After running the 2012 version of the Cradle Mayhem trail running stage race, it was with great excitement that I lined up for the 2013 edition! I was looking forward to some quality miles as well as gear and nutrition testing in the hills and valleys of the Cradle of Human Kind as part of my build up to Num-Num in August.
After a week of anticipation the big day finally arrived and I made my way from Pretoria to Maropeng in the Cradle of Human Kind where the Cradle Mayhem stage race was based. After checking into our rustic but comfortable digs in the Hominid house, (thank goodness we weren’t camping in that cold weather!) I geared up and strolled on down to registration to make things official. Registration was smooth sailing, with all of the stage racers getting a generous swag bag thanks to The Multisport Basement store. It’s the small things that count! There were some nervous faces on the start line, with runners secretly eyeing the competition and trying to size them up to see who they needed to keep in their sights for the following three days. After a brief race briefing by the race organiser Gavin Grobbelaar explaining the route and its markings, we were off into the darkness with runners having only their headlight for guidance for the next 10km odd.
The start was a blur with me trying my best to keep up with the front runners for as long as I could on the grassy and undulating track, but as usually happens I was quickly spat out the back of the bunch to form a group with the “pretenders” as I like to call them, nipping on the heels of the front pack. Unfortunately with the fast pace and darkness thrown in, we missed a turn and had to do some impromptu bundu bashing to get back on the route. When we eventually did get back on route the pace quickened once more with everyone trying to make up for time and lost positions on the paved stepping stones we were now following. Twice we went through some wet and muddy sections, with the cold water providing a quick wake up call to the runners that got their footing wrong. A few twists and turns later and we were pointed back in the direction of the Salomon start/finish arch to complete our run. I was once again “chicked” by the 1st lady in 40:02, but in 40:04 and 15th male overall I was quite happy with my placing.