BAINSKLOOF ULTRA AND HALF MARATHON, BAINSKLOOF PASS, BOLAND, 24 SEPTEMBER
The Bainskloof Pass celebrated her 155th birthday by treating athletes to perfect weather – though rain on the day before the race had the organisers a bit worried. More than 400 half marathoners and 63 ultra-marathoners travelled to one of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites to spend their Heritage Day a little differently.
Bainskloof is beautiful, but this race is a real test of willpower and definitely not your average race. All runners had to dig deep to stay motivated on the tough course as beauty can’t always motivate tired runners! Despite this, there were some excellent running performances from some of the country’s best runners.
The run started with everyone’s spirits high and when the athletes approached the highest point of Bainskloof, 15km into the race, things couldn’t get better. The rain of the previous day provided for fresh fountain water in the mountain; it was like extra water points along the way! After reaching Tweede Tol there was a 9km flat stretch to the turning point at the 31km mark. Then the going got tough with a 7km climb, but a downhill all the way home brought some welcome relief to weary legs.
Johan Oosthuizen looked strong from start to finish as he finished first in a time of 4:16, just over 23 minutes ahead of the second runner, Mervin Steenkamp. Martha Pretorius was the first women home in a time of 5:54, just under 20 minutes ahead of Anne Pool.