I was very excited for the Rhino Run, my first charity run, and my second ‘official’ 10km. I entered (R160), I ordered a t-shirt (R200), and I even threw in R50 extra because rhinos are so adorable! Then Z ended up back at the vet for the weekend (R1000+) and I had to kennel Kinga (R130), and I took the N1 toll road (R80), twice (R120). So together it made it an expensive weekend. But it was worth it! The Rhino Run is a globally coordinated event taking place in 7 different locations (including Mississippi and Hong Kong) around the globe on 20 September. Funds go to other rhino conservation organisations and to help purchase supplies and build rhino ambulances. In Gauteng, there were a total of ~340 runners in all 3 distances (15km, 10km and 5km). They’re still tallying results to determine how much was raised this year.
When I signed up for the Rhino Run I didn’t know where the trail run would take place. I was horrified to find out it would be at Hedianga Farm, the same location and trail as The Beast. But I told myself it was for a good cause, and I was more mentally prepared, and I would be doing the 10km, so everything would be fine!
This event was really well-organized, and I’m appreciating that more as I run more trail races. For example: Racetime posted results the next morning, which was a nice change from last weekend’s race. I registered, got my goodie bag and my t-shirt (which fit perfectly), and all the distances started on time. Thankfully, the weather was overcast as the 10km started at 9:10am and it would have been blistering if the sun had been out. Between kms 4-8 I felt great, I was moving well, the scenery was beautiful and I was rethinking my negative attitude towards Hedianga Farm. There was jasmine blooming, succulents growing, and the breeze was brisk and cool. The terrain was very rocky and technical, and I was often slowing down to hike through rocky outcrops and ditches. All in all it was a great morning out, until…
That hill. That terrible, 2km hill at the very end that goes up and up, forever. Like a stairway to hell. Every time you get to a bend in the trail you think it’s over, but it just keeps going. I remembered it distinctly from the 5km in February, I knew it was going to be bad, but it didn’t matter. Essentially, at 8km, I checked out and resigned myself to walking. And so: I came in last. Yep- you read that right: last finisher on the 10km (official time: 1:54:45). 87th of 87. To be fair, there were 3 people who didn’t finish, but it could have been because they injured themselves, or got lost, or gave up, or maybe they died. It was a really tough run (for me anyway).
I’m new to trail running, so I would rate this trail as ‘technical’, meaning that if I’m not paying very close attention to where my feet are going I’m going to fall bloody and break something. In fact, there was someone who came off the trail with a sprained ankle. And there were others bleeding at the finish. Trail runs require you to have your head in the game. And for all my “I’m tired of being slow” talk, I was very slow on this race. In fact, I was 1min/km slower on this run than on the 5km in February. Being mindful, to me, means being conscious of my surroundings and adjusting my behavior and attitude to fit. I don’t regret taking my time on this race, and I did enjoy my almost 2-hour hike.
Regardless of my placement, I’m excited about up-ing my game and running the middle distances (8-15kms). There are fewer under-12s, and fewer chatty-Cathys. At this point, I’d rather be in the bottom half of these distances than in the top half of a 5km (and getting beaten by 12-year-olds). I’ve got my watch, my hydration system (including a whistle), and I’ve got time- so why not enjoy a morning of calorie burning and an ice cold brew afterwards? And there’s plenty of time to get my endurance and speed up before my next race on 11 Oct- the 8km Rock Rabbit Run with MRLT.