Race Reviews

Cape Town Marathon (2014)

So Spring is here in Cape Town and that means the Cape Town Marathon (21/9/14).

This year saw the event partner with Sanlam to become the title partner. The event was bigger and better this year. Race registration was at the Lookout at the V&A Waterfront. Simple Venue with copious amounts of near-by parking. The expo at race registration had the usual outlets selling lovely running stuff.

The course was altered this year to involve running through company gardens which is very scenic and lovely however to get there were several new steep hill climbs which come at the 25-26kay mark which is definitely a challenge but nothing a marathoner cant handle. Marshalls and traffic cops were out in force with friendly volunteers manly the water and coke stations every 3kay or so. Well organised it has to be said. The finish was also changed to the Green Point Athletics Stadium so there is plenty of atmosphere for the final moments. As an early spring event it does mean training hard throughout winter which can be tough but its definitely a great event and must for any road runner. Cape Town (the mother city) is a great host. I can’t wait for next years.

Running Kit

Running Shoes


I may have a slight affinity to running shoes, I need them, therefore they are a justified buy. I currently have three pairs that I wear depending on the type of run I am doing. I wear New Balance shoes mostly because I had a local NB Shop and the service there is always great. As a runner I think the more mileage you do or the more frequent you run the more shoes you tend to acquire. Every runner is different and there are a lot of choice out there.

Tip. Always try running shoes on, and at least walk/gentle jog around the store to see how they feel. Don’t buy blind unless you are buying your normal shoe same model and size that you are currently wearing.

Read product reviews where possible so you can know about any quirks in the design that has caused other purchasers issues.

Don’t go to a Sports Shop and expect the sales person not to upsell you into the more expensive shoes! They will even if they seem helpful and friendly and knowledgeable they are there to sell.

Running shoes are a runners most important piece of kit so choose wisely and be prepared to make an investment. cheap shoes can be hazardous.

Race Reviews

Jive Slave Route Challenge

My Rating 4.7 / 5 – for 2014

Quick Review: A really well organised event with something for everyone ( 5k fun run, 10k run, 10k walk & half marathon). Stunning views of Table Mountain throughout and interesting areas of Cape Town such as the Castle, City Hall, V&A Waterfront, Green Point Stadium and gardens and of course Koeksister‘ Hill inBo-kaap.


Review: The Jive Slave Route Challenge is hosted by the Itheko Athletics Club. You could either enter the race online or at selected Sportsmans Warehouses. Race registration was at City Hall and really easy to collect. Outside City Hall was the start of the race so was good that both were at the same place. There is parking around Grande Parade so parking was fairly easy on race day, do make sure you get there earlier enough though. There was sufficient toilets, however as always at races there are queues. A little surprise was there was coffee and food stalls. The half marathon starts first at 7 a.m. so it’s still dark at this point with the promise of sun rise moments away.

From the start the course takes you off to the castle so don’t expect to run off all guns blazing as you will come to a sudden stop as it bottle necks to enter the castle grounds. Once in the castle grounds happily running again you will come to another stop at a huge wall with a small corridor so be prepare to queue in a mass of fellow runners. This is all within the first kilometers.

Once you exit the castle you head off uphill, coming to the first water table. Water tables are spread every three kilometers which is pretty standard and they are well manned. From here you travel up into the Gardens area before returning into the centre via the beautiful Company Gardens throughout the course the 10k and 21k routes merge and separate, but at every stage there is friendly marshals cheering you on and giving direction. Also I noticed with this particular race at stop streets and crossings the marshals and traffic cops did an amazing job managing the traffic.

One of the highlights of the race is heading up into the Bo-Kaap area. There is the cobbled immense hill (read immense as steep). Runners have nicknamed it ‘Koeksister Hill’ due to the residents handing out koeksisters (delicious baked yummies). The hill had banners and every lamp had positive messages like “your half way, keep going you can do it!’ with residents cheering you. The hill itself is steep and most runners did walk up it (maybe even crawled up it). Once at the top though you can stop to soak in the beautiful views of the mountain and the city as its quite stunning, take a photo or two. You then come upon “the smile zone” with water and jive available and the guys at Smile Fm happily cheering you on and commenting. Do try to smile in the smile zone. Then its a lovely downhill you have earnt it, gazing in awe at Table Mountain.

From here you head towards Green Point Stadium and into the stadium gardens which are nice. Once you come to the V&A Waterfront you head along a wooden walkway that runs parallel to the sea. You can soak up the sea breeze before heading back through the city to City Hall to finish.

Visually a great course with great support, well worth a look and I will definitely sign up for next year.


Notes -This race is in May which is late Autumn so wear some layers as it’s rather cold at 7 am.

-This course is hilly with some stops (at the Castle) so you may not be able for a PB.

-Itheko AC are very friendly, you will see them in big groups supporting each other, they have a real community spirit which is              great to see.


Slight Criticism – This may have been a one off however athletes participating in the 10k race came rushing past the half marathoners at around the 4-5km mark. Most sprinting past without too much interference however I did witness one athlete push and elbow a 75 year old runner almost knocking him to the floor. This is definitely not in the spirit of running, there was plenty of space for the athlete to have maneuvered without having to run into and ultimately push the fellow runner. Fortunately another runner managed to get the runners elbow and catch him from falling over. So my minor criticism is maybe delay the 10k runners start so these incidences don’t occur. For the rest of the race it was a happy good spirited affair.

Beginners corner

5 simple tips for new runners

New to running? What are the benefits? Why should I run? (Or jog though running sounds why cooler than jogging, just saying!)

Running is a great exercise for fitness and general health.

Research has shown that long term benefits include:

– it lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease

– boosts mood

– energy levels

– helps to maintain a healthy body weight aka regular cardio helps to burn body fat

Unfortunately its not a case of run and you will be instantly slim. Weight loss takes time and is a combination of a what you eat + what you do + adequate amounts of sleep!

But I can’t run……This is not a legitimate excuse! Everyone can run and as humans we evolved to stand on two legs for this purpose. Running is relatively cheap to get into as all you really need is a pair of running shoes and willpower. Especially when you compare the price of running shoes to a gym membership!

So 5 tips for Beginners are:

1. Running shoes – The wrong shoes can be fatal leading to blisters, injuries and sore knees etc. Also worn out shoes stop being supportive which can lead to aches, pains and injuries so make sure you have a good pair by either heading to a running shoe shop or a retailer who can assist you. You must try the shoes on and even do a little run around the shop. Watch out for too tight? Too loose around the toe section, if you feet are sliding about etc. Running shoes are a runners biggest and most valuable investment.

2. Take walking breaks – You’re keen to get into running so you think you need to run as far as you can and for as long as you can. If your new to running and basically live a sedentary life (desk job etc) you’re going to need to start slow and take walking breaks your ligaments and muscles will need time to adapt which takes months. Try 2:1 ratio so run for 2 minutes and then walk for 1 minute. Repeat for 20 minutes. 2-3 times a week. After the first month gradually reduce your walking breaks by 10 seconds every other week until your can continuously run for 20 minutes. Then build your length up or switch it up with some intervals, hills etc.

3. Schedule time – To improve you need to be consistent, you can’t run three times a week and then miss a few weeks and expect to improve, so make sure you schedule your runs to fit in with your day to day and commit to running. By involving your family or friends into the schedule will make it more fun and you will be more likely to stick to it.

Just don’t partner up with your flatmate who loves wine, chocolate and all things take away and this could lead to both of you bailing and ultimately not achieving.

4. Enjoy It – Find your enjoyment in running whether you struggle with the run but love the feeling you get afterwards or the buzz of a running event. You need to find your happiness about running.

5. Don’t Overeat – This can be bad in multiple ways. I run therefore I deserve that massive triple chocolate sunday with that bottle of red. Running burns calories but not that many calories so don’t fall into the I deserve it trap sure have a treat or splurge once in a while but definitely not daily otherwise your gonna counteract the running and your waist is gonna get bigger….and you really don’t want that now do you? Another point is before running its best not to eat anything 90-120 minutes beforehand because anything you do eat will sit in your stomach and you may just end up feeling sick.


Running reads and Runspiration

I intend to grow this page as and when I come across stuff. Feel free to add inspiration and reads by commenting

Runners World check ours here in South Africa for races, tips, trends and food spiration. I find myself often trolling the calendar and booking my year away. Or using the pace calculator to work out if my finish time is doable.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – is a runners must. It eclectically combines history, mythology, human spirit and running in a quirky but inspiring read. You might not look at Nike Pegasus shoes in the same light again. You might just get this surge to suddenly chase the dog or the children barefoot to find that joy. This actually was my first running book read. I usually one to pick up a thriller in the fiction section. Am I now officially a running crazy? I definitely found myself googling about the people he mentions and the events.


Free on amazon is Chasing the Dragon: Running to Get High [Kindle Edition] by Mark Matthews click here just read. The book seems a collection of the authors blogs and some promotion of his novels but there is definitely things in it all runnings can identify with and at times makes you smile. Plus a guy who kicked his addiction and runs Boston Qualifier is pretty #inspirational check it out. Kindle app is free and works on pretty much everything.


From “couch” to marathon in a year!

Welcome and hello,

Attempting my own little blog sharing my journey from lazy, couch lover with mild wine tendencies, beer swigging and chocolate & cake monster to a runner. Some tips and probably lots of crazy………..so worth reading, well maybe.

I’ve always liked exercise, particularly running and an interest in health and nutrition. Life happens and socializing over wine with friends or chilling out in front of the tv on the comfy couch after a stressful day can be very alluring. The problem with the lazy life and the good life is your waist expands, you energy levels are on a all time low and you just don’t feel great. Well that’s how I feel, can’t be the only one.

So after complete the Gun Run in 2012 10k I was again motivated to getting back into the running life. The first goal was to run my second half marathon so I signed up for the very popular Two Oceans Marathon Tip. Nothing motivates better than having a race booked so definitely sign up whether it’s a 5k color or Zombie run or a 10km head over to your Runner Worlds site and check out the race calendar.

From Two Oceans I was feeling good and brave having always wanted to run a full marathon, I signed up for Cape Town Marathon that’s when training started to get too real. Sure my training program for the half marathon took up a chunk of time but marathon training took it to a new level. Running suddenly becomes a way of life and Sundays become Long Run Day aka up ridiculously early after eating a sensible meal the night before and getting out there before some have even made it to bed. Long runs range from 2 to 4 hrs long at a slow steady pace. It was winter too so I may have skipped a few more sessions than I should have.

Marathon day came and the weather was perfect, I felt as ready for this challenge as I could. It felt good up until the 26km mark. Then I walked aka zombied the rest of the way with occasional runs in between. My head was spinning with why did I do this? I just want it to stop? It’s so far….. But I made the finish in 5 hrs 14. I finished I had achieved my desire to run a marathon. I think your first marathon you definitely shouldn’t aim for a time unless your athletic.

My lessons I take from my first time are:
1. Pacing – Start slow, keep in at an easy pace slower than you normal pace especially if this is a new distance aka the furthest you have ever run.

2. Consistency – Follow or make a training plan, listen to your body’s feedback, but don’t just skip training. If motivation is lacking get someone involved or cross train at the gym. Avoid those duvet days unless you earn then. Ignore that temptress BED. Bed is for sleeping at night not lazing in the day. guilty as charged

3. Hydration&Energy – Events are generally really good at providing water, and energy drinks so definitely make the most of the water and the glucose boast at regular intervals if you burn out of your carbs store (glycogen) in your body your gonna feel really bad. Scientific research suggests the average person stores around 500g which is about 2hrs worth of steady pace exercise. From there it’s down to body fat to provide energy however the fat conversion process is slower so the body needs glycogen available. To if the events energy drink isn’t your choice then experiment with your own. Tip. never ever ever try something new on race day. A marathon is a big big thing for the body you don’t want to stress it out with something might cause a reaction at worse you could be desperately clenching those cheeks whilst frantically searching for the nearest porta throne to worship.

4. Be Battle Ready – We are truely our own demon be ready for the moment you head tells you, you are useless! You can’t do this! Find inspiration or a mantra like “I’m feeling strong, I’m feeling powerful!” Even faking a smile can give you a boost. Thinking about the finish and the sense of accomplishment also is a motivator, we are all different what’s yours?

5. Feel the vibe – There is something very spiritual, the atmosphere at a running event and a sense of belonging as thousands of feet beat across the starting line. It’s definitely an experience so feel the moment it’s special.

So from the couch to a marathon in a year. It’s doable. You can do it! And I’m getting better at not being so phasey between on it and sobbing out. Consistency and building up slowly (aka patience) are 100% crucial to success.