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September 20, 2010

Trail runners take up Table Mountain Challenge in Cape Town

Table Mountain Challenge

This year’s edition of the Crazy Store Table Mountain Challenge was crazier than ever, living up to its name, as always. This is, without doubt, the most fun one can possibly have in a trail running event, thanks to the vibrant spirit and sense of humour injected by the organisers. And if you were not out there enjoying one of Cape Town’s finest spring days, then get set to get out there and onto that mountain – diarise this one for next year! There really is something for everyone to enjoy.

The Table Mountain Challenge route certainly is challenging, as it circumnavigates the “central table” of Table Mountain, taking in some of Cape Town’s finest scenery along the way, including the City Bowl, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Hout Bay, Camps Bay and more. The final sting in the tail is an ascent from Suikerbossie up Llandudno Ravine, along the top table and down Kasteelspoort – killer on the legs and lungs. Trail runners take on this challenging 35km route as individuals or relay teams, with three legs to choose between.

Looking at the photos, it is hard to say who had the most fun out there, the organisers or the runners.

I was in a team of three doing the final leg, so I had plenty of time to soak up the scenery before my mid-morning start from Constantia Nek. At the starting line, I was greeted by the Funky Chicken; at the Deer Park checkpoint runners were met by an Afro clown and the Jolly Jester. At the blockhouse transition, runners’ spirits were lifted by the sight of wobbly Obelix clipping their cards as they came through and there was apparently a gorilla somewhere in the shady forests near Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

Table Mountain Challenge

Who popped up atop Hout Bay corner but Spiderman. The guy gets around! He was slightly out of his usual comfort zone, quite far from the urban jungle, so it’s no wonder he was blowing a vuvuzela! A little later on, halfway up the mountain and at the foot of Llandudno Ravine, out popped the Jolly flipping Jester again. Anyway, I survived the rest of the leg without any more cartoon characters messing with my tired mind and finally hobbled to the Kloof Nek finish line much relieved.

The event wrapped up with a most entertaining prize-giving, conducted by the hilarious Chief Chicken Licken Trevor Ball, who kept things real and handed out various amazing prizes to almost everyone in the most random fashion possible.

Thanks to the Table Mountain Challenge team for a fab day out on the mountain. I can’t wait to see what outfits you guys conjure up next year!

Table Mountain Challenge

Here is an official race wrap from www.trailrunning.co.za:

Craziness was once again restored to Table Mountain as athletes of all shapes and forms made their way around this natural wonder of the world. The day’s line honours were taken by legendary trail runner Bruce Arnett in a record time of 3:48:12. He used all his experience to reel in the field over the latter stages and finished comfortably ahead of second-placed Manus Altmann.

The women’s race was quite different, as Katya Soggot and Karoline Hanks duelled throughout the race, which saw them both feeling the strain at the finish. Katya claimed first spot in a time of 4:32:12.

In the men’s team competition, Barry’s Team (Warren Petterson, Ben Brimble and Mike Bailey) and Team Contego (Tsungai Mwenengeni, Bernard Rakudza and Eddie Lambert) set the mountain on fire with a superb display of trail running. Both these teams caught the majority of spectators, marshals and time-keepers off guard as they set about destroying the record! Barry’s Team came out on top, as Mike Bailey pulled away on the final leg to secure the win and a new record of 3:16:00.

Table Mountain Challenge

The Salomon women’s team were in a similar a mood as they blasted off from the start and took a stranglehold on the race. They, too, broke the record and became the first women’s team to break the four-hour barrier. Their winning time was 3:58:44. These women had loads of fun on the course, blitzing past the men!

The day concluded with what must have been the best-attended prizing-giving ever seen. Chicken Man put on a great show as he entertained the crowd while giving out awesome prizes from the Crazy Store, Salomon and Cape Storm. The race went extra-green, as more than 80 indigenous trees were given away as trophies to the various winners.

Here are some comments from various participants:

Karoline Hanks: “Well done again, what an amazing, amazing day. You have it taped now! Everything ran like clockwork ... you should be really chuffed with the event and your awesome team! I really loved the green touch too, with your trees this year. Be fabulous to get that going next year again on a bigger scale. Your MC skills are exceptional, dear Chicken Licken – and everyone thinks you should be a stand-up comic!”

Elvis: “Thank you, thank you very much.”

Tatum Prins: “Well done and thanks for the amazing event! We looooooooove our tree! Best prize ever! Thanks.”

Samantha Obery: “TMC – blood, sweat and the vista were the only things bringing tears of joy. Thanks!”

Table Mountain Challenge

Jacques Marais: “The Crazy Store Table Mountain Challenge has attained legendary status – there’s no argument about that. Any athlete who has taken on this epic scramble-ramble-run around the mother of all mountains will attest to that. All I can say is, ‘frigging awesome!’ to each and every one of you who completed it in such fine style again this year.”

Chicken Man:“Yes, chickens are hot – damned hot. Will be in a G-string next year!”

Dog-walker: “You know, I am 80 this year and I wish I was born at the right time for all this trail running.”

Lizl Hobson: “I can hardly walk today and my kids laugh at me as I struggle to climb the stairs. But I want to thank you for a wonderful race. Table Mountain was a challenge, but still very rewarding. Thanks also for the yellowwood trees – such a wonderful idea and so well packaged by Heartwood. I will cherish mine forever.”

Ryan Scott: “Thanks for an awesome run. [I] was a little under-cooked on the training, so had to go more into Bear Grylls survival mode. Target was 4:20 and did 4:26. Hope the day was a huge success!”

Zahn Munch: “Thanks for a fabulous race, well organised and lots of fun. [It was] probably the hardest thing I have ever done but, looking back, what a fantastic experience – Cape Town in full panoramic view, all in one morning.”

Table Mountain Challenge

Photos by: Jacques Marais, OakPics, Trailrunning.co.za and Luke Powers.

 

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