Enduroman SA Run Leg Recce: Fun?! You be the Judge

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As promised, let’s get into the what and what nots of the Enduroman SA off road triathlon run course. For those not in the know, courtesy of my lazy lilly white posterior, herewith a copy and paste from the previous blog: Enduroman SA is an ultra-distance off-road triathlon hosted in the scenic Franschhoek mountains. The race starts with a 2.5 Km swim in the Berg River dam, followed by 80 Km’s of mountain biking. The run leg is 7 Km’s x 3, making it a half marathon distance trail run.

It goes without saying that your weary legs will set off on the 21 Km run right after the 80 Km bike leg. 3 x 7 Km is what awaits you. According to my trusty Garmin, it is exactly that: 3 x 7 Km. Don’t wish for less, or worry about it being longer. It is 21 Kms on the dot, unless they change the route.

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The first 1,65 Km takes care of 90% of the elevation. At point A you are faced with an almost vertical wall. The gradient profile is not a glitch. You will go on all fours at some point. When you’ve scaled the “wall”, 80 meters of climbing will be done in 900 meters. The remaining 50 meters, a steady climb, finishes at the highest point, 1,65 Km into the run. It would be advisable to manage your heart rate to stay low. By default, “low” will be your max. High will mean cardiac arrest. The main focus should be to keep running up to point B, where everything changes. Section A to B, being a steady, easy climb, should give you enough opportunity to get your HR under control and assume a race rhythm.

From point B to C you’ll be decending down a jeep track, probably flatout, for about 2,85 Kms. The only hiccup is that you’ll be running downhill on perfectly round, bird-egg sized rocks, lying wall to wall, three rocks deep. Imagine running on ball bearings, it is exactly that. The main demand will be to stay balanced on those rocks, at race pace, without braking at all. Just imagining someone having to brake at speed on that surface makes me feel like a sadist. Nearing point C it gets better with solid ground emerging underfoot.

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From point C to the end of the loop you’ll be criss-crossing vineyards for 2,5 Km with a sapping little gradient, but nothing to slit your wrists about. Halfway into section C you’ll be able to make a realistic assesment of your remaining energy levels. The gravitational effect will skew any assesment prior to that point. We encountered deep muddy parts in section C, but they may be absent on race day.

And then you repeat it another “two more times”. Have fun. Fun?!

Observations:

1. Other than scaling “The Wall”, it is a totally non-technical run. There is NO single track or obstacles. You won’t jump. Not even once.

2. “The Wall” could easily compromise your calves and Achilles tendons. Walk it sideways if it hurts too much.

3. One positive point is that elevation gets done and dusted in one go, and quite early in the loop. You can get into a good pace after that.

4. On the descending section the ability to maintain a fast leg turnover will be your friend. Agile rock-hoppers will have no advantage on this course.

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