A new start/finish area this year – much better for parking and much more space for the gazebos and registration. The skies all around were looking pretty grey but my weatherman husband reassured me that if I was home within the hour I wouldnt get wet! Was he telling the truth or was that just to spur me on?!
A quick warm up and then we were off. As usual it was a speedy start; I was eager to keep my lead in the championship and eager to beat the rain!
However speed was quickly reduced after about 200m once we entered Tygerberg Reserve. The new start involved a very steep 1.5km climb up through the trees. I was in second place from the start. As expected Marie Wessels was infront but the steepness of the climb made everyone walk so she didnt gain any distance from me. We emerged through the trees at the top and we had a lovely downhill stretch. I cruised past Marie giving a friendly hello hand signal. I needed to get as far ahead as possible before the climb up to the mast. Half way up to the mast Marie passed me so I told her I’d see her on the next downhill! Haha! As we meandered down to the pond the cat and mouse game continued and I was back in the lead. It was quite slippery on this side of Tygerberg and, on a relatively flat part by the pond, one minute I was running and the next minute I was slidding across the ground on my bottom!
No major damage done so I was back up quickly. I knew Marie was hot on my heels and as we neared the top of the climb from the pond she passed me… but not for long! The ground levelled out and I could increase my speed again. Back in the lead with one more climb to go… Marie passed me again half way up. Something tells me I need to do more hill work and get stronger on these climbs! The final stretch to the finish was downhill along single track, but nothing technical. I could see Marie ahead of me but I was struggling to catch her, slightly held up by the short course runners.
Practically on the hour, at 10am, the rain started. I could hear my husband in my head saying ‘well if you’d run faster you’d be finished by now!’ But the rain only lasted for about 10 seconds and I was soon through the finish arch, about 40 seconds behind Marie.