A runner’s review: Groot Constantia, 16 May 2015.

Las“I am cyclist. And a hiker. It’s a long story.

I haven’t run for many years but having turned 40 this year I am on a mission to get fit. We live in the most wonderful city in the world to get fit outdoors. I have no idea why anyone would join a gym in Cape Town.

I ride the Cycle Tour every year so it was a natural part of my plan to increase my cycle training to 40-50km each weekend (and not just the weekend before the race). I ride along the most beautiful roads across the southern peninsula. As well as lungfuls of sea air, you get a good view of the mountain from the saddle and eventually you get tempted on to it.

Working my way through the 30 Best Walks in the Cape I have been treated to breathtaking vistas and the city has become a little smaller as I map it from some unique vantage points. Being on top of Table Mountain gives you a sense of Cape Town that road users will never appreciate.Hiking allows your mind to wander as well and I find strengthens the mind as well as the leg muscles.

So, as my 41st birthday approaches and I have only a few kilos I still want to lose, I am a new man in many ways. Being active and outdoors is addictive. I am quite fit now and I thought I would test myself with a ‘fun run’. The annual Slave Run is an event that like the Cycle Tour brings its communities together. Two weekends ago I ran 10km through the CBD and it was fun: the route and the people make the event. But I couldn’t see myself thumping the tarmac and dodging cars road running on ordinary weekends.

The Slave Run goodie bag contained a copy of Runner’s World magazine and in there a mention of the TSiBA trail runs. The mental process went something like this: running was fun (sort of) and I have some kilometres in my legs, all the exercise of running without compromising my wish to be in nature (and avoid cars), an awesome cause to support, Born to Run made sense, give it a go.

So, I found myself slightly apprehensively arriving at Groot Constantia wine estate early last Saturday morning. The car park was packed, there was excitement and camaraderie in the air. (If but for an unfortunate stage of load shedding there would have been the smell of freshly made coffee.) We gathered at the start line to receive our route briefing and then suddenly just after 8am we were off and running. The morning mist was still settled low over the vines and the ground beneath our feet was damp but the rain held off in most part. I took it easy, uncertain of what 10,4km off-road would feel like for a novice runner. A steep ascent to the top of the estate and then a circumnavigation of the vineyard returning past the original homestead and the first loop was completed. I felt comfortable and kept going enjoying the second loop of the circuit even as my legs grew heavy. My minimal barefoot running shoes performed admirably on soft ground, no slips or ankle twists. The finish gave me a sense of achievement (my first trail run completed in about an hour) and a complimentary glass of Groot Constantia Rood as my reward.

I plan to be at the start line again for the remaining two trail runs in the TSiBA 2015 series”.

Las Madurasinghe
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