Nedbank Save the Rhino Trail Run organised by Trisport - 14 June 2014
We often hear of the terrible things happening around us. News channel and social mediums have become depressing to pay attention to, due to acts of violence against others and total disregard for this planet we call home. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for us to sit on the couch wondering; “What could I do?” before switching the channel to something more entertaining.
This past weekend, runners from all over South Africa, got off their couches to make a difference and show their support for our natural environment. Due to our Rhino population being in crises Hano & Sonja Otto from Trisport, with the support of Nedbank, put together a race that will help “Save the Rhino”. Athletes that took part in this two day trail run (with a one day option) were exposed to the Mabalingwe Game Reserve, where these athletes run amongst the animal tracks created by the multiple wild life that call this reserve home.
The Nedbank Save the Rhino Trail Run started at the family friendly caravan site on the reserve and took the athletes straight into the bushveld. Giraffe, impala, and bushpig were amongst the confused while these two-legged creatures came running through their world. Dirk Cloete and Spaniard, Pedro Calderon took off with impala like speed and distanced themselves from the rest of the herd. Cloete kept the lead throughout the day with the quick Spaniard on his heels. “It was a fast day!” exclaimed Cloete. Third and fourth place had their own problems to deal with when they came across a healthy strong herd of African Buffalo blocking their single-track.
The woman’s race was dominated by a very bouncy and cheerful Karine Bezuidenhout, keeping her lead over Diedre Watson van der Merwe and Madre Marx throughout the two days.
That evening the perfect waterhole for the tired runners, the Kalahari Oasis, served a great meal and created an amazing atmosphere for the second day of running.
Day 2 presented itself with 21km of fast racing. A mere 10km into the race, runners climbed Vodacom Hill which was a hard, tough climb up to the highest point and brought them back down and past the lion enclosure. “We loved the climb up to Vodacom Hill with the beautiful views. A typical Hano (Otto) race by taking us up to the highest point but we had such fun!” Natalie Saunders shares excitedly.
The race in the men’s category was neck and neck with Calderon taking an early lead over Cloete up Vodacom Hill with enough time to be able to take first place, however it would not be so as the local South African played the strategic game and finally took Calderon on the downhill. “I still can’t believe how fast it was and I am happy to be able to keep up and then take the lead over the youngster (Pedro).” Cloete shared while being massaged at the finish. When asked about the Spaniard’s lead up to the top, Dirk responded, “I knew from yesterday that his downhill running was slower than mine which I guess is from sore feet, today I put on a harder shoe knowing that the downhill’s would be my advantage and I need to protect my feet”. It paid off for Cloete who took the title at this year’s Nedbank Save the Rhino Trail Run.
The back markers had their own fun as they stumbled upon a herd of elephant grazing just metres off the single-track. This is what makes this race exciting; you never know what you are going to come across, buffalo or a calm herd of elephant.
The day ended with stories being shared and boerie-rolls. As each runner sat on the grass tired and exhausted during prize giving, I could not help but realise that this is what it takes to make a difference, actively doing something for a worthy cause, and saving our beautiful rhino is a cause worthy of our blood, sweat and tears! For more information and to enter this event in 2015, please go to www.trisport.co.za. (Thanks to Bruce Viaene for the write up and the photos)
Exhilarating End to Four Weeks of Gauteng Trail Running - Spur Gauteng Winter Trail Series™ - 29 June 2014
The Spur Gauteng Winter Trail Series™ came to a fantastic conclusion on 29 June 2014 as more than 800 runners showed up to the Pelindaba Nature Reserve to take part in the final race of this year’s Series. It was one of the most successful Spur Gauteng Trail Series™ yet with every race selling out and Gauteng runners proving that trail running is alive and well on the Highveld.
The Long Course Championship was taken by Edwin Sesipi who won his third race of the Series after missing race 3. He finished the 11.3km course in a superb time of 47:53 to take the Championship title. Anita O’Brien won a tough battle for the ladies’ Championship between herself. Takalani Ndandani and Marelise Retief. She won the race in a time of 54:57 which was just enough to secure the Championship ahead of Ndandani.
In the Short Course Challenge 6.9km race Ryan Mathaba and Penny Taylor stamped their authority as both won a full house of races in this year’s Series to take the titles home. Mathaba was the only runner to break the 30 minute mark and came home in a time of 29:08. Taylor was beaten to the finish line by junior runner, Kayla Visagie but still did enough to secure the Series with a time of 35:30. Visagie’s winning time was 35:04.
The Spur Trail Series™ moves back to Cape Town now with the Spur Cape Winter Trail Series™ set to kick off on 19 July with the Spur GLB46km Ultra and the normal Long and Short Course the next day, Sunday 20 July – all at the Paul Cluver Estate in Grabouw.
A massive thanks to our loyal sponsors, Spur Steak Ranches, adidas, BOS Ice Tea, Protea Hotels and Graham Back Wines for your support. Without you none of this would be possible. And of course, to you the runners, for showing your support and growing the sport of trail running. (Thanks to the organisers for the write up and for the photos)
Plaatjies, Van Der Westhuizen Victors at Puma Nightcat Dash – 9 July 2014
Debuting at the Pezula Field of Dreams (Knysna) on Wednesday, 09 July 2014, the exciting PUMA Nightcat Dash saw adventure enthusiasts sprinting up and then back down one of the infamously steep hills at the Pezula Private Estate. Ettiene Plaatjies and Liandi Van Der Westhuizen were the athletes to beat in the men’s and women’s race respectively.
PUMA Nightcat Dash participants needed to complete a 1.5km run (+- 750m up the hill and +- 750m down the hill). The race took place in heats, with the fastest runners advancing to the semi-finals.
Ettiene Plaatjies (Oudtshoorn) was victorious in the men’s race completing the 1.5km run in a mind-blowing time of 04minutes17seconds. “The race was very easy for me. The first couple of heats were run at a steady pace, while the final heat was much faster. I wasn’t worried though, as I knew I’d catch the guys on the hills. I enjoyed everything about the event and would definitely recommend it to others,” says Plaatjies. Antoine Van Heerden came in second, while Francois Maquassa finished third.
Liandi Van Der Westhuizen (Durbanville) claimed victory in the women’s race in a lightning fast time of 05minutes34seconds. According to Van Der Westhuizen, the PUMA Nightcat Dash is unique. “Taking place in the evening, the PUMA Nightcat Dash was a lot of fun. I’d recommend it to anyone that enjoys adventure. It is very adventurous”. Cameron Riddle came in second, while Michelle Haines finished third.
The 2014 PUMA Nightcat Dash was staged by Stillwater Sport & Entertainment, organisers of the TOTALSPORTS XTERRA presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT. (Thanks to the organisers for the write up and Cherie Vale/Newsport Media for the photo)