurly

2c5ff06c-cbc8-4938-979c-b2c8873b5704.JPGIt was so good to have had a wonderful Stella presence at the Westville Time trial league race on Tuesday 21 August.

Cool nights might make people want to stay home, but they are perfect for running and walking.

The two walking teams, led by Michael, their styles perfected by Frankie, are all very motivated, and are still on top of the walking league ladder.

Having some good runners now as well, we feature quite prominently on the running charts – with most categories represented.

The beginning of the year started off badly for Stella running teams – with only one or two runners in the men’s and women’s teams for Queensburgh and Savages time trials. Since then, thanks to the committee for their encouragement, and Stella stars, more runners are joining us.

There is a really good spirit at the time trials, and it is always a lovely change running in a different area with lots of people running along the way; the serious runners, the jokers and the moaners who are relieved afterwards that they did it.

Everyone doing Westville time trial had heard about Heartbreak Hill  there was a lot of talking about it along the way, and the whole run was geared towards conquering the hill the last 750 m, which left us all with a great sense of accomplishment at the end.

Hoping all Stella members can join in these enjoyable races. The next race is on 20 September at Sydenham, there are some challenging hills there and it is also a very enjoyable route.

Choc Walk up Sani Pass

By: David Thurlby (14 years old, Junior Stella Member)

We approached the mountain ahead of us that was soon to be our challenge. We were representing CHOC and Stella. We had felt the cold the night before but the morning of the race we woke up to the amazing view of the challenge that stood before us. The start was whenever we were ready, then we got going. The snow got thicker and thicker the higher up we climbed. Many people participated but this felt very much like a family trip. The walk altogether was a journey to be remembered and to be retold. We got close to the big rock that was said to be opposite the highest pub in Africa. Which felt like the longest time. We had an amazing experience, from snowball fights to meeting new people. It wasn’t a race, it was an experience for everyone that went. It was amazing in many ways and will definitely be on my list of future events.

 

KZNA Seniors and Masters Champs: There is no cure for stupidity

By: Michael Mostert

(Photos courtesy of Martin Roestof)

After some encouragement and motivation from fellow walkers, I decided this year to give myself a new but daunting challenge, to compete in Masters Track Race Walking. My fellow walkers had sold track as fun and social and a way to improve your speed and technique. My rubbery arm was bent.

After only two official track training sessions, the KZNA Seniors and Masters Championships were upon us, the 5km being held on the Friday evening. The butterflies soon turned into vultures descending on a carcass and I began asking myself what I had got myself into as I had just completed the notorious hilly Savages time trial through Burman Bush on Thursday! I was politely told by the Master’s secretary “There is no cure for stupidity” with a wry smile on her face. Before I could locate the exit to plan my escape we were under starters orders for the 5km race walking track event. The 5km event is 12 and a half times around the track under the watchful eyes of race judges, spotters/time keepers and spectators. The spotlights were on as the sun was setting as we pounded our way around the track, to the motivation of the stadium announcers encouraging the crowd to cheer for us.

Once the 5km was over, reality set in once again as we were told that we would be doing the 10km road race at 05h30 on Saturday morning which comprised of 1 km lap on the road that runs alongside Peoples Park. I dragged myself out of bed to heavy legs at 3h45am on Saturday morning. At the start line I met with a number of enthusiastic walkers who had the sanity not to do the 5km the previous evening. Why didn’t I get that memo?

The sun started to appear from behind Suncoast and we knew we were in for a hot 10km. The gun went off and we were off like the opening of doors on an Edgars red hanger sale as all walkers jostled for position around the 1km track which had to be conquered 10 times for the sane and 20 times for the ultra-insane under again the watchful eyes of the appointed race judges and officials. These officials were  placed around the track and all of us were hoping to avoid the dreaded yellow paddle warning against bent knees or lifting feet. Three warnings by different judges means you are disqualified, so concentration is paramount.

Feeling the effect of the Thursday time trial and Friday evening’s 5km, I received a warning for bent knee on the 7 km lap on my tired jelly legs . This gave me a wake-up call that this was no joke, I corrected my technique with heaving lungs for the next 3 km to waddle over without any further warnings to complete my 1st 10km KZN Master’s Track race.

Track race walking is definitely not for the faint hearted as fellow athletes told me it’s another  beast …true words! I was still crazy enough to do the Martitzburg half marathon on the Sunday morning.  I am sure there is a padded cell with my name on it somewhere! Next time I will be better prepared  to fly the Stella flag with pride.

Walking with purpose,

Mike

The Cherry on Top- The Ficksburg Cherry Run

By: Michael Mostert

One of my bucket list races was to one day do the Ficksburg Cherry run 23km over a mountain. This day finally dawned a lot sooner than expected. Waking up to minus 1 degrees seriously gave me second thoughts!

I lined up with other athletes at the start to an opening prayer by the local dominee, which was a nice change, or was it a prayer for our sanity? The gun sounded and we were off. With a false sense of delusion we hit 2.5km of tarred road and thought this was not too bad as we had the front walkers in our sights. That was until we veered off onto a rocky dirt road to head up a mountain road with the thin air reminding me this was not a coastal walk in the park. A fellow walker who had done this race 11 times said to me, “Hierdie is niks jong man wag n bietjie” – ‘This is nothing young man, wait a minute’. With some boulder hopping we wound our way up from 1450 meters to 1728 meters to the most amazing views and rock formations.  The lead walker disappeared into the distance as I gasped for air. Unfortunately this was not a recognised walk with no judges or prizes so lots of walkers were seen running to make the tight 3hr 30 minutes cut off.

By the time we got to the summit the temperatures reached 24 degrees. We passed a weather station at the top and made our way down a steep concrete road. With walking style in check, we meandered our way down, avoiding wandering cows and their fresh droppings. We passed hordes of kids with hands held out for high fives to loads of cheering which was a much needed pick me up. By this time with 4 km to go, the sun pelted down as we made our way back into the now tree lined town of Ficksburg to end our mountaineering experience at the primary school. I don’t know what was more welcoming the medal or being offered an ice cream with cherries to cool us down.

Lovely tough race and yes I will do it again, what an experience, even had time to take some pics and some not to be posted selfies …

Walking with purpose,

Michael

Sydenham Time Trial League – Walking Stars Report

By: Michael Mostert

20171019_173518.jpg

All the keen, mean, and lean Stella Walking Stars poured out of Wendy’s taxi at the Sydenham Durban Runner Mizuno Time Trial League on Thursday 19 October. Casting our eyes heavenward at the ominous clouds building up, we all wondered if we were going to be caught in a downpour as we prepared for the Sydenham 5 km, not 4km, time trial league.

200 runners and walkers lined up for the 5km and 8km slog. The start gun caught us all by surprise as some were still adjusting their hair, their kit, and others still chatting away…we were off. The route goes through the friendly, but hilly, Sydenham suburbs up the notorious Jan Smuts Highway until 45th cutting when you turn back.

Nana pulled ahead like the fast and the furious disappearing into the distance, and finished in 5th position overall in an amazing time of 36 minutes and 36 seconds. Wendy completed it in 8th place in 39 minutes 02 seconds, followed by Michael in 9th place in 39 minutes and 13 seconds. With our ever smiling and chatty Frankie in 13th while coaching the SANDF Walker on the correct style to use….that’s our Frankie. Our ever reliable Musician Roland came in a cool 22nd place in his 1st walk in a few months.

Was nice to be greeted by the smiling support team of Mary in her kit at the finish line as we stumbled over, thanks for the support Mary. The Red Bull ladies also handed out some well-deserved drinks to the exhausted athletes at the end.

Out of 13 teams, Stella Walking Stars finished the league in 3rd place, 7 points behind 2nd place team and 17 points ahead of the 4th placed team.

  1. DHSOB
  2. QBH Harriers
  3. Stella
  4. PDAC

Well done to you all for your time and sacrifice this year, you are all stars in my eyes.

Wishing Wendy Coleman a blessed belated birthday for Friday, October the 20th. Congratulations must also go to Wendy for coming 3rd in the ladies walking category in the Merewent 10km on Sunday 22 October.

Walking with purpose,

Michael M

PDAC Time Trial – Walking Stars Report

By: Michael Mostert

On 21st September the “ Stella Walking Stars” who I have aptly named, lined up with another 240 athletes for the PDAC leg of the Mizuno/Durban Runner Time Trial League at Lahee Park. For the first time in three years there was no torrential downpour, so at least we were in for a dry walk.

For the first time in time trial history, the Stella walkers outnumbered the Stella runners, with five of us lining up at the start line to pound the streets of Pinetown.

Our walkers were awesome with our motivational encourager Zethembiso (Nana) Nxumalo finishing in 5th position in 29 minutes, followed by the ever reliable Wendy Coleman in 8th place, a mere 8 seconds behind Nana. Mike came in 10th place in 30 min and 4 seconds, chased down by our speedy Frankie (11th position) in 31 min and 38 seconds, and our comeback kid Terrence 1st time trial in 2017 in 33.48  in 12th position. Stella walking stars finished only 1 min 11 seconds behind the first placed team DHSOB.

Stella walking stars have now cemented themselves into 3rd place on the log, a mere 8 points behind Queenburgh Harriers A team and 13 points ahead of PDAC. Queenburgh Harriers will be looking over their shoulders rather nervously at the Stella walkers slowly reeling them in. I am sure they will bring out their big guns at the next league. I say, bring it on!

Nana was lucky enough to walk away with a lucky draw prize which was well deserved after an amazing walk.

I am so proud of the Stella Walking Stars team. Bring on the next time trial league, we are ready!

Yours in walking with purpose,
 
The Proud Mike Mostert

Mtunzini Bush Challenge- A scenic race that you won’t forget

By Michael Mostert

IMG_3024.JPG

Michael enjoying the beach section of the race

The Mtunzini Bush Challenge is one of my favourite KwaZulu-Natal Races. Its a 16km race through the bush and beach at the picturesque Umlalazi Nature Reserve on the North Coast. I had the opportunity to do the Mtunzini Bush run two years ago and simply loved it. So despite my injured ankles, thanks to the Table Mountain Pmb trail run, I decided that I had to return this year.

On race day, I woke up at 3am to get ready for the Great Trek up the north coast, picked up a fellow runner en route, kicking and screaming, and headed up the N2 to Mtunzini. As we arrived my fellow travel companion pipes up: “This is a bad idea… The sun has not even come up yet! where is the sun?”

As the sun finally peaked its head over the forest it was countdown time as hordes of multi coloured kits lined up at the start line. The welcome speeches were done  in both English and Zulu by the club chairman which were received with loud cheers. The runners and walkers set off to the cry of a fish eagle which sent goose bumps down my spine.

IMG_3026.JPG

The start of the Mtunzini Bush Challenge 2017

The race starts off with a descent down a grass track and then proceeds onto the golf course. Nervous runners and walkers were waiting for the dreaded shout of “FORE” as we looked for potential places to dive to miss possible flying kamikaze golf balls. Fortunately Tiger Woods was not on the course that morning …

The race then takes you through the newly built suburb on the outskirts of the little town of Mtunzini as you wind your way down some single track paths towards the coastal forest. The route takes you on a number of undulating hills through the coastal forest, and includes sections on wooden walkways, branched bush steps and dirt roads. Ducking under low branches becomes very important, especially for someone like myself.

IMG_3025

Boardwalks through the Umlalazi Nature Reserve

At the 8km mark we were met with a water point manned by KZN Wildlife with a buffet of sweets, bananas and marsh mallows. I really wanted to pull up a  chair and tuck in…   but no ..my walking partner dragged me away by my ear as we carried on towards the Lagoon. We then proceeded past the camp site with the smell of crispy bacon on the pan not helping the cause! After making a right turn by a troop of monkeys, we made our way onto the beach. What an amazing site to see unspoilt beach, white sand and litter free, all we could see were the runners before us and their footprints. Our eyes were also firmly glued to the horizon as whales had been spotted the day before. The 2km beach sand slog was made easier due to the rain the night before which made the sand a lot firmer than two years ago. After the beach section we disappeared again into the cool forest meandering our way back to the start.

We ascended the long final tiring hill to the shouts of cheering and applause. The smell of fried eggs and filter coffee slowly enticed us over the finish line where we collected our well-deserved medals and T shirts. The finish line was  an oasis of culinary delights from bacon rolls and baked treats to local craft beer on tap which I am sure will pick up a few Stella runners ears …

I did not manage a podium finish but was fortunate enough to get the Walkers Male age category prize (40-49) for the 16km course. Lots of  clubs use the Mtunzini race as a weekend getaway and camp in the reserve for some team bonding which is something I think Stella should think about doing next year. Its my favorite race when it comes to scenery and is well organised. I would recommend adding it to your bucket list for 2018.  You will see me there for sure, a lot leaner, meaner and hopefully, fitter:)