Those familiar with the little village of De Rust will be know the road northwards that winds its way up through the Swartberg via the beautiful Meiringspoort. The first road through the poort was built way back in 1858 and used primarily for transporting wool from the Karoo to the port at Mossel Bay. Over the years the road through the poort has been rebuilt several times after severe floods virtually destroyed its existence, most recently in 1996 which required the road to be totally rebuilt. A recent flood in March this year resulted in several travelers being stranded in a flash flood and Disaster Management had to be called in to assist motorist trapped in rising waters. (read more on recent flooding on Meiringspoort)
If you have never experienced the poort it really is worthwhile detouring slightly when travelling to or from Cape Town using Cape Route 62 which meanders through the Cape towns of Paarl, Wellington, Breede River Valley through Oudtshoorn, De Rust and finally the Langkloof before joining the N2 shortly after leaving Kareedouw. (more information on the Cape Route 62)
Unlike many mountain passes Meiringspoort has a gentle gradient and is a popular destination for both cyclists and runners with the well-established “Meiringspoort 21” hosted in De Rust every October as well as the KKK MTB Tour that passes through the Meiringspoort on the route up to Prince Albert.
But it is the annual Meiringspoort 21.1K and 10K that grabs our attention this week for several local runners and walkers took part in this extremely popular event that attracted some 850 entrants for the 10K event and 1720 competitors for the 21.1K.
Geanne Darke, Shelley Donaldson, Liezl Clause, Lorrin Jarvis, Louise Ackerman, Louise Niven, Heather White and Craig Jarvis flew the St Francis Runners flag in the on the day all competing in the 21.1 K event.
Louise Ackerman and Geanne came in together with a good time of 2:04:07 & 08 with Louise Niven clocking in at 2:10:15 with Heather in two minutes later followed. Running for each other, the rest of the St Francis Runners pack made up of Shelley, Liezl, Lorren and Craig timed it brilliantly to all finish simultaneously with a time of 2:20:03. That is the real meaning of a ‘running mate’.
The 21.1 K event was a 1,2,3,4 for Nedbank SWD runners with Gershwill Jacobs taking the winners spot in 30:46 a minute ahead of second placed Francois Maquassa.
The 10K event also had a few St Francis Runners and a trio of walkers competing with Patrick Thompson finishing in 1:16:12 with Kirsten literally on his heels seven seconds later completing. Running in her first ever 10K event Ezna Kennedy, from St Francis Pharmacy, completed the 10K in a very creditable time of 59:59.
Not far behind the 10K runners were the Cape St Francis Resort trio of walkers CEO Anita Lennox, Riekie Minnie and Michele Stocks with Michelle leading her colleagues in with a time of 1:19:40 with Anita following in 1:2643 and Riekie 1:28:44.
Congrats to you all for flying the St Francis regions flag and let us hope this inspires a lot more walkers and runners to join in next year’s event on the 16th October 2016. The Saturday Park Run is a good place to start and by this time next year let the list be a lot longer.