A 16?km run filled with mystique, scenery, challenge and fun

2013-01-12 00:00

THE mist, rain, and storms of the past week will bring out the unique character of the 35th running of the Ronnie Davel memorial tomorrow.

The race can never be described as the easiest 16 km on offer, but few fixtures on the KZN calendar are able to match the combination of mystique, scenery, challenge and fun.

There is something eerie and haunting about running into the mist whilst being chased down a mud-ridden road to the skirl of bagpipes at halfway. The visual link to the hills and glens of Scotland are obvious, but the humid 20 plus temperature belies any thoughts of the northern hemisphere.

The majority of the course is on well-drained, wide, dirt gravel road, whereas a few well chosen intermediate kilometres are selected to challenge runners’ agility and ensure that the focus is kept closely to the ground.

The recent weather will assure that more than the odd runner will return to base at Laddsworth sporting mud-splattered running kit as they’d have slip-slided their way through the forestry paths.

The race commenced in 1979 and is run in memory of former club member Ronnie Davel.

Although incapable of being measured to normal IAAF measurement, considerable effort is made to ensure the distance is as close to the classic imperial 10-mile distance as possible. Given the 1 080 metre altitude at the start and the 140 metre ascent to the highest point, previous winner Warren Petersen’s time of 51 minutes, six seconds set in 1989 is impressive and unlikely to be bettered this year.

The club with the greatest number of 16 km entrants wins the club challenge, giving additional incentive for runners to use this as a pipe opener for 2013.

Frequently, the mist that dominates the early morn is burnt away by the sun in time for the 9.30 am prizegiving, where top senior and age group athletes are rewarded with cash prizes and previous Comrades champion, Shaun Meiklejohn, will give the fastest man and women a pair of running shoes.

Entries will be taken at the start at Laddsworth tomorrow morning from 5.30 am, with the main race commencing at 7 am. Walkers are welcome to participate and a three-hour cut-off limit is applied.

For more information, contact Gill Bure on 082 772 9310.

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