Race Report: Jacques Buys – Rooiberg FRESHtive stage race

Rooiberg situated 50km west of Bela-Bela played host to the Freshtive ultra and stage trailrun.

Day 1 set off with the 44km race starting in the center of town with about a 3km neutral zone regulated by a donkey cart before the racing started. Definitely something unique getting the Rooiberg community involved.

I knew it was going to be a very fast route looking at the previous year’s times. This suited me as I was making a lot of progress on my speedwork in training leading up to the race. My goal for day 1 was to attempt to chase the course record of 3:08 for the 44km route set up by Thabang Madiba. So the race strategy was to go out as fast as possible while still running at a pace I could hold for 3 hours (a lot harder than it sounds with a huge risk of bonking). A few unexpected kicker climbs and very sandy trails in the last 10km of the route got the better of me and unfortunately I didn’t have the legs for the course record finishing in a time of 3:15.

The route of day 1 contained a bit of everything: rocky, sandy, uphills, steep downhills and flats and fast parts as well with an abundance of wildlife along the route. Even caught a herd of giraffes off guard and ran straight through the middle of them causing quite a stampede in the process.

Stage 2 took us to Doorndraai Lodge on a game farm just outside of Rooiberg. The route proved to be a more technical compared to day 1 but luckily only 21km.

The legs were still a bit tender from the previous day and really showed on the climbs. Even the downhills hurt a little bit but luckily I still managed the stage win.

Rooiberg hosted the Paradise Festival along with the race providing some chilled post-race vibes with live music and food and drink stalls contributing to recovery

An all-around awesome event organized by Fresh Trails.

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