RACE REPORT – Winelands Half Marathon, I’ll be back by James Gaylard

Saturday 26 November was the occasion of my first, and hopefully not my last Winelands half marathon. Annelize organized a house for 8 of us (4 marathoners and 4 halfies) and it was wonderful getting to know some of my clubmates a bit better. We had a fun Italian meal out on the town on Friday night and a slightly less fun 4am opstaan on Saturday morning.

This was the first 21.1 “race” for me since the start of the pandemic and was a lot of fun. I ran Cape Town marathon a few weeks ago which was awful, and this was right on the other end of the scale. I felt strong throughout and managed to accelerate over the last 5 ks – which always feels good.

The race organization was in my opinion top-notch. There was a lively and very pleasant gees within the running group and from spectators lining the route. I like the course a lot: First a 5k loop around the drop around the dorp, then 6ks along the R44 (scenically the least interesting, but with perfectly rolling hills which are great for the legs). Then there’s the 3k climb up the Stellenrust road (the previously infamous “gravel road” which is now tarred, but still infamous 🙂 This climb is tough, especially when you’re pushing hard, but is well rewarded with the last 7 ks being mostly gentle downhill along the beautiful Blaauwklippen Road. By contrast to CTM, it felt amazing to finish a race and still have some energy left over to enjoy the rest of the day.

Thanks to the organizers and my fellow runners for a very pleasant experience and for confirming my (current) view that 21.1 km is the perfect distance for a road race! Winelands

I’ll be back!

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