Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Fabulous Forest Run

Forest Run went very well on Saturday and we were blessed with superb weather -  a light drizzle only came down after the runners were in (it did catch Sarah and Michael who were sweeping the last section of the course).

It was a small field with a total of 51 runners (eight people didn't make it on the day). You'll find my race report on the Forest Run website.

My days spent route tagging went very smoothly because of the grass cutting we did the week before. Nonetheless the days were long and I spent a good 11hrs on my feet on Wednesday and Thursday, putting in around another 6hrs on Tuesday and Friday out on the course.

I took my bike out on the Tuesday to mark the route but I definitely prefer being on foot, especially when I need to put out boards and droppers. I worked out too that I covered around 80-kilometres in marking the route. I do it in chunks and sometimes it takes me 5-6km to get back to where I've left my car after completing sections.

The photos from the run are magnificent. While I enjoy the ones of the runners, I'm besotted with the beautiful images of the forest.

I'd roped in Marcel Sigg and Margueriethe 'Maggi' van Rhyn to take photographs. And what a wonderful collection they have created.

Zelda Coetzee was a marshal last year, stepping in at the last minute to fill in for the booked photographer when he couldn't make it. This year she was determined to run but battling with ITB she had an op only a few weeks before Forest Run. As her husband, Johann, was marshalling, she too jumped in to assist - and take photographs at her spots.

 You can find all of the photos in the albums on the Forest Run Facebook page.

I've pulled off a number of images by Marcel, Maggi and Zelda to show you. Goodness, I  do indeed love this forest.

The start - from outside Lakenvlei Forest Lodge.
Runners at the start heading out from Lakenvlei. 7am.
There are horses at Lakenvlei that roam around when they're not taking people for rides.
There are a few places on the route with these beautiful forested 'avenues'. They're my favourite sections and seem to have been loved by the runners.
Photographer fairy - Maggi
Colourful flag bunting at Waterpoint #2 - the halfway feed station.
What a spread! Treats at the 24km Waterpoint #2. Eggie mayo sandwiches won hands-down again.
This is a lovely section with forest on the runners' right and Bass Dam on their left.
Bass Dam.

My plastic duck - keeping watch.

The only place on the course where you get your feet wet - at around 25km. It's a low-level bridge.
Fabulous helper Staci walking back with the chair and umbrella from the route split section. Staci assisted with catering and manned Waterpoint #2 and she swept the last few kilometres of the 35km course with Sue.
Colourful ball decorations hanging in the trees at Waterpoint #3 (only on 62km course)
Windmills for decorations at Waterpoint #4 (only 62km course)
Windmills on the approach to Waterpoint #3 (only 62km course)
No medals or dust-collecting trophies at Forest Run. Plants instead. This year, a sun-or-shade forest grass. It gets pretty little white flowers. 
Michael and Sarah at Waterpoint #1. They were also at Waterpoint #4 and they swept the route from #4 to the end. I'm very fortunate to have a wonderful team of on-the-day helpers.
With Sue (sweeper on the route from start to end of 35km route) and Liz, my mom (catering and waterpoint #2)
Dress-up is another fun part of Forest Run. I'm the green Forest Fairy; Zelda is the pink fairy ;)
At Waterpoint #2 - Johann (Zelda's husband) and Zelda. Staci is watching their antics.

Photographer Marcel (blue wig) with Sarah B. and Duncan at Waterpoint #3. 
A section named by Marcel and Maggi as 'The Enchanted Forest' - they're so right. One of the runners, Hein Koch from Middelburg, said that he'd email me with some names for the hills on the route... I think Marcel and Maggi have got a jump on the naming process with this one.
Wild, colourful dahlias, little yellow flowers... this place is beautiful.

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