Rhodes Run Time Again
26 June edition of "The Reporter"
The lack of good rain in the district is certainly not an accurate forecast of the coming deluge. A deluge that will not necessarily bring rain, but a deluge none the less.
Mid-July is Rhodes Run time. 11 July will see the 27th edition of this iconic event that proudly showcases our district. Over 1000 people are expected to flood into Rhodes over race weekend. The trail run is without question the single largest tourism drawcard that brings much needed ‘tourism rands’ to an area that has been feeling the economic pinch.
Participants hope for sleet, bitter cold and snow. Weather that the runners see as perfect Rhodes weather. The blizzard like conditions that many experienced last year ‘up top’ were just what the runners been ordered.
This year will once again see an international flavour with athletes arriving from the UK and the USA. Boston resident Peter Cross will be making his 15th trip to Rhodes village to participate in one of his favourite events.
Both 2014 winners will be back to defend their titles. Johnny Young, a nine time Rhodes finisher, and Capetonian Karoline Hanks will be hoping that race day conditions favour them. Karoline won last year at her first attempt at the Rhodes Run.
Making their 27th appearance at their traditional feed station spot at the Kloppershoek road will be a couple who the organisers cannot praise enough. Francois & Hannalie Nel of ‘Hamilton’ will be cheering on the runners at the Kloppershoek feed station. They are only feed station team to have worked at every event since the inaugural run in 1989.
Local interest will focus on Sydney Speelman who won the ‘King of the Kloof’ title last year being first to the top of Mavis Bank. Sydney has had a string of good results this year and expectations are high that his 5th Rhodes will see him pull off that elusive win.
Other local participants will be Lise Smith of ‘Martindale’ in Maartenshoek who will be running her third and hoping to claim a coveted snowflake number for three finishes, Hylton and Sunelle Dunn who will be running their 5th and 2nd respectively, Henk & Solette Lombard of Indwe who will be running their 2nd and 1st respectively, and novices Janneke Leask and Ida Fivaz of Ugie and Christina Olivier of Barkly East. Travelling slightly further to the village will be Matatiele’s Jaco Jacobs hoping to collect his first finishers’ medal.
Multiple Comrades Marathon winner Alan Robb will be among the 115 novices making their first appearance at Rhodes. The first South African lady to climb the ‘Seven Summits’ Mandy Ramsden will be running her 2nd while Queenstown’s Dave Moody, Sakkie Vlok of Rooihuiskraal and Kobus Brand of Bethlehem will be lining up for their 21st medal. Sham Singh & Danny Holton will be aiming to continue their ‘full house’ and complete their 27th Rhodes.
We wish all our local runners well over their last few weeks of training for this arduous event that features in the Runner’s World list of the top ten toughest runs in South Africa.