Tortoise Tuff Trail Run

14th March 2020 – Sedgefield

Chrissie Viljoen – The Sedgefield Striders club hosted the 23rd edition of the ever-popular Tortoise Tuff event. The 23km trail runs are described as follows: ‘The challenging trail run includes sections along the beach, through the Goukamma Nature Reserve, and up some serious sand dunes. Cape Nature’s co-operation makes it possible for runners to enjoy stunning views and almost untouched trails as a reward for their hard work.’

Perfect running weather greeted the 600 plus entrants on the day. The race starts with a shortish tar section that takes you to Cola beach for a tough 3.5km beach section. Being high tide, the sand was very loose and as much as I tried to find compacted footprints to run in, no-one seemed to have as short stride (or should I say legs) as I did.  Despite a 170+ heart rate, I dropped from 2nd to 5th position. My legs clearly not recovered from the half marathon six days earlier. Very relieved to see the back of the sea sand, we entered the hilly sand dunes of the Goukamma Reserve. The beautiful vistas, fair compensation for the suffering.. at least I thought so afterwards, LOL. By then I had caught up with the lady in 4th place. On each hill she passed me and I had to loosen the handbrake on each descent to make up ground again. The Two Oceans shirt revealing that she might be the ever so slightly more experienced runner. My favourite section was running at the top of Platbank, overlooking the spectacular Groenvlei lake on the right and Indian Ocean on the left. On the last climb before the long steep and sandy descent down to the Goukamma Bushpig trail, I pushed hard to pass the lady as I knew I would have an opportunity to bomb the downhill to get a lead. The plan worked and I managed to keep the gap in the last 5km winding through Lake Pleasant resort and the outskirts of Sedge.

I have rarely been so glad to see a finishing banner as the last 2-3 kilometers was pure agony, feeling like I had been shot in both hammies. Not my best day out, but crossed the line in 2:19 in 20th position overall, 4th lady and 1st in the 40-49 category. I don’t feel I have yet conquered this tough course… but I’ll be back!!

Photo credit: Lize-Marie Broderick

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