Starting at 1137m this was not going to be easy, especially since there was a near 35 degree climb at about the 3/4km mark, however this was what I had been looking forward to for some time.
Since it was postponed to the 29th September 2012 it ended up being the third Mountain Challenge I was to run – in the same month, wowzer. I had taken the first two challenges; Mountain Warrior and Table Mountain Challenge, for granted, but I was not going to make the same mistake again.
The route profile looked to show a climb of over 1000 meters in the first 11/12 kms, after which it was flat on the top and then down, down down. Unfortunately running on the peak was not to be.
The start was relatively fast, I quickly found myself in the middle with a lead group already pulling away and a group behind me taking it easy in anticipation of the climb. Once I hit the climb I found it unrunnable; I can understand while legend trail runner Ryan Sandes had come here for training. Hands on knees I tried to make it up as fast as possible, in hind sight (looking at my splits) I kept a good pace.
The views were awesome, I brought a camera and took a few shots – but not enough to fully express the grandeur of the environment.
As I neared the top my worst fears were realized, I was not going to make the top – they had decided to detour us back down onto the shorter route. This reduced the distance by 5 kilometres, pity, running on the peak would have been very cool. The detour took me down to the ski lift along a very technical and snow covered decent – win.
A Bit Lost
For a long time there was no on to be seen; other than hikers. Twice I almost took a tumble. Reaching the lower reaches I got a tad bit confused which way to go, at one point a group of us waited for a telephone conversation to reveal the answer. A few people must have gotten lost and even taken the wrong way, two people some how made it back before me even though I had past them. No worries it was not like a top 3 sprint.
This wan an incredible run that had many challenges, it was a pity that we did not get to run on the peak however just to run was a win. A huge plus for me was that I finished without injury and without the unbelievable soreness I had suffered from the previous 2 races. One thing is for sure is that I will be back next year with my family.
Also if there ever is a Summer challenge it will be on the to do list for sure.