Chappies Challenge Half 2017 by Marieta Stevens

I must be honest last year when my husband suggested we do the Chappies Challenge 10Km I was sincerely under the impression that it was a 10Km who was sponsored by Chappies Bubble Gum.  The insanity of running up Chapman’s peak did not even cross my mind.  Just imagine the expression on my face when he corrected me!

Needless to say, we enjoyed it and decided to run the half this year, for us this race is practically in our backyard and an absolute must especially since we use Chapmans on some of our training runs and by now have a good idea what to expect.

So; on the 29th of October 2017 we put on our racing gear and was blessed with perfect running weather.  Hey we even had porta-potties at the start this year and we thank the organizers for listening.

A huge group of Fish Hoeker’s were chatting along at the starting line with the fast twins taking position at the front. For most people, this is a fun run, a run where you get lost in the beauty of our country and carried away by the spirit of your fellow runners.

The half marathoner’s start half an hour before the 10Km’s and we do a loop around the parking; it is pretty awesome running through the starting point with all the 10Kmers cheering you on, and then you start the climb…..

At about 1.5Km  I told my husband to run his own race, I just wasn’t feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed and I know if he would have run with me we would have ended up frustrating one another. He sped away like a puppy breaking free of his leash only to high five me later on the road on his way back.

The newly tarred section with its big pieces of gravel looked really pretty but all I can say is ouch my poor little feet, and to add insult to injury they put tape over the cats’ eyes and just tarred over them so you couldn’t really see them, which made for some careful running.

What a treat there were even porta-potties on the route a true runners dream (I guess they were there for the road workers but we will thank the organizers in any case ;)).

Four kilometers and 155 meters up. All along the way, you have the Houtbay harbour to distract you from your misery and on your left the mountain that is splattered with yellow and purple flowers.  As you reach the top we start running against the cliff or the mountain with its beautiful colour striations, when it comes to beautiful races this one is surely in the top ten.

Flying downhill for another 4 Km, with the wind knotting your hair and with no trouble in the world…. That is until you go around the bend at the bottom of Chappies and you are rewarded with another  500meter uphill section and a crisp wind from the front keeping you upright on the downhill and pushing you up the uphill later on.

A little bit of downhill just to give you hope and before the end of the downhill you turn around and you get to do everything in reverse.

It was at water table number 3 the very angry lady in her blue Getz was trying to get all the runners out of her way by hooting and reffing her engine, let’s just say it did not have the desired effect.  How awful of us to spoil her lazy Sunday scenic drive up Chapman’s peak.

Around the corner in the shadow of the mountain one of my fellow runners had a bleeding nose, but he was surrounded by other runners  and a marshal was radioing for help, and just before the tunnel was a marshal on outlook scouting the road like a serious meerkat on a rock  making sure all his little runners were safe.

Endlessly up and a long down and just when you can see the starting point you are rewarded with some more uphill by turning right …At least it is beautiful and shady with birds chirping happily in the trees but by now your tired legs have been replaced by jelly only 2 kilometers to go with a bit of single track.  My lost puppy was waiting for me at the 20 kilometer mark and kept me company till just before the finish line.

If you hate hills I would give this race a wide berth but then all the beautiful races in the area have some hills in it, I guess that is the price you have to pay.

One of the greatest parts of this race is that you get to see the leaders coming back on the opposite of the road and there it is a lot of cheering and greeting going on and by being the slowest Fish Hoeker I get to say hi to everyone.  This is one race where there is not a lot of spectators but since you are cheered on by your peers it is more special.

Chappie’s challenge 2017 was totally plastic free, the cups used were biodegradable and you could either get a cup of water at the stations or fill up your water reserve.

That being said there were only 4 water stations in the entire race and you could only get Coke at 13Km for the first time, usually, that doesn’t bother me but I was a little under the weather in this race and needed the extra sugar and caffeine that Coke offers. I must admit after the glass of Coke my right calf stop complaining.

A huge applause to the organizers for not having any litter, the bins were at ideal spots and there was space in it for the cups.  Also a HUGE thank you to my fellow runners for not littering at all.

Congratulations to Fish Hoek runners for taking home so many prizes.

Thank you Houtbay Harriers for an awesome race we will see you next year.

These beautiful images were taken by Samir Abdul from Myphotocorner.



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