Monday, 22 May 2017

The magic of Forest Run

The 5th edition of my AdventureLisa's Forest Run took place on Saturday and we were blessed with the most perfect weather and a field of friendly and enthusiastic runners.

It is never easy out there - the Forest Run route is fairly technical and challenging. And as the day warmed up, the runners felt the heat.

What certainly makes Forest Run so very special are the people. The marshals are mostly made up of my friends and family, sometimes past runners, current runners' partners and sometimes strangers who hear about Forest Run and offer to volunteer.

In order of appearance on the route my magical fairies and elves this year included: Liz (my mom), Celliers (my fiance), Penny, Tersia, Sylvia, Andy, Maggi & Marcel (photographers), George & Joan, Sonja, Sarah, CP, Hugh & Taryn, Louise & Jan, Fred, Lizzy, Martie & JP, Karen, Tanja & Jacques, Warrin, Sharin, Duncan, Isaac & Lloyd (medics).

Martie made the delicious date squares this year. We've all eaten too many of them!

My mom Liz always puts in double-time on Forest Run, especially in the week before the event when she prepares meals for marshals, lunch packets for marshals (assisted this year by Martie) plus the food for the aid stations. It is a lot of work to shop, prepare, organise and pack everything and she does it so beautifully. She is also in command of the finish - recording the runner numbers and times as they reach the finish.

Celliers is my right-hand on the day and he keeps an eye on the waterpoints by dropping off marshals and driving through to check on them. We have little cell phone signal in most places of the route so it helps a great deal to have him doing the rounds.

Karen has helped me hugely this year with trail cutting and trail marking and she was out on the far side keeping an eye on the runners. We had a few issues with baboons taking down boards and markers in the week and as she knows the route as well as me, it was reassuring to have her keeping an eye on the spot where we know the baboons have been.

My marshals themselves... Some have been at Forest Run before - not just here but when it was out at Lakenvlei. They all have event experience - either from organising or a lot of participation or both. It so helps to have a team of people who have been at events before - who have been at this event before. With limited comms out there, I need people who can make decisions, deal with situations and who are adaptable to any situation that develops. They give me the freedom to stay at the finish to welcome the runners in.

Various marshals sweep from their points to collect the boards and tags that we put out. Sonja, Sylvi, CP, Sarah, Fred, Lizzy and Hugh cleared the route as they worked their way to their exit points. There is only one short section that doesn't connect with start-exit sections, which I'll clear this week.

Maggi and Marcel are my magical photographers and they'll be posting their photos on the Forest Run Facebook page in this week.

I left my fairy skirt at home on race day - in my hurry to leave the house I left it hooked over a chair. Nothing that some fairy wings didn't sufficiently remedy, but I did miss my skirt.

At the finish with two locals - Gerhard and Sean.
And then the runners. I'm sure Forest Run has the nicest collection of runners ever! This year I gave telephonic entries a try and many entrants went for this option - so I felt as if I knew many of them by the time race day arrived as we'd already 'met'. In addition to the usual email-entry-form entries, I also had entries by sms and whatsapp and Facebook Messenger! It was a bit of a juggle but actually worked really well.

For now I've got the results to type up, a report to write, runners to email, landowners to thank and a date to set for Forest Run 2018. I'll post a selection of my favourite photos later this week.


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