Landmarks half marathon popped up as a lot of people’s favorite half marathon, so even though this would be our 5th 21 km in a row with Winelands next weekend we just felt we had to this. About halfway through neither me nor some of the other club members could fantom why this was anyone’s favorite, maybe the joke was on us but here goes. The last time a race hit me this hard was the Cape Town marathon and that was a full so be forwarned even thought this race offers you a lot of beauty and enticing scenery, chances you are going to work for it.
This iconic race is well known for running past 25 landmarks; I remembered 4. Next year hopefully I can add another 4 to the list which means I will have to run it at least 6 times before I have seen all of them (good planning there, race-organizers).
Getting to the start and parking and registration was quick, then out into the cold to wait in the most famous queue before any race, as shadow gave way to light the morning air got a little crisp and we headed towards the starting line to warm up between other bodies.
We found the Fish Hoek group quickly (that is the one thing about our kit, it stands out). The announcer was saying something in the distance but it sounded like bla bla bla where we stood, and for all I knew he could have given away a million bucks. The starting gun sounded and the lead runners sped away like horses, me and the rest of the slow squad could enjoy the traditional “Chariots of fire” and feel like champions whilst trying not to trip over one another, luckily the field spread out quickly and we made our way into the neighborhood.
Your first part of the race is relatively flat with some turns here and there, slowly making your way towards the children’s hospital where you get to drop off a teddy bear hopefully most of those weren’t too sweaty ;).
Towards Rondebosch commons, (some horrible memories came back for Cape Town marathon were some smart ass told me “you’re almost there” even before the halfway mark), then a slight downhill section towards a very congested concrete footbridge that goes over the highway, this bridge wobbled while running over it! For a while I fought I was having a stroke or something, I was actually glad to be alive when I got to the other side.
Then the torture starts! Up and up, let’s run a bit my trusty running partner says and the answer he got was Nope!
The next landmark I actually remember seeing was UCT which was really difficult to miss as you run through the middle of the ghostly empty classes and then some more uphill, this uphill will make Chappie’s hang it’s head in shame. Some smart ass and his Golf decided the road closures were for other people and he was revving his car behind the walkers and a lot of people walked past him and plant themselves squarely in front of him so that they don’t have to breathe in his toxic exhaust fumes. If he had joined us for a run his day would have been a lot less frustrating.
Still up… with a little bit of a flattish section just before you see the Rhodes Memorial, thank the Gods for Rhodes Memorial, it means the end of the uphill and I could finally get some running in with my early morning walk.
Downhill we went and guess what, I notice about halfway that I forgot to lace my right shoe into that little top hole that prevents your foot from slipping forward and I could literally feel my very short toenail hitting the front for my shoe with every step. I almost made one chick fall over when I told my husband very dryly “there goes another toenail”.
The next part was pretty awesome between the trees next to the highway, I have looked on with green envy as people were running on this piece before and finally, I had my chance.
Down through a bridge and some more gentle downhill.
From here on things got very foggy I knew we were running in some beautiful places, in a forest, next to a river, at one point we ran through the brewery or just past it. Two dogs waiting for the runners to pass and that is about it.
The hotel that dished out Bar One’s during Cape Town marathon was all quiet and there were no emergency happiness chocolates in site.
I also remember there being a lot more ups than expected and losing the will to live at about 18Km’s, with my trusty buddy trying to coach some life into me until I gave him one of “those” looks, he decided survival might be more important.
I am sorry to say, organizers, I don’t remember a lot about the water tables, which in this case is good news.
Like always awesome marshals and race-coordinators, thank you for giving up your Sunday morning to help others. We will be back next year, but a little bit more prepared!
Elevation gained 248 meters. Sweat, loads of buckets!