Sunday, 13 November 2011

Five Race Favourites

Road racing season is in full swing down here in South Africa and I must admit: Sitting on the sidelines is so hard!  I really miss running (and especially racing!), but I know this is only temporary.  One of these days I will be running races with little Karli and her jogging stroller in tow, or I'll be having not only one (Will), but TWO dedicated fans waiting for me at the finish line!  Can't wait!

I've been thinking a lot about all of my past racing experiences lately and thought I'd share my top five favourite races (done to date) with you:

1.  The Walt Disney World Half 2010

Without a doubt my favourite race ever!  I've always dreamt of combining racing and travelling, and in January 2010 my dream finally came true: I travelled to Orlando, Florida (my very first overseas trip) all by myself and had the experience of a lifetime!  I LOVED every single minute of that trip (and race!): Walt Disney World; the expo (!!!); the snow falling at the starting line; the characters along the way; the MEDAL; the post-race food; the US - everything!  Definitely hope I can do that again very soon!

Thumper and me at the Animal Kingdom post-race.


In April this year I did my second ever overseas trip to Paris, France to complete my first ever marathon - the Paris Marathon 2011!  Paris is sooo beautiful - I felt like I was walking in a picture for the entire time that I was there.  The race itself was also surreal - starting at the Champs Elysee and running past all those beautiful landmarks felt like a dream!  Definitely a lifetime highlight.

Paris Marathon 2011 Expo.

3.  Jeffrey's Bay 5 k 2004

Jeffrey's Bay, one of the surfing meccas of South Africa, is a beautiful coastal town located in the Eastern Cape Province.  The 5 k race itself (which is hosted alongside a half marathon) is nothing spectacular - no big and fancy bling; no bulging goody bags; no mass participation.  But this specific race definitely stands out as the most fun race I've ever done.  Why?  Because I ran it with my Dad (he since had to stop running as a result of an old back injury).  We laughed and giggled non-stop - at some point I really felt like I couldn't take another step because we were laughing so hard!  One of my all-time favourite memories for sure.

A bird's eye view of Jeffrey's Bay.  [Source.]

4.  Knysna Forest Half Marathon 2009

This race is unique in that it starts right in the middle of the Knysna Forest - a natural forest located near the beautiful coastal town of Knysna in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.  Runners are transported to the starting line with taxi's (no private vehicles are allowed in the forest on race day) and there, at a cozy, temporary little starting line town, everyone huddles together in the cold (the race is held mid-winter) drinking hot chocolate and eating rusks until the race starts.  This was my very first half marathon - and a proper disaster at that!  I drank not one, but three pure fruit smoothies the day before the race...  Just for a bit of extra energy...  Needless to say I spent half of the race behind the bushes and didn't break any course records that day, but still an awesome race that I definitely want to do again (minus the smoothies, of course!).

Charging towards the finish line at the Knysna Forest Half 2009.


I LOVE ladies' races!  And this is the biggest one held in South Africa annually.  In 2010 the 5k and 10k races held in Pretoria attracted a combined total of 24 000 ladies - awesome!  I love this race for so many reasons: The camaraderie between all the fellow lady athletes; the pink race t-shirts; the lady specific goody bags; the bling; the fun after-race activities; the giving away of a brand new car in the post-race lucky draw...  They'll definitely be seeing me again!


Then, of course, there's also a few dream races for the future...  I'll be sharing those soon!

3 comments:

  1. Jeffrey's Bay is one of the few places I remember from living in SA as a child. Looks beautiful, and I would love to race there one day!

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  2. One of my goals is to run the Walt Disney marathon someday. Your right I think it would be very fun to make a family trip out of it and get in another marathon.

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  3. Glad I recently found your blog! The beauty of the Paris marathon sounds great, but the uniqueness of the forest race sounds fun, too. Great memories!

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