Golden Gate Challenge

October 18-20, 2019

Jacques Buys

It was great to be back on the trail running scene at the Golden Gate Challenge this past weekend. 

I got to throw down with some tough competition for the podium positions and to add to the excitement, the routes weren’t easy either. 

As always, I went out way too hard at the start of the first day but once the nerves and adrenaline settled, I got into a comfortable rhythm for most of the day. The route for Day One was the famous Golden Gate hiking route, the Ribbok trail in reverse. The biggest climb of the day came in the first 6km taking us to about 2500m in altitude so the lungs were moaning quite a bit. 

Luckily what goes up must come down, and we descended till about halfway. The rest of the day was supposed to be “undulating trails” as described by Andrew Booth, the race director. Lies… The heat quickly rose and Day 1 turned out tougher than expected.

The second day, although 2km longer than Day One, was supposed to be easier than the first day (another lie). 

Two big climbs awaited with the second having two false summits that had everyone’s humor dangling by a thread. The heat of Day Two really got to me and I didn’t have the best day out. But the views of the Golden Gate Park and the support at the water tables contributed a whole lot to motivation to get over the finish line.

 Day Three was hands down my favorite day of the weekend. The legs were feeling a lot better than it did the previous two days. But the highlight was being on top of the mountain, running on a ridge line while the sun was rising. Made for some awesome, Instagram worthy photos. I guess this is one of the perks of starting the last day at 4:30am with your headlight. The other perk is being able to finish with enough time to be able to watch the Rugby World Cup.

I went through some negative emotions on the first and second day but managed to come in third on both days. Fortunately I was able to make up the time I lost on the second place runner on the third day and managed a second place overall after the three day. First place went to Lucky Miya who left everyone in the dust behind him.

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