This is the third year that this amazing 24km mountain race has been held. Having run the first two, I couldn’t bear to miss out on a year, and so took my legs to Ladismith to see if they had survived IronMan.
The race is now a month or so earlier in the year, so no ice-covered rocks like in the first year — but it did still look pretty chilly up on the mountain.
The first 5km is an easy run from the sports fields through some glorious fynbos before the climbing starts in earnest. Then it’s a long haul up to the kloof where you will find the river, and the waterfall that powers Stanley’s Light. You can see the light on the rocks below you once you reach the river. The light was on again this year. Once you have crossed the river you traverse along below a massive rock band until you start the steep descent.
Once this massive descent has turned you legs to jelly, there is a little surprise: you take a left along a dirt road, cross the river, and then just when you are hoping to head back into town, you head up the ridge in front of you! The good news is that the climb is not too strenuous, and that once at the top, you follow beautiful, runnable single track that snakes and undulates along the koppies before dropping you gently behind the sports fields.
I finished in a fairly comfortable 03:30:00 which was, as expected, quite a bit slower than previous years. To top of a magic day on the mountain, I won a voucher for a pair of Vibram Five Fingers! This is the first in a series of trail runs Ugene is presenting this year as the Quantum Adventures Country Classics.