Blood, Sweat and Cheers

GER­HARD UYS huffs and puffs his way over the kop­pies and vlak­tes of a knee-bust­ing trail in the East­ern Cape Ka­roo

South African Country Life - - In This Issue - PIC­TURES GER­HARD UYS AND MARDI DE KLERK

Run­ners take on a knee-buster in the Ka­roo

Iam mes­merised by the rhyth­mic rise and fall of the or­ange shoes of the trail runner just ten paces ahead

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¿ al­lows, and are a stark con­trast to the dry and faded Ka­roo.

At the same time, I am be­ing pushed for­ward by a string of run­ners be­hind me, mak­ing their way down a steep kop­pie, and I’m get­ting an­other push from my un­healthily com­pet­i­tive spirit, urg­ing me to in­crease my pace.

This is the sec­ond Lor­mar En­durance trail run on Fairview farm, be­tween Mid­del­burg in the East­ern Cape and Rich­mond in the North­ern Cape. The trail is named af­ter the Lor­mar Ara­bian horse stud on Fairview.

All I can think about at this stage is that the time for vas­byt is now, be­cause my knees hurt like hell, and still there are a few kilo­me­tres left be­fore the 12-kilo­me­tre ¿

Trail-run break­aways are usu­ally made up of three things – travel, run­ning in un­known land­scapes, and chill. The Lor­mar week­end is more than that. First, it’s a mo­erse long drive from Joburg to get there (1 600-kilo­me­tre re­turn trip, with 90 kilo­me­tres of dirt) for a to­tal 17 kilo­me­tres of trail run­ning, plus koek­sis­ters, il­i­otib­ial band syn­drome (ITBS, I’ll get to it shortly), free beer (if you pa­tiently play your cards right), a spit­braai, live music, a ‘ba­balas-bil­tong mix’, roost­erkoek and Lu­cas get­ting lost.

Most of my friends suf­fer from il­i­otib­ial band syn­drome to some de­gree. ITBS is a bug­ger and, in essence, is the in­jury of the ten­don run­ning from the thigh to the knee. But as run­ners we sim­ply can’t stop run­ning, and ITBS is a re­al­ity we have to deal with.

My group of run­ning friends ar­range break­away week­ends like this – some­one says, “Let’s go to…” and the rest of the group sim­ply replies with a “Yes”. Lo­gis­tics, dis­tance and de­tails are left for a week be­fore what­ever gru­elling event the bright spark came up with. We only re­alise af­ter many ea­ger yesses that Lor­mar is quite a dis­tance from Gaut­eng.

¿

¿ ! "we start, my fel­low ITBS suf­fer­ers and I line up next to our tents for a group stretch. The ITBS needs to be given a punch on its ugly

À # crossed, pulling on our knees we at­tempt to de­lay its malev­o­lent re­turn.

Ac­cord­ing to race or­gan­iser Rian Gouws, last year there were 40 run­ners, this year a tad over 100. The trail run is pre­ceded the week be­fore by two moun­tain-bike races on the farm, each host­ing about 200 rid­ers (Rian

CLOCK­WISE FROM OP­PO­SITE TOP: The sun sets over the splen­did Ka­roo land­scape on Fairview farm be­tween Mid­del­burg and Rich­mond. ● Rid­ers in full Ara­bian at­tire lead a pack of wild horses for the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Lor­mar En­durance trail run. ● The start of the night race, with the evening wrapped in pur­ple and or­ange hues, and the si­lence only bro­ken by the run­ners’ shoes on the sand. ● Noth­ing like a good stretch be­fore the short night race. ● Run­ners and farm dogs are treated to an evening drive af­ter the sec­ond run.

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