Date Held: 15 July 2017
Distances: 5km / 10km / 25km
Terain: Trail running
Venue: Voortrekker Monument
Website: Tekkie Races
This weekend I took part in Springbok vasbyt 2017 organised by by Voortrekker Monument Draf en Stap klub.
In early years there was a race called ‘Magaliesbergwedloop’ and when the race died there was a lack of any trail running events except for races that were held in Cape Town along with other races such as Mount-Au-Source and Botshabelo. Technicon Pretoria marathon Club decided to hold a historical of road race and that lead to the creation of the ‘Voetpadberg 10 Myler’. This race was such a success that it gave birth to the notorious Springbok Vasbyt in 2006.
Each year a Soldier is remembered and honored at the race and a ceremony is held, the Harvard airplanes that honored us with their presence on the day of the race are more that 80 years old and are also represented by the Springbok emblem the race starts a little later due to the fact that the planes are a little older and have hard time starting in the cold winter weather.
The two races can be seen as some of the races that contributed to the explosion of trail running in South-Africa and hostes about 2200 athletes per year. They prefer to not allow for too many entries as to have a quality race that people can have as an experience.
The Race’s name is Springbok Vasbyt which loosely translates to Spring-buck Perseverance, and I must say you needed some perseverance and endurance to do this race.It was refreshing, a good challenge.
The race seems to be named after a Springbok. The mascot of a South African regiment is the only animal in military history to be accorded full funeral honours and to be buried in an Allied war cemetery. She was Nancy the famous Springbok mascot of the 4th South African Infantry Regiment (Transvaal Scottish,) who died of pneumonia at Hermenton, in Belgium, during the severe winter of 1919 during the First World War.
You can read more about Nancy’s story here, she was quite the Bokkie.
There are 2 books that were written about the History the races:
- The 2009 Race about Koevoet;
The Book: Shadows in the sand in 2011 – Kamongo en Bezuidenhout
- The 2010 Race about Puma 164 ;
The book: The search for Puma 164 – Neil Jackson
Then there is a book in the making about the past 12 years. In the Book there will be a story about a lost soldier from WO1. These books are certainly collectors’ items for the History Fanatics in South-Africa.
The Race was held at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. I remembering coming here as a little girl with my Family. The Voortrekker Monument can be located in the northern part of South Africa in Pretoria. It is a unique Monument which commemorates the Pioneer history of Southern Africa and the history of the Afrikaner and is situated in a beautiful setting.
The Monument was inaugurated in 1949. It was designed by architect Gerard Moerdijk. In the Hall of Heroes is the world’s longest historical marble frieze. A tapestry with more than three million stitches is housed in the Cenotaph Hall.
Today it is the most visited heritage site of its kind in Gauteng and one of the top ten cultural historical visitor attractions in the country. It is also the only Grade 1 national Heritage Site in Pretoria. The Monument also manages the Blood River Heritage Site.
The race is held in the nature reserve that the Monument is in. It is a beautiful setting overlooks a great part of Pretoria. Before the race we walked up to the Monument and gazed at its beauty and at its amazing view overlooking Sleepy Pretoria on the Saturday morning.
The race started at the base of the monument with speeches on fallen heroes of the wars of South-Africa with moments of silence, Honorary remembrance ballads playing in bag pipes and on trumpet with Generals saluting. We were entertained with Harvard planes making a close proximity appearance and honoring us with their skill. all this shaped an ambiance and atmosphere of respect and honor, that was quickly interrupted when the Cannon of the start of the race went of.
I was still trying to take picture when scores of people started running past me, Lol. (I was praying to not drop my phone while quickly trying to get Strava to start, haha)
And we were off, we ran up hill towards the Monument and passed it, making a loop around going down hill and mearging onto dirt paths. Yes this is a trail race than a road race – however most of the runners seemed like Roadies to me. No matter, we pressed on after a good 3-4 Km we hit a nice uphill, well depending on who you ask. But I could feel my glutes getting some considerable work done.
I ran with two Friends, First with the one, and then I ran ahead trying to catch up with the other. “she couldn’t be that far ahead?” I thought to myself, so I kept going persistent to get to her. Up up up up, passing everyone. I was pretty impressed with my endurance! Finally I saw her and when i got to her I could barely speak hahaha it was a tough hill…
it leveled out a bit but we were still definitly climbing up. I couldnt believe we were not at the top yet!?
The water /coke points were all amazing, and one even had yummy sweets, oh how I love winegums…mmmm!
We reached a nice down hill and I was shocked to see how far we were still away from the monument. We chatted to a nice old man, that said he did the race every year and it still beat him! and here I was thinking I’ll do the 25km next year –
He said that their Medals are so nice, and every year they differ. I was excited seeing as I entered the race on a whim and never really expect too much from the medals. Turns out the medals are collectibles and after your 10th Run you get a official number.
We crossed paths with the 25km runners and then we made out way up, again after coming down all that way. I hit my toe/ front of my foot on a rock and dived nose first with my body magically refusing to fall, I think I sprained my right hammie an bum muscle as I perfected a one legged squat/lunge of some sort to see myself keep going.
The Girl Behind me ever yelled out a “NICE!” – hahaha “Finnally!” – I yelled “My skills are improving” – we both giggled as we were gasping for air trying to conquer this hill. We made it to the top, looping around the monument and down to the amazingly vast amphitheater to finish with the smell of food and lost of people.
It truly was an amazing race. Lost of fun and great people. I do love Runners.
All in all I loved the Race and I’m actually thinking of training there, its a great set off hills, and the view is beautiful. I will do this race again, definitely .
and When you Run for Breakfast you get Delicious food for Brunch! – We visited The Publican Bar & Grill for a Delicious post run brunch. They have a new Brunch menu that is amazing!
Check them out here!
Ons moes Regtig Vasbyt!
Below is my Relive Video of the race – It gives you a great idea of the course and elevation in the corner. Let me know what you think!
x – Jani