Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zwartberg Runners Update

Zwartberg Runners turn out in force in KKNK races

- Brian Modra -

Seventeen Zwartberg Runners made the starting line-up at the KKNK Half Marathon and 10km races in Oudtshoorn on Saturday, 4 April.

It was a 4am start for some who value their morning cup of tea, before hitting the road from Prince Albert. Tracey Swanepoel's Combi, and the Modras’ Chrysler were needed to "transport the troops", who met at the Lazy Lizard before slowly making their way via the Poort, avoiding any misguided kudu and on to Oudtshoorn.

Despite a small navigational hiccup, the runners made it to the Wesbank Primary School in time to register and take their positions at the start. Roughly half of the bright orange T-shirted Zwartberg Runners were in the 21km race and the other half ran the 10km race, easily identifiable among the other runners.

The official enthusiastically shouted "On your marks, 3, 2, 1" then shot a blank. They were off, the 21.1 km runners starting about 100m ahead of the 10km runners, who soon passed them all at a thunderous pace.

Joshua Swanepoel, who is normally a very fast 10km runner, woke up that morning feeling ill, so he said he would walk it, but he passed all the other Zwartberg Runners and indeed most of the whole pack, "walking it" to finish in 45 minutes, with only the more experienced and professionals in front of him!

The KKNK race was well organised and had about 200 participants, from various parts of the Garden Route and Karoo, as well as from as far away as Norway. The runners were in good spirits, talking and joking along the way, perhaps only inhibited nearer the finish where the effort of endurance began to take its toll, and extra energy was reserved for muscles rather than tongues!
The route went initially out of town on a tarred road, but soon left that in favour of dirt roads and tracks through farmland.

The backdrop of the mountains, and the green fields alongside, complimented the good company of the runners. There is a degree of personal satisfaction in running a distance race and according to Zwartberg Runners' Janet Modra, "the fun of the outing is enhanced by mixing with other runners."

Well done, Tracey!

Zwartberg Runners’ Tracey Swanepoel completed her third Two Oceans ultra-marathon earlier this month in just over six-and-a-half hours. While it was not her best time, Tracey said that the race, its organisation and atmosphere were “incredible as always and really enjoyable.”

Swartberg Pass Half Marathon on 16 May

Zwartberg Runners are on schedule for their second Swartberg Pass Half Marathon and other races to be held on Saturday, 16 May. They are expecting a field of 100 or more, an increase on last year’s entrants.

According to Chairperson, Terry Barnato, local sponsors have again been very generous in their support of the race day. The club is again raffling a Karoo lamb worth R900 at R5 a ticket. Tickets are already on sale at The Lazy Lizard, while Zwartberg Runners members will be selling tickets in town and during the Town and Olive Festival.

Zwartberg Runners is well into its second year now and has seen a growth in members - 27 runners - and certainly a growth in enthusiasm and participation.

Future plans include organising trail runs off the road in the Swartberg Pass, which are intended to add some fun to regular running events.

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