Monday, 24 November 2014

Red-tape Races

Tsk, tsk, tsk.  I adore them, but they're quite obviously not my strong suit: Red-tape races.  And by red-tape races I mean trail running races where the route is marked with teeny, tiny little ribbons of danger tape in bushes, on droppers and around trees at varying intervals along the course.  How on earth is it possible to love something that you stink at so much...?

But let me start at the beginning: On Saturday I took part in the De Beers Vulture Conservation Trail Run on De Beers' Benfontein game farm just outside of Kimberley.  There were 6 km and 12 km distance options, and I opted for the former, seeing that Will would be waiting for me to get back after the race before he could go for a bike ride.  It was a smallish race with a laid-back feel to it, and with the pre-race briefing including warnings for things like snakes, bees and antelope, I was in my element.  Until the announcer said the dreaded R word: Red tape.  I immediately had a flashback to my tiny torch run earlier in the year, where I unknowingly led a chunk of the field astray by getting lost, and I'm sure I uttered a nervous giggle.  Oi - me and red tape.   


The race briefing.  The gentleman in front of me was obviously equally saddened by the news that there'd be red tape.  [Photo by Kimberley Harriers (source).]

Anyway, this time my strategy was different: No more front running for this directionally challenged mama.  I stuck to the three guys in front of me like glue.  At one point in the race the lady behind me shouted that I was going in the wrong direction, but I didn't care.  The entire field in front of me was heading south (it could, of course, also have been north, for all I know), and I was following suit.  I've learnt my lesson.

It was a tough run.  I'm not sure if it was the heat (the race started at 07:00, which is quite late for our part of the world), the wind, or jumping over a gazillion bushes, but I was breathing inappropriately hard by Mile 2.  Which is slightly concerning, given the fact that my goal 10 km race for the year is in exactly two weeks' time.  Oops.

Anyway, there I was, all chuffed and happy to cross the finish line and receive my medal just a step or two behind the three guys who I religiously stuck to in order not to get lost, just to hear the following words from the finish-line marshal: "You guys missed the portion of the route going over the dam wall".  Damn.  I did it again.  Only this time I wasn't the (only) red-tape missing culprit, phew.  So, nerds that we are, we retraced our steps, finisher's medals already in hand,  and finished the portion of the course that we missed.  Sigh.

LOVE the medal!  See the vulture head?

I'm actually considering staying away from the red-tape scene for a while, fearing that I might be getting a reputation: "There goes that crazy marker missing lady!".  You know?  Perhaps I should let Will tie a few danger tape ribbons in trees around the neighbourhood and practise finding them on the run...?    

Nah, who am I kidding?  I'll never be able to stay away from the trails.  See you at the next race, but whatever you do, don't follow me!


10 comments:

  1. Ai hehehehe Saar! Ek ken daai gevoel. Maar trails is tog sooo lekker! Hulle kan tog nie die goed beter merk nie man!
    Daai is sowaar een van die mooiste medaljes ooit, wow! Welgedaan xxx

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    1. Dankie, Serie!

      Ek dink die enigste manier hoe ek NIE die pad sal byster raak met so 'n race nie, is as hulle letterlik 'n baan van begin tot end span met die rooi tape, hehe! Eintlik is die vlaggies soek seker maar deel van die sports - as ek tog net nie so vrek vrot was daarmee nie...! Die ellendige goed vat my race day anxiety na 'n hele nuwe vlak toe, heheeeee! :)

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    2. Ja gonna, wou eintlij se KAN hulle tog nie die goed beter merk nie man! Seker is die soek deel van die sports maar ek is jammer vir my enkels so kyk liewer grondlanges as op om te kyk vir linte! Ons sal sien wat gebeur met 40km Table Mountain Challenge! Sal seker vir my n hele gevolg opbou as ek met my foon se gps navigator op voice guidance hol: In fourhundred meters, at the giant Protea, keep left left. Keep left. Make a u-turn. Hehehe!!

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    3. Heheee, die navigator is nogal 'n goeie idee! Sien nou al uit om jou Table Mountain Challenge post te lees...!

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  2. Hahaha love it. Also, that medal is amazing!!

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    1. I think it's the first local race medal EVER that I actually love - great job, Kimberley Harriers!

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  3. NIce one! I've gotten lost a few times but I've become quite good at the "find the marker" thing. I'm too slow to follow anyone and usually no one is behind me to follow me... :). I saw this race and was disappointed to find it was so far away. I love Kimberley and I'm looking for the right race to visit there but it is a long drive for 12 km ;).

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    1. Perhaps you could consider the Magersfontein 25 km? It's scheduled for 6 December, and starts and ends at the Magersfontein Battlefield about 25 km outside of Kimberley. The entire route is on gravel roads (not trails, though), and goes to the town of Ritchie (where runners get an (optional) voucher to grab a beer at the Ritchie pub?!) and then ends on a hill back at the battlefield. It's one of my favourite local races (also organised by the Kimberley Harriers, like the Vulture Run) - it has a 10 km option too, which I plan on doing for the third time this year.

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  4. Haha I love that you all went back and did the portion you missed! True runners right there! :) I think trails are fun too, but I stink at them as well...I'm both directionally challenged and have a tendency to trip on my own two feet ha:) great job!

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    1. Thanks, Hailey! You and I should do a trail race together one day... I think we'll giggle the ENTIRE time...! :)

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