Strong is an understatement…

Saturday morning, the 14th of October 2017 we arrived in Paarl ready for the Strongman competition. The race started at 10h15 with a big bang and a loooooonnnggg climb to the Taal Monument. From there we ran a circle back towards the stadium and completed about 15km’s. This sounds very easy, however, add a little bit of mud, swimming in your clothes and shoes, climbing, leopard crawling and going through rotten tomatoes… And the story changes a bit. It was an amazing experience and something different for me and Dewald.

We could not stay long after the event, because we had to race back to Citrusdal to be able to register for the Cederberg Night marathon at 16h00 in the Cederberg Mountains. Yes, you read correctly!!! 16h00!! And it is about 160km’s from Paarl to Citrusdal. From there it is about another 50km’s to the registration area in the Cederberg Mountains at Algeria. We just made it for registration and the start at 18h00.

18h00 at Saturday night, the 14th of October and we took off for our night marathon. We haven’t slept during the day. The day started early in Paarl and racing back to Citrusdal and from there to the Cederberg Mountains. But we are read… we have all our gear with us. This includes a backpack with food, at least 2 litres of waters, wind jacket, waterproof jacket, warm clothes, beanie, GPS, a map and course a headlamp with spare batteries. The race was a self sufficient race, that mend that you had to caring everything that you will need throughout the race. Along with this, the route is not marked and you have to work with a GPS.

At the start at 18h00 it was still light so moving fast was relatively easy, because we could still see where we were going. However, the start had a few nasty climbs!!! As it started to get dark, moving fast became more difficult and you start getting disorientated with where you are and where to heading towards. At about 23h00 it really started to get cold, the wind picked up and we started to feel the time on the legs. We were doing really well, heading towards getting to the finish at about 03h00 on Sunday morning. But… we made a mistake. We missed a turnoff and went straight. We got lost and it cost us about an hour. We sat and re-focused and found over way back onto the right route. We were very tired and cold that this stage; it was about 01h00 in the morning. We continue to battle through the wind and the cold weather. Our legs, feet, and entire body started to feel it and all that we could think about is a glass of coke, a hot shower and our beds…

We arrived at the finish at about 04h00 on Sunday morning feeling so grateful for the opportunity that we had to be able to participate in this incredible event. It was not easy, we learned a lot and we realised being strong physically is one thing, but your mind is a powerful machine. The last 2 hours of our journey through the Cederberg Mountains at 02h00 in the morning, in the dark and cold was a mind game and something that you cannot explain to someone, you have to experience it yourself. You learn a lot about yourself and how much you can achieve just by believing in yourself.  To all of you out there, believe in yourself and embrace your dreams!!!

Strongman

Cederberg Night Run