Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Itheko Slave Route Challenge Run 2013

We have done this race twice before.

Two years ago I did the 10km run, while Griffin and my sister Catherine did the 5km race. Last year I did the 10km and both boys did the 5km route.

It is organised by Itheko Running Club and is a relatively new race. It is not perfect and they are still ironing out a couple of logistical issues, but despite that it is a very well organised and well supported race, and it has a fantastic route and really nice vibe to it. It is different and interesting and I think pretty darn special.

This year A joined me for the 10km. So bright and early on Sunday 12 May (yup it was on Mother's Day) we got up and headed to the Cape Town Grand Parade in town ready for the 7am start. It was once again a beautiful perfect autumn morning in Cape Town.

Off we went. This route travels past and through many of the historical and beautiful parts of Cape Town. You start in front of the Grand Parade in Darling Street and run towards the Good Hope Centre and around the back of the castle. You then enter the back of the Castle and run through it and out the front entrance and across the moat. Then up into and around District Six before climbing up to to Roeland Street, where you run down to Parliament, and then up Orange street and then into the government gardens and along Government Avenue passing the Cape Town Natural History and Art Museums and then turning up Wale Street at St George's Cathedral. Then there is a little dog leg into Long street and down Bree street before crossing Buitengragt Street and heading up into the Bo-Kaap, there you take a side street up to the madly steep hill which goes up to Upper Bloem Steet. (I used to live in Upper Bloem Street when I moved back to Cape Town in 1996 and it is so steep my car couldn't get up that road and I had to take a longer alternate winding route up the hill!). It is  now dubbed 'Koeksister Hill'. It is REALLY REALLY steep. So steep that almost everyone slows to a walk on this hill and some have to stop to rest even. The support from the Bo-Kaap community is awesome though and they all come out to clap and cheer you on which is nice. Once you get around the bend at the top of the hill there is a nice reprieve of the contour road and there you can drink some Jive Cola and even have a Cape Malay 'Koeksister'.

After that the hard work is done and you just cruise down the winding descent past Beismillahs and then pound down Wale Street, left at the bottom into Adderley Street and Plein Street and then back down to the Parade. I managed to finish in a really good time, of just 47 minutes, but I do think the course was a little short as there seemed to be a marshaling fumble or 2 between directing the 10 and 21.1km groups. In future they really need to put sign boards up at the splits to make it more obvious and to put less pressure on the marshals. (A lot of people are refusing to return to this race due to this kind of error and it really is a shame because it is a fantastic race and well worth doing, and this minor issues is easy to fix!).

A finished a couple of minutes behind me and then we went back along the 5km route to find the boys, who seemed to be on a Sunday stroll and were not racing at all. We eventually told then we wanted breakfast and they'd better hurry up and ran off, pretty much finishing the race again and coming in with the sub-1:45 half-marathon pace-setting group. Which was fun. Once we were all done we walked up to TRUTH cafe for coffee and breakfast. It was a gorgeous morning in Cape Town and a lovely run. I'll be back next year!

Results are HERE

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