The perfect way to end off the season!
My unspoken dream was to race an ultra in the same year Anzel was born, to get out in some proper mountains living out my passion. And what better way than the Kway Skyrun 2021, a race that I haven’t done for the last 6 years.
On the day, I received an abundance of favor from Above; I was healthy, the fittest I have been this year and I had a perfect day out in the mountains.
The biggest challenge was getting to the startline, flying both our moms in to look after the kids at home ended up being easier than traveling up and figuring out logistics with the kids. So a big thanks to both our moms and parents for making many sacrifices to enable both Christiaan and myself to toe the line.
Just before race weekend we had a lovely stay with Gerrie du Toit (one of my coaching clients) who lives on a beautiful farm close to Barkley East. A huge shoutout to Gerrie – he became our transport and entertained us on his farm – what a lekker mens! We enjoyed our stay on the farm immensely.
The road to recovery after Anzel’s birth certainly was not smooth. After doing surprisingly well in the George MUT race (only 4 months postpartum), I tried to maintain a consistent training schedule. But my body seemed to have taken a real knock after my emergency Caesarian and I continually struggled with some or other illness and low iron. The road to recovery felt long and hard.
But the last 6 weeks we managed to have a very good routine in the house. Christiaan and I worked together as an effective team, we had a babysitter, which all helped with focused training again. It felt surreal, almost like we were racing professionally again.
In the week leading up to Skyrun, I really prayed that both of will be healthy on the startline, as I had the disappointment of being sick at the Otter race just 7 weeks before. I just wanted to be able to give it my all on race day!
Race day started after a terrible night’s sleep, of course, as all the nerves did their rounds. It felt like it was the first time I was racing!!
But man, what a moment of goosebumps standing at the start again with 700 other runners.
The flares going off with hundreds of people cheering us on in the small town of Lady Grey at 4am. It was magical.
I ran towards the front as soon as we started, as I didn’t want to be at the end of the line once we hit the trail, as it leaves you losing plenty of valuable time.
It wasn’t long before myself, Kristen Heath (who won the Hout Bay Trail Challenge where I was 2nd) and Bruce Arnett were running together. Bruce has completed 21 Skyrun times, so I felt quite comfortable in his company.
At 5am, we had the most unbelievable sight. As the sun started colouring the early blue sky with pink and the full moon still intact, a herd of wild horses trotted past us. A memory for life!
Between 20 and 30 kilometers, I started feeling very comfortable and decided to start pushing the pace and soon the others were a bit behind. I trusted my navigation and my fitness and felt good. The wild and remote mountains thrilled and cheered me on.
I eventually joined another 100km runner, Piers Cruickshanks, and we basically ran together up to Balloch.
I spent way too much time at Balloch, probably since I am used to taking my time a bit more there on the 100k. But I tried to fuel up there, preparing myself for the wall and the final stretch.
The descent on the other side of the wall was the most challenging part of the run. I am happy to have overcome that last bit and so thankful to have ended the first lady in – record included!
The weather was fantastic, I think we all felt that on the day – the race is a whole different ball game when the clouds turn out nasty.
Both Christiaan and I have been so blessed. All glory to the Father. What a privilege to have celebrated and ended together on such a high note!
Big congratulations to Alpasfit athlete, Kristen Heath on your 2nd place, so proud of your journey, it really is special to be a part of and to Natalie van Reenen for rounding off the podium. You ladies rock!
To the K-Way Skyrun race organizers, the marshals and the people volunteering: thank you. Making an event in the mountains, like this one, possible is huge. We appreciate it.
Another big shoutout to my sponsors: Biogen, K-Way, Adidas, Garmin, 30South, Häzz, ButtaNutt, Karoo Pistachios, Almond Girl, Optique… thank you for believing in us and having our backs so that we can do what we love.