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
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
¿ 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.