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The Thirteenth Rhodes was run over 52 kilometres on the 21st July 2001. Congratulations and thanks to all those who participated.

Our thanks to Van Zyl & Pritchard (Jonathan Fuller), the main sponsor, who very kindly sponsored the medals, T-shirts and gloves.

Special thanks also to the young Raubenheimer family and friends (see below) and Sarel Steenkamp and family.

The Race

A stunning white village greeted the runners on the morning of the race. In thirteen years of organizing the race, we had never seen such a sight ourselves. Great for the runners, but stress for the organisers. 5am calls to Tiffendel confirmed our worst fears – it was still snowing and thick fog obscured visibility.

Sandra Rheeders at 'Elibank' relayed that the cement track was covered in snow.

At this stage it seems that it would not be possible to get vehicles to the top to monitor runners, and the Kloof itself could be impassable. We are very grateful that at this stage Gerrit Henning had come into the village to assist, and without his help and advice, we would not have run the race on the normal course. Thanks to Gerrit.

A crucial decision faced the organisers. The start of the race was postponed for half an hour while Gerrit Henning undertook a recce of snow conditions. He estimated that only one vehicle would get to the 21km check point before the snow became compacted.

At this stage, it seemed likely that there would be no seconding at the 21km station (On Top), and that runners would actually be without seconding from the 14km checkpoint to the 28km turnoff at Tiffindel.

By a stroke of fortune and foresight, the young Raubenheimer family, together with friends had camped in the Kloof the previous night to set up a “secret” seconding station midway through the Kloof. This tough group of young men and women had carried in Energade, food, tables, everything required for a water table the previous afternoon. This inspirational effort enabled us to run the race along the normal route.

The alternative route which was seriously considered at one stage, would have involved running from the village of Rhodes to the top of Naudes Nek pass and back, along the main road. Very boring.

Fortunately, things turned out well with old stalwarts Sarel Steenkamp and family managing to get to 25km with a feast of provisions including the usual cake, koeksusters, sandwiches, chocolates, Coke, etc. As it was, only one vehicle managed to get to the 21km checkpoint, which cancelled the usual On Top party.

Despite very difficult conditions in the Kloof, and the usual thrills and spills, all the runners clocked in.

Reinhard le Roux (Perm no 18)


Last Updated on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:33  

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