Regular Cape Peninsula Running Tourist

Destined to be a Classic

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Southern Cross
Trail Run, Sedgefield, Southern Cape, 27-29
April

It
didn’t take much to convince friend and fellow running junkie Sue to team up
with me as Team Femme Fatale (thanks for the name, Sue), but with Two Oceans
still in our legs, we decided to take it easy and be the social media queens,
taking pics and posting comments to Facebook and Twitter.

 

The
drive from Cape Town
through torrential rain to Sedgefield wasn’t great and we imagined similar
weather ahead. The race briefing and base camp was at the beautiful Pine Lake
Marina
and race director
Hano Otto of Southern Cross Adventures wasted no time in warning us that day 1 would
be wet and muddy, with slippery rocks, a waterfall crossing and some hectic
climbs. We left the briefing suitably nervous.

 

Day 1 (Sue): It was
chilly and dark as we got ourselves ready for the day, expecting horrid
weather, so it was a nice surprise to see blue skies. The weather was actually
perfect for trail running, chilly but sunny, and things were looking up as we
boarded the bus with some 75 other nervous but amped runners.

 

Hano’s
warning of slippery mud made me jump for joy inside – the more technical the
better! Kath was a bit concerned about this, being the road machine, but I was
relying on her to pull my ass through the hilly stuff, and boy did she do just
that. We started at Karatara Forestry Station and followed the Outeniqua Mountains trails to Farleigh Forestry Station.
This 26km stage had 1400m of climbing on technical single track, and with two
river crossings and slippery, rocky conditions, concentration was needed at all
times. The steep climbs afforded us time to take in the panoramic views when forced
to walk or even crawl up the trails!

 

The
finish at Farleigh was a welcome sight, together with Hano, wife Sonja and the race
crew, plus delicious pancakes and an obligatory java. We were the first veteran
women’s team and second women’s team overall – things were looking good!

 

Day 2 (Kathy): The first
day had taken its toll: My quads screamed with every step and Sue’s ankles and
hammie weren’t too happy, either. But the prospect of a less technical day of
30km indigenous forest running, lifted my spirits, as did the sunny day. The
start/finish venue was the rather quaint coffee shop, Mother Holly’s.

 

Team
Femme Fatale started strongly as we tackled forestry roads, jeep track and
mountain bike trails up to the water station at 13km, and after a quick refuel,
we were back on spectacular single track. Some experienced trail runners described
it as the most exquisite forest running they had ever done. It was still a
tough day, with over 1000m of climbing and crossing streams and waterfalls – but
soul reviving stuff.

 

We
were doing really well until Sue’s wheels fell off around 20km. Pale, drained
and nauseous, she just put her head down and focused on finishing. Hano and
Sonja were waiting at the finish to welcome everyone – what a gem of a couple!
– and coffee, scones and some recovery time soon revived Sue. And we maintained
our position as first vets and second women’s team.

 

Day 3 (Sue): With aching
bodies, Kath and I hobbled to the start. I was feeling so much better, though,
and determined to redeem myself. This was the beach stage, 20km of technical
coastal trails, climbing 900m from Blue Whale Resort to Kwelanga Lodge just outside
Pacaltsdorp near George. The route was undulating through several forest
ravines, with steep descents to the coast, similar to sections of the Otter
Trail, but the views were so worth it!

 

Kath
and I worked well together, me leading on the technical downhill sections and
Kath taking over for the many climbs up to the trails along the cliffs, and a final
loop through a Milkwood forest took us to the Lodge. With three days of tough
trails behind us, the chilly swimming pool was a welcome ice bath for weary legs.
It was a bittersweet feeling, though – part of me was glad it was over, but
part of me just wanted it to carry on, because it was one of the best events we
have done. And the cherry on the top: Team Femme Fatal took first vets team and
second women’s team overall. Not bad for “just taking it easy!”


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