RACE REPORT – Knysna Half Marathon by the winner in his age category

KNYSNA FOREST MARATHON

RE-VISITED by Neville Frieslich

This half marathon traditionally starts in freezing icy cold conditions but this year it was HOT HOT HOT with berg winds and a dehydrating 28 degrees the hottest in its history I believe.

We had to be up early to get to and join the queue for the taxi trip up into the forest start. The taxi drivers doing a great job, racing back and forth transporting the thousands of runners in time.

Nevertheless I was privileged after a 20 year break to line up at the start with my running mates Horst and Theo (they having run many Knysna full marathons including the inaugural one in 1984) quite a few other club members and 5000 plus other runners. The locals were there as usual to collect the discarded blankets and clothing but due to the hot weather, very little was to be had sadly a bit disappointing for them.

The gun goes and very soon you are going uphill and you are reminded that this is a tough half marathon with very little flat – its up and down you are going to go.  Mostly on gravel roads which are very rough and rutted in many places and plenty of dust in the dry windy conditions. The only respite is the beautiful views over the forest and of Knysna from the high points in the race.

You reach the highest point at about 15km and we were greeted by repeated elongated screams of maraaathonnnn maraaathonnnn by the locals trying to spur us on. From here you begin the toe stubbing muscle jarring almost 4km steep decent through Simola Country Estate back down to the main highway at 19km. Always a twist in the tail and this time it was the few horrible steps taking you back up to the main road after crossing underneath it which our tired legs negotiated with some crab like walking.

The finish is now in sight only a km or so away but seem to take forever to get to that cold beer and other festivities there.

The half was tough enough but hats off to Adrian and Nicola who did the full marathon a huge achievement in the heat.

The water tables were caught short by the unexpected hot weather otherwise the race organization was great.  Always a wonderful party atmosphere in Knysna at this time.  Its such a lovely race to run if you up for a bit of a challenge.

For me it was a most enjoyable trip but I don’t think I will be back in another 20 years my zimmerframe won’t handle those hills.

 

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