DATE: 25TH SEPTEMBER 2010
VENUE: MOOLMANSHOEK PRIVATE GAME RESERVE, FREE STATE
The long weekend of the 25th September saw a record number of 210 mountain runners tackle the 24 km mountainous skyline route that comprises the Thule 4 Peaks.
With the area suffering under major veld fires a couple of weeks before the event the terrain was a contrast of shades and looked beautiful in its hardship.
We had the privilege of having world class Ryan Sandes among the runners and were keen to see how he would cope on this short course against the likes of previous record holders Bruce Arnett and Izaak Mazibuko.
We like to boast that this route will be the toughest 24km’s that the runners will tackle. With athletes on average taking 6hrs to complete the route and backmarkers taking 9hrs one gets an appreciation of the rugged and adventurous route.
Our preparation soon led us to believe that the 2010 version of this iconic event was going to be special. We strive to introduce new athletes to the wonderful world of Mountain Running.
With almost two thirds of this year’s field being novices we certainly were pleased to have the opportunity of introducing these runners to our world.
The weather forecast was promising and although high temps were expected the runners were cautioned to carry enough fluids on the route.
Due to the larger field we started the event in 3 batches with a 15 min gap between batches. This was to try and eliminate the bottleneck that usually forms at the first rock scramble on route to the 1st Pyramid.
We had some very interesting route choices and it was soon evident that a lot of the runners were far more adventurous than what we expected with a whole bunch doing some serious cliff climbing to the 2nd Pyramid.
My heart almost stopped when I witnessed the snake of bodies climbing the cliffs despite a much safer route available.
We also had a couple of runners visiting the top of Vissierskerf although this was unnecessary they must have had a great view. The leading ladies bunch was among this group which eventually cost them the title.
Ryan Sandes absolutely blitzed the route in a new record time of 2h41min58sec with local farm laborour Izaak Maziibuko in 2nd under two minutes behind and Gerhard Uys in 3rd and Bruce Arnett in 4th.
All four of these athletes beat the previous course record. Shows what a bit of competition can do. Ladies honours went to Gerda Visagie in 1st, Natasja Kask in 2nd and Allison Ball in 3rd.
Of the 210 starters 204 accomplished their goal and completed this gruelling course. Well done to all of you. You are true warriors.
The Thule 4 Peaks in association with Salomon is however more than a mountain run. We strive to entertain the whole family and have a kiddies zone where the kids had a great fun filled day of pony rides, treasure hunts, face painting etc.
On Sunday we had a 24km Mountain Bike Adventure putting the Mountain into Mountain biking with riders ascending to an amazing view point overlooking Lesotho before descending the sand stone ridges and various canyons down to the game farm below.
We would not be able to host this event without the backing and assistance of numerous companies and individuals. We express our sincere gratitude and thanks to our title sponsors Thule and Salomon, as well as to our prize and product sponsors.
Thank you to the Nel family for allowing us to make use of their piece of paradise. It is a privilege for which we are extremely grateful. Finally a big thank you to all our marshals and helpers. We are dependent on all of you and thank you for your loyalty and assistance.
See you in 2011.