By Amy Ebedes
I spent most of yesterday chomping at the bit, waiting to be released from the confines of the office. It was a glorious day in the Mother City and I was ready to take on the first of the Cape Summer Trail Series.
The first race that I’ve run since last year’s Wild Coast Wild Run, I’ve been raring to get back into the racing scene.
As I lined up on the starting line, the nerves started to bubble up. Having just come off a particularly lazy festive season, it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps my training wasn’t quite up to scratch.
I tried to convince myself that this should just be a training run. No competing, no setting little targets, no trying to guesstimate where I’d come. But, unfortunately, that is the reason we race. Even the most uncompetitive of souls gets a little kick out of seeing their final race position. And when Owen announced the start, I flew out from under the arch as I always do: far too fast.
The first 2km consisted of a gentle downhill jeep track, where I was alarmed to see my pace was around 4.10 min/km (a far cry from my ever-consisted 6 min/km). I settled my pace, reminding myself that there were some big climbs to tackle.
From 2.9 to 5.1km, a lovely single track climbed up 500m. A rather brutal trail, everyone was reduced to a walk. The heat was scorching, and a number of runners found solace under the odd shade of the fynbos. The views from the top were absolutely magnificent, the clear evening stretching out over Simon’s Town. Wildrunner events are notoriously spectacular: no holding back on getting runners to run and climb up monster trails to share some of the most magnificent vistas in the country. The remainder of the race had undulating single track and one last climb up to the 10.7km mark. The last 2 kilometres were technical, steep downhills.
A fair amount of the single tracks were pretty technical. This is why I trail run. Don’t give me a jeep track or a flat, sandy single track. Give me rocks and obstacles and scratchy bushes and pebbles. I want to stumble, slide, leap and hop. There is very little that I find as exhilarating. I run my fastest, make up the most places and have the most fun on these sections. This, to me, is trail running.
I’ve heard people complain that runs like this are too technical. To be honest, the more technical, the better. If it was easy, anyone would do it. And that’s what makes it so appealing.
As for my competitive side? It was an ongoing torment. The heat and hills got the better of me, and managed to dampen my competitive spirit. I finished in 1.39.30, 79th overall and 13th lady. Hindsight does indeed have 20/20 vision, and I could’ve taken a top 10 place. But I have 4 more trail series to do so.
Men’s winner, Nicholas Rupunga, took the title in 1.04.39. Ladies winner, Landie Visser, crossed the finish line in 1.20.16, 24th overall.