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!