RACE: Dirtopia Mid Year Trail Run

Dirtopia Mid Year Trail Run was next on the calendar, well Spookhill was, but more on that in a bit. Muratie was the venue and it’s been a while since I ran this trail, September to be exact. Earlier this year there were fires in that region and most of the trails and trees got destroyed, so the trail was closed until it was rebuilt.

I had a run on Tuesday evening and I felt my knee act up a bit but I pushed through it. I patched it up with KT tape and ran short distances on Wednesday and Friday just to see how it would hold up. I was really keen for Spookhill on Saturday and then the Mid Year Trail Run on Sunday. Friday night I decided to rather not do Spookhill and rather focus on Sunday’s run as trail runs are pretty less taxing on my knees where Spookhill was quiet a hilly road run, which they say is one of the toughest in Cape Town. So I opted to rather do an “easy” parkrun on Saturday morning but then ended up running the same time as my PB. *rolls eyes*

Alarm went off at 6am, but only got out of bed at 6:45am. Not sure what it was, if it was the wife saying she was not in the mood to run today, or the fact that my throat was feeling a bit dry and scratchy! Oh dear, flu coming up? As if that was going to stop me from running.
Kitted up and off we went to Muratie.

It was a pretty chilly morning with a nippy cold wind and I was in two minds about running with my wind proof jacket on, but I had my arm warmer and with the sun slowly coming up from over the mountains I thought it would be ok.

Pre-Race Selfie!
Pre-Race Selfie!

We went to get our race numbers and on the way one of the top runners randomly just started talking to me about a recent trail run championship that took place. It’s always so nice to meet new people. He is doing the Hout Bay Ultra Challenge which is the SA Ultra Champs where most of the top runners compete. It’s a gruelling 70km, 4500m elevation with a cut off time of 10 and a half hours! I guess when you do events, you get to know the regulars and it’s so awesome chat to them. I love to see how this sport brings people together, young and old.

Where the start and finish line is
Where the start and finish line is
Crowd selfie
Crowd selfie

I decided to start right in front again next to the big boys and also took a selfie. You can see in the picture a couple of people smiling and taking in the vibe! It was a jam packed 12km!

We were off and the top runners were out of the block pretty quickly, there was no ways I was going to stay with them so I just got into my own comfortable pace in the beginning. With it being cold and all, the muscles were still stiff and cold so I definitely was not warm enough to push it so early on. I have been contemplating on warming up properly before an event but it seems just so much effort, but usually after 2km it’s fine.
We started off with some jeep track and about 1.5km onto the single track up the hill which took us through the forest and onto a zigzag section up with about 2km of 100m climb. The water point was pretty early at around the 3km mark and I actually needed some powerade for some energy. I decided because it is the cooler months, I don’t need my hydration pack for short distances. The views were magnificent and I was going to take a picture when I got to the water point but I totally forgot about it!
There was about a 500m downhill and then the next climb started, 120m elevation over 3km. I walked a few times much to my annoyance!
Once I was over the hill, the single track started and I started to pick up the pace a bit. I really enjoyed the next 5km because it was pure single track with down hills and a few short up hills. This section is usually lush with green forest and bamboo but because of the fires, nature is still healing itself. At the water point on 8km, the 7km runner started joining so this was going to be fun trying to get past them on the single track down where the path is quiet narrow as well as keeping the pace I was doing.
Last year about 2km from the end, there was a split for the 12km to do a longer section which caught me off guard and had myself prepared for it this year. This year they decided it was no longer required and this made me happy as I was now racing for an even better finish time. Half way in the run there were a few people that passed me and I lost sight of them but then caught up to them about 3km from the end and was determined to try catch up with them. It actually gave me so much more energy to pick up the pace the last km or so and as we got around the last corner I decided to make a sprint for it. 200 meters and I passed them and then I hear them picking up their pace and made sure they could not out sprint me! It was a very fun way to end off the run knowing I still had SO much energy left!

Saw this sight as I finished
Saw this sight as I finished

I think this was one of the best trail runs I have had to date. I felt strong and the knee held up. I was very concerned about my throat and as I sit here and type this, am hoping this is better by tomorrow, cannot afford to get sick or have this spread to my chest! At least I don’t have any upcoming races this weekend so I can get some rest but need to get a long run in somewhere.

I will probably do the Dirtopia run at Warwick on the 10th July but the next big one is the Bastille Trail Run.

After race selfie!
After race selfie!