Sunday, 25 April 2010

Wet, wet, wet - SPUR Adventure

On Saturday we had the 5th annual Gauteng SPUR Adventure event, one of four in the Series, at Groenkloof Nature Reserve in Pretoria. Despite Friday being an absolutely perfect day, the expected cold front moved in bringing with it cold, cloud and rain from Friday evening and all the way through the weekend. As such, the SPUR Adventure was a wet, wet, wet (and muddy) event.

Attendance at this race is usually in the region of one thousand participants; about 750 on the Adventure Challenge course and the rest on the Nature Trail (run/walk) and Bushbaby Trail. SPUR brings along their bells and whistles for the event area (super branding, co-sponsors, Coke Gig Rig, SPUR burger truck, children's entertainment) to make this a superb family event.

Unfortunately the event was well and truely rained out - but still we had around 60 participants on the Adventure Challenge course, about 20 on the Nature Trail and a handful of children. I was delighted that the Adventure Challenge people so enjoyed riding and running in the rain and mud and was even more impressed at the number of parents participating with their children and the astounding number of young girls taking part.

I've had a couple of days out at Groenkloof planning and refining the route. We used this venue last year and I knew that in a few places some tweaks to the course were needed. Just over a week ago I opened up some animal trails I'd used last year, which - with an additional year of growth and good rains - were very overgrown. During my meanders in the area I was fortunate to see the kudu, giraffe, zebra and a lone wildebeest a few times.

On Friday when I was out tagging the route for the run section, giraffe were my company. I took a pic of Ugene Nel, co-ordinator of the Series, taking a look at these lovely animals.

And later on Friday I went running on the run route and the Nature Trail with SPUR's marketing manager, Etienne Ralphs. We saw the giraffe a few times at different places, three lots of kudu and two groups of zebra. It was drizzling and absolutely amazing conditions for an afternoon run. The next pic is of Etienne. How cool for these Cape Town guys to enjoy these highveld wonders.

After the race, winners Ryan Hodierne and Brian Gardner told of nearly being run over by giraffe on the run route. Ryan said that a number of giraffe ran across the trail, between him and Brian - and they were only about 10 metres apart. Colse call! Thankfully they were not injured - we'd have a hard time explaining the cause of any giraffe-incurred injuries to a hospital. They'd probably send us all for breathalysers!

As for the event, it was great - despite the rain. My thanks to the participants for enthusiastically taking part, and enjoying the course, in the wet, cold and rain. My marshals stood out in the wet and cold, making sure the participants were taken care of - and they also picked up the tags and boards marking the course afterwards. And also to SPUR, Etienne and their partners for presenting this event annually. It's the best family-orientated sporting event around. Also to logistics-Peter for his team's work. And, of course, to Peter for his assistance pre-race and on the day and also Ugene, for co-ordinating everything to make the event happen. It is always super to see you both.

Till next year.

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