Which way to run?

2009-12-30 00:00

“What’s a good run around here?” I was in Cape Town, in the Bo-Kaap where good friends live and with whom we were staying for a brief weekend before Christmas. They hike, they climb, they cycle and swim, so I knew they’d be able to suggest a good route. There are some days you just want to throw yourself into; abandon yourself to nature’s lap, or drift about with occasional, random forays up side streets and hidden paths. This was one of those. And judging by the amount of lycra on display on the sidewalks, the whole town was in agreement.

That morning Dirk had lured us down to Clifton beach for a swim. “It’s warm,’’ he said. “Whose warm?’’ I asked, knowing that the waters of Durban are the Latin cousins of the more Nordic attractions of the Atlantic. At about 18 degrees Celsius I know I get brainfreeze, and my friend Sue did the Robben Island swim when the temperature was 11 degrees and she had to be pulled out and revived before resuming her mission several times. So I was sceptical that I’d even be getting wet. It took three attempts to persuade myself that the pain in my bones would go away, which indeed it did because beyond the breakers the current was warm. This was something Dirk knew because when the wind comes from there and there’s been rain for so long before the sun shines for so long then everyone in Cape Town knows that the water’s swimmable in.

Exhilarated by the swim, it still took about an hour to warm back up properly, and by the time we got home, I was ready to put on my running shoes and explore. So, which way? Well, just go up behind the house to Lion’s Head, says Dirk. Okay, say I. I can’t decide whether to go all the way to Signal Hill and double back to Lion’s head, or take the direct route up. It’s a day for Englishmen. I can’t say it’s for mad dogs because it’s a bit grandiose to apply that sobriquet to myself when it properly fits trans-Saharan marathoners, Paris-Dakar racers or Roof of Africa bikers. The air is still and dry, the sky clear. The pines sweat out their fragrance and I notice that the fynbos holds on tight to its juices in the heat. My eyeballs dance, or is that the shimmer on baking ground? Even the cicadas have gone quiet. What kind of a run is this, I ask myself as my steps get smaller and calves start screaming. I’ve decided to go the direct route, and eventually I’m on Lion’s Head, paragliders soaring overhead, and the peninsula lazing deliciously below. I’ve brought water, but I’m not sure of distances and so decide not to go all the way round and double back to go down the hill. I start getting some energy back and my stride lengthens as I get closer and closer to home. All in all it didn’t take much more than an hour, which was less than I wanted but good enough to make me feel as if I’d embraced the day. An arabesque of note.

That was a 40 kay week, which for December I’m not going to moan about.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.