SkyRun South Africa
I am not really a morning person, but when my alarm went off at 2:30 am Saturday
November 19th I was actually excited because I knew it was adventure time. This was my first trip to South Africa and I had the privilege to run in one of the most beautiful, although hardest races in the country. The
Salomon SkyRun (South Africa) is a self supported, unmarked and mostly off trail course with about 15,000’ of gain over 100km. Runners have the option of any route they choose as long as they pass the 10 check points.
The gun went off at 4 am and we all took off down the road ¼ mile before hitting the first climb. As I topped the first big climb the beauty of South Africa was revealed as the sun began to
rise. Once obtaining the ridge line runners stay there until the big decent into Balloch. During this time I ran off and on with several other runners as we navigated our way through and over fences and over boulders. Luckily it had been a wet year on the mountain so between the few check points that had water taps available and the mountain streams I only briefly ran out of water once even though it was an extremely hot day.
Shortly before Balloch I started running with Dean Moore. We were running at the same pace and it was nice having company. As soon as you come into Balloch you go to the med tent where they check your weight, blood pressure and a few other vitals before placing a black sharpie dot on your thumb nail
showing you’ve been cleared. Balloch is the one place on course which runners can meet their crew, or Seconds as they’re called in South Africa. I did not have any crew support so I went to get my drop bag. I was fortunate that Dassie Nel was near the drop bag area and saw I did not have any help and volunteered to help. Having someone out of the blue volunteer to help you really means a lot. I think this speaks for the family type environment and good nature of everyone involved and associated with the race.
Leaving Balloch Dean and I headed up the wall (1,700’ in 1.8 miles) we were joined by a couple of other guys. Our group was making good progress and our goal was to make it up Bridal Pass and as close to The Turn (CP #9) if possible before dark. We ended up about
3 miles from the turn when it got dark and cold so we all stopped to add layers. Approaching The Turn we could see the blinking light at the CP that looked like it never got closer. After checking in at The Turn we had one more climb over Halston’s peak followed by a very technical (especially in the dark) decent to the finish line at Wartrail.
The SkyRun South Africa is a race experience like no other I have ever had. The self navigation and terrain are unlike any races in the States. If you’re looking for a destination race this should be on the top of your must run list.
Quick Race Stats
Time – 20h 52m
Place – 2nd open female, 4st over all female
Socks – Feetures Elite light cushion low cut
Nutrition – about 150 cal/hour
Hydration – Nathan Vapor Airess pack
Post race recovery – Hammer Recoverrite and Tissue Rejuvenator