"Clear the bridge"
In recent years spectators at the finish area have appeared confused when the PA system crackles, asking them to "Clear the bridge".
Confused as there does not appear to be a drain pipe little less a bridge along the finishing straight.
Another Rhodes Trail Run tradition, kept alive by the announcers at the finish area outside the Farmer's Hall.
As you enter Rhodes, the building on your left immediately before you cross the bridge over the Tintern Spruit was the old 'Community Centre'. In the early years the Run started and finished across the road from the Caravan Park, outside the then 'Community Centre'. The finish line was on the Barkly East side of the bridge.
During the course of the day it was usual for spectators to dawdle over and linger on the bridge, generally getting in the way of the runners as they finished ...and confusing the officials!
"Clear the bridge" was often heard as Brian did his best to stop the runners having to run through the spruit to avoid the spectator crowded bridge. Although one finisher did hop along the stones on the side wall of the bridge to avoid spectators, and of course "Waltzing" Dave Wright did his signature flourish when he finished.
Spectators still bumble in front of the runners along the finish straight, so even though there is no longer a bridge to cross before the finish line, what better way to retain tradition, and alert spectators, than to warn them to "keep off the bridge".
Sedgwick's Old Brown
The bottle of Sedgwick's Old Brown at the end of the day. What would the Rhodes be without the traditional bottle of Old Brown every finisher receives on crossing the line? A tradition that subsequently sparked the creation of the 'Rhodes Heater' - equal parts Sedgwick's Old Brown and Captain Morgan.
After the initial run in 1989 the suggestion of starting a Rhodes "Polar Bear" Club™ was floated (it is a watery subject after all). The Rhodes "Polar Bear" Club™ was launched the following year. Those who have completed the run, and brave supporters, have the option to take a late-night dip in the Bell River in their birthday suits wearing nothing but a silly grin.
Tradition is that one has to crack the ice with your toe at the waters edge to qualify as a true Rhodes Polar Bear.
Pealing of Church Bells
To make sure no-one misses the start, the hamlet is woken on race morning to the pealing of Church bells. This tradition is one of the Race Director's responsibilities on race day.
Runners have 4½ hours to reach the Mavis Bank/Lesotho Border Road check-point.
In 2009, with the onset of the third decade of the run, a 'new' tradition was started. The embroidered 'Cut-Off Blanket'.
The first runner to arrive at the 'top' check-point after the 4½ hour cut-off receives a specially embroidered dated fleece blanket. Not an award anyone will aim to receive, but a suitably appropriate memento.
In 2009 the blanket was presented by 'Waltzing' Dave Wright, a two times Rhodes Run finisher.
|Photo credit : Julia Stephens - Kisch IP||
2018 'Cut-Off' Blanket
Karoo oysters (Prairie oysters)
Replenishing protein is all important, more so at a high altitude extreme event.
To ensure that no-one suffers from potentially dangerous protein depletion the 'Walkerbouts' feed station provides highly palatable 100% natural all organic veldt reared protein supplements.
With the Polar Bear Club, a not-to-be-missed Rhodes Trail Run tradition.
Champions present finisher medals
Our winners return to the finish line and present finisher medals to every runner completed the run during those sometimes frenetic last 60 minutes.
In 2019 Leilani Scheffer and Kallie Burger presented Sham Singh with his 31st Rhodes Run finisher medal.