Walking

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:)