Saturday 15th April dawned to be a beautifully calm and slightly chilly morning- perfect conditions for a 19km run! Trail runners from the length and breadth of the Garden Route as well as visitors from as far away as Cape Town, Joburg and even Italy, checked in at the Pick n Pay Goukamma Traverse registration tables with eager anticipation to run this 6th annual event.
A medium distance 19km trail run through Cape Nature’s Goukamma Nature Reserve, there are few trails in the country that offer such a balanced combination of remote single track, Jeep track and peri-urban running.
“It’s a really tough run, make no mistake!” said race organizer, Amanda Dixon. “Once runners cross the Goukamma River on a large pont, the race starts off along a sandy jeep track which then transitions onto single track up a series of climbs towards Sedgefield. Although it’s not a technical trail run, the climbs definitely test the fitness of runners and those not accustomed to running on sand have to dig deep into their reserves.”
Quinten Webster commented, “I thoroughly enjoyed the run although at times I wondered what I was doing! God willing, I will be back next year!”
The leader board of the 2017 Goukamma Traverse was established early on in the race by the youngster Ross Welsh. Having come second last year, he beat his 2016 time by 9 minutes and 16 seconds, coming in at 1:29:07, followed by Italian youngster Andrea Biffi in a time of 1:32:56 and Theunis Botha finishing third in a time of 1:36:48 with an impressive sprint that belied the difficulty of the trail run.
First lady in, Charmaine Lamprecht, crossed the line in 1:56:46 in a comfortable pace, with Jo Tanner second in at 2:04:45, while Robyn Tayelor beamed as she cross the finish line in third place at 2:07:40.
Whilst athletes sat eagerly awaiting the prize giving ceremony, race organizers attempted a Mannequin Challenge for the first time- a cameraman moving through a crowd set ‘frozen’ in motion. “Everyone did a brilliant job and we’re really excited at how the video turned out. We’ve loaded it onto the Tumbleweeds Events and Slow Festival Facebook pages so do have a look!” said Dixon.
The organizers would like to thank sponsors Edwin Bartie and Richard Godwin of Pick n Pay, presenting sponsors SOGA Organic and prize sponsors AfriCamps and Knysna RIB Adventures. Thanks also to Keith Spencer and Karen Bekker from Cape Nature for permission to run in this paradise, the Sedgefield Lions for marshaling, Warren Page from NSRI Sedgefield for medical standby and quad bike assistance and Christo Theron from First Care Medics for emergency and ATV standby.