Date: 31 December 2016
Venue: Stilbaai NSRI Building
The Stilbaai 10Km Race is held Annually on the 31 December.
The run started in 2006 as a holiday activity that was organised by permanent residents as well as annual holiday visitors. It developed into an annual event that is now organised by the NSRI station 31. All the entry fees are donated to the NSRI to help them in their actions.
The race is a perfect opportunity for holiday visitors to take advantage of the beautiful scenery in Stilbaai. The race has grown from 2006 with 200 entries to 2014 with 900 entries. This year there were approx more than 1000 entries.
On reading about the race, I was very excited. Now that I was on holiday and almost had all the time in the world for running and races, there was actually an event I could take part in. and the views are so beautiful here.
I decided to do a few practice runs to have a good look at the route. My routes are getting a little old and boring now. And I was so impressed – I did not know that there were so many other routes through Stilbaai that were close to wilderness trail routes. Take a look at the map below – these are all walking trails, but can easily be turned into a fun adventure run!
I set out to run the first part all the way to paling-gat and back to the harbour. I got a little lost, haha but I made it back to the harbour eventually.
The race starts and finishes at the NSRI building at the Harbour – the route is a mixture of streets and hiking trails, you also run along the beach in the sand.
Don’t come with your new shoes.
- Start at the NSRI, run through the harbour towards Waterkant Street.
- Follow the road all the way to Palingat – where the museum is also situated
- To your right there will be a hiking trail, follow the trail with the one board showing to the beach. Follow this trail all the way to the foot bridge – run below all the way to the Lagoon.
- Turn left and Run along the side of the lagoon. Turn left onto a grassy slope towards Versveld st.
- Run along Versveld street and turn left onto the footbridge. Cross the bridge and follow the hiking train to your left. Follow the hiking trail and then the beach back to the harbour and NSRI building.
- Run past the NSRI Building turn right and follow into the hiking trail on you left.
- Run a 3km circle on the Dune Bush hiking trails and back to finish at the NSRI Building.
The harbour was busy with people launching their boats and others coming to support the Runners. There were lots of runners, I did not know that there were even so many people here. the Morning was beautifully overcast, which is perfect for a run. People were stretching, greeting and chatting. it was nice to see that this is such a social, fun, family friendly race – There were lots of kiddies. It was the politest run I’ve ever been a part of.
The route is really beautiful, and I enjoyed it tremendously – I really need to get a GoPro or something so I can share these thing with you, the photo opportunities are amazing. Below we are running from the harbour towards the info centre and Paling-Gat. Along the route we had 3 water stops which was great – I’m so used to running with a bottle. it also gets very humid and that can make you very thirsty. I also saw about 3 bathrooms on the way, that is always good.
At some places the route pathways become very narrow, making it hard to over take and go ahead. But everyone is prety polite, so if you ask nicely they let you pass. from the harbour to the info centre was tar road. Then through the little trail by Paling-Gat it is a mixture of hard ground and concrete pathway. As you exit the trail you end up on a grass path along the lagoon, up a grass hill and back on the road again – through towards a bridge and then on the concrete path again running towards the harbor, facing the beautiful ocean view.
From there you go onto the beach for a short part, back through the harbour – and then…
Enter the Melkbos and Bosbok duin Routes. So because I looked up the route and went for a run there a few times, I kida knew what to expect. So I took it easy and then the first part knowing what was coming. Little did I know that I had only been running the easy part, and that my Map-reading skills had let me down as to how challenging the last 3km would be. But don’t be alarmed – its so worth it anyway.
The sand is very loose – on the first part on entering the route it was not that bad, some parts the sand was nice and deep, others it was actually fine. The views are amazing. and you run you are facing West with the Ocean to your left all the way to the Fish-traps parking. its also nice and down hill for most part – so you get off a little easy with the sand in that regard.
When you reach the Fish-traps Parking there is another water stop ,After that you have about 3km left, up hill, through deep sand and in-over-under-around bushes- and trees – this part was a bit of a jump. As runners come down the hill from the first part of the trail, you quickly get stuck , or have a sort of domino effect when going into the up hill,in the deep sand part as some go fast, giving their all and others coming to a halt in battling the sand. The path is single and narrow, so as you get the opportunity to pass, be polite, say ” excuse me..” and run past them – fast, quick quick. you might miss the opportunity and not get one again to soon.
Finally the sand ends – and you enter a fairy-tale forest, watch your head – I’m short and I had to duck, also look down you will be jumping over tee roots. This will end and then you will have a nice fast 1km left through the nature reserve to the harbour.
The finish was nice – there were so many supporters – everybody cheering you on and clapping. the sponsor gave us nice refreshing drinks and we received TWO Medals! I was very impressed. Along the route there were Photographers, I have yet to see the pictures on their website. Unfortunately I had to go home due to a prior engagement and could not stay for the prize giving but do look up on their website for more information on the Winners and the times.
According to my Nike Running App I finished 10.45km in 1:01:00 , I did pause it though when I stopped for water at the one stop – so I’m sure my time on their system will be slower. Either way I’m very impressed. I usually run a normal 10km on the road in 60min – and this one was quite a challenge and I finished one minute shy of my normal time, and I took pictures!
Not sure if we will be in Stilbaai again next year, but if we are, I’ll be running this one again – definitely!
It was a wonderful experience – You have to try it!
XOXOX – Jani