Tuesday, March 31, 2009


After short-changing the long route runners last weekend I am determined to make up for it this week. Short route will still get about 10km.


Start will be at the harbour in Hout Bay. We hit the beach and run across to the Chapmans Peak Hotel, up Chapmans Peak Drive for 1 km as far as East Fort and then duck up on the Manganese Mine / Blackburn Ravine path which we follow for a short while. The Long Route will turn left up towards the Manganese Mine.............. to be continued.......

............ while the Short Route continues up Blackburn Ravine to the "contour path" where they turn right and head over to the Chapmans Peak intersection where they will then turn right and drop down onto Chapmans Peak Drive and run back down to the Hout Bay Beach and then along the beach back to the harbour.

.........Long Route continued............we will ascend towards the Manganese Mine but then branch off right and head back into Blackburn Ravine but higher up the path than where the short route turn off. WARNING!!!!!!!!! On this section of the run there could well be some vertigo issues. So serious sufferers are encouraged to rather just go straight up Blackburn Ravine instead and meet the rest of us at the wooden lookout deck at the top. Once we have rejoined the Blackburn Ravine we will ascend to the aforementioned lookout deck. Thereafter we head over towards the Silvermine Dams until we reach the road. We turn left on the road and almost immediately right again onto the Crassula Ridge single track path. We follow the ridge all the way around the top of the amphitheatre looking down onto the Dam and then drop down to the road we left a little earlier. We turn right onto the road and climb back up to the path that leads off to the left and drops steeply down to the Chapmans Peak intersection where the Short Route turned earlier. At this point runners have the choice of dropping down further to Chapmans Peak Drive and trotting back on the tar (easy running) or turning right and heading back along the "contour path". The inverted commas are used because the contour path is far from flat and there will be a bit of work to do here if you choose this option. At the end of the contour path we are in Blackburn Ravine again and we descend to Chapmans Peak Drive, then the beach and a gentle jog along the beach to the harbour just to warm down.


The parking area at Hout Bay Harbour i.e. drive past Mariners Wharf and then turn left through the harbour gates and park right there. There may be an entry fee but its only a few rand.


To be ready to run by 06h45.


Long Route : Heaven knows but its at least 15km. Probably a bit more.

Short Route : 8 to 10km.


Long Route : Minimum of 2 hours. Probably closer to 2 1/2.

Short Route : 90 minutes


Long Route : Tough with some exposure to heights - 60% Runnable.

Short route : Reasonably tough - 70% Runnable.

Please take note of the "Exposure to Heights" warning on the Long Route. There is a detour alternative.
You will need to carry water to drink; especially for the long route. The mountains are dry at the moment so don't rely on finding water out there.
If it looks like its going to be windy or raining then please carry a windproof (preferably waterproof) jacket with you.
If you are going to run with a cell phone then please enter an emergency contact number under ICE (In Case of Emergency) in your phone's address book.
Please give some serious thought to wearing an ICE ID bracelet as well.

We will be having the lucky draw for the New Balance Trail Shoes before we start running. A HUGE thank you to NEW BALANCE for this wonderful sponsorship. The new period starts on Saturday as well. So if you attend 5 of our trail runs from Saturday 4 April and Sunday 31 May 2009 you automatically go into the draw irrespective of whether you are an acsis VOB member (or any other club member) or not.

Hope to see some of you out there on Saturday morning bright and early.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Runner Safety

I am sure most of you are aware of the tragedy that unfolded last week at the Spartan Harriers time-trial in Bergvliet where one of their runners was struck by an out of control vehicle and very sadly passed away. Our deepest sympathies to her family and friends.

One aspect of this incident which has caught the attention of many concerned runners is the fact that after the accident occurred it took some time to identify her. This kind of delay can be crucial to the survival of anyone caught in such a traumatic accident. This can be extended to any incident in our running world whether it be on the road or on the trails.

I would really like to encourage all participants in our trail running events to try and wear some form of identification. I endeavour to get emergency contact details from runners but I am a long way from having these for everyone. And even then we would be unaware of any medication or conditions suffered by the runner should they be unconscious.

I don't want to cause paranoia but I think that this is an aspect which we need to start looking at quite carefully. I have acquired a customised ID bracelet which gives all my pertinent details and will make an effort to wear this for all sport events from now on. Please would everyone at least consider doing something similar.

I bought mine from a company called ICE ID and I have given the link to their website below:


Breakfast 28 March 2009

After our very successful post-run breakfast at Café Roux after the run last week it has been suggested that we gather The Barnyard (foot of Ou Kaapseweg on the Steenberg side) after the run this coming Saturday. Great idea and I am in. So anyone is welcome. We will finalise the details at the run.

Upcoming Event

I know that this isn't a trail event but it is one of my favourite road races and it gives you trail views with the comfort of road running (and its organised by a serious trail runner from Harfield Harriers, Graeme Trautmann):

The Milkwood 2009

Date: Sunday, 10 May 2009
Starting times: 21.1km race: 07h3010km race: 07h455km fun run: 08h00
Entry fees: R40.00 for the half marathonR20 for the 10km race and 5km fun run (R10 for juniors).
Registration: From 06h00 at the Parmalat Enviro Centre, Soetwater Recreational Area, Kommetjie.
For more information contact Graeme on 083 6288 641.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'm afraid this is going to be a bit of a brief and confusing route description today because I haven't decided an exact route yet but I have all the other details for you.


Silvermine East.

For those who don't know the area then if you are coming up Ou Kaapseweg from Tokai then it is the area on your left once you get to the top of the pass. So to get to the starting point you go past the first turning on your right which takes you into Silvermine West and up to the dam. As you start descending on the leftwards curve in the road you come across a the entrance to the required parking area on your left. You have to pay the man at the gate. This could be anything up to R15. So bring some cash.


I am in two minds and am open to persuasion / bribery / threats either way.

My first thought was to do something similar to the run we did there a few months ago i.e. following the gravel road to the Amphitheatre turn off, turn onto the single track and then run over to Amphitheatre, Echo Valley, Weary Willy's Wait (the Old Fisherman's Challenge down Trail route) and then left just before Boyes Drive and return via the OFTC up route, adding in a loop at the end out towards Muizenberg (as in the Summer Trail Series Race 1).

The alternative is to start in the same direction but then take the contour path to the right just on the other side of the waterfall and then follow the route for Race 3 (Silvermine Homestead) of Summer Trail Series towards Fish Hoek first. This eventually comes out at the Amphitheatre and we can then resume the route as described above and just skip the last loop (or not).

If the above is confusing, don't worry, I know what I'm talking about at least. You know more or less where the run is and I guarantee you a scenic run.


The parking area at Silvermine East (on the left of Ou Kaapse Weg if you're coming up from Tokai).


The gates only open at 07h00 so we will aim to start at 07h15 at the very latest.


Count on at least 2 - 2 1/2 hours.


Long Route: 15 - 17km

Short Route: 10km


Moderate: 70 - 80% Runnable

Please carry your own water (bottle / hydration packs). We are unlikely to find any drinkable water out there.
If its looking cold then please bring a thermal base layer and a warm waterproof / windproof top.
If its hot then please remember a hat / cap and sunblock.

Monday, March 16, 2009


After two weeks of relatively difficult trail runs we are going to slot in a nice easy, yet thoroughly enjoyable, run along a beach at low tide. We are running in our preferred Saturday timeslot. So those who wish to run the Glenryck Tygerberg 30km or Sunday Stars on Sunday can still do so with some ease. To add to this, as its a shorter run (timewise), we will only start at 07h00. This means I can stay out half an hour later on Friday night.

The Route

Nice and simple this week. No-one can POSSIBLY get lost or miss a gigantic stone and concrete cairn in the middle of the path with a map on it and end up in Echo Valley instead of the Woodhead Dam. We start at the carpark at Noordhoek Beach (Chapmans Peak side of the beach). We follow the beach all the way to the end of Long Beach in Kommetjie and then turn around and run back. Being an out and back course you can make the total run as long (up to 12km) or short as you like. We are running at low tide so we will have nice flat, hard sand most of the way. The only exception is where we cross from Noordhoek Beach to Long Beach where we cross a short section soft sand and rocks. We will have a swim at the beach afterwards (weather permitting) and then those who are keen can head over to Food Barn at Noordhoek Farm Village (now that we know where their breakfast section is) for a leisurely breakfast.

Start Point

Noordhoek Beach Carpark (Chapmans Peak side of the beach)

Start Time



Maximum of 12km

Sweat Factor

Easy easy easy easy. 100% runnable

Other Comments
Bring a towel, change of clothes and some cash for breakfast.
Unless you are a fanatical water drinker you don't even need to carry water as there is a tap at the changing rooms over at Long Beach

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Long Route Update

If the weather is looking coolish, like it did last weekend, please make sure you bring a good warm top that you can carry with you - must be at least windproof, but waterfroof would be preferable. You will find that with any of the longer official trail races where extreme weather may be encountered, it is a requirement that you carry this kind of equipment. So you may as well get used to carrying it. For now, I will carry the medical kit.

Secondly, Fay has come up with a great Short Route alternative for those not wanting to run the full +-14km Route on Saturday morning.

The Short Route will start at Constantia Nek at 06h30 and start running the 14km route in reverse. I recommend though, that you stay on the Bridle Path (road) as this provides the easiest route to the top of the mountain. So starting at Constantia Nek you will head straight up the forestry road as we do on our normal Cecilia Forest / Kirstenbosch Route. At the first split in the road you go LEFT (up). Shortly thereafter you will find another road coming in from the left. TURN LEFT into this road and follow this road to the top of the mountain. The dirt road turns into concrete road eventually.

At two points on the ascent you will find that the road takes a sharp bend to the right and there appears to be another road continuing to the left. Always take the right turn (upwards). Its not too confusing as the left road soon fades out into a dead end. You will know you've reach the end of the main climb when....well.....the road stops going up.......and you see the De Villiers Dam off to your left. There will also be a Hoerikwaggo Trail Hut on your right and a tap on the side of the road. Good spot for a water break.

There is still a gentle climb after this and you will pass the Victoria and Alexandra Dams on your right. Eventually you get to the Woodhead Dam. You run across the wall of this Dam and in doing so you will see the wall of the Hely-Hutchinson Dam well off to your right. At the far end of the wall, follow the short bit of single track until you come to a well-defined path (as wide as a jeep track) going off to your left. There will be some cottages off to your right. Follow the wide path to your left. After a couple of hundred metres you will come to a stone and cement cairn at a T-junction. At this junction you turn left and then you are on the path to Grootkop. Keep following this path until you meet up with us coming in the opposite direction. If you don't meet us......you are lost......... In that case, retrace your route until you get to the Constantia Nek Car Park. But in any event, when you do meet up with us, as I am entirely convinced you will, turn around and follow the same route back to Constantia Nek anyway.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Well done to those who survived the slightly more difficult route last Sunday. I know I promised an easier route this week but, as happens quite frequently, I lied; Mainly because I hadn't yet given any thought to the route for this coming weekend. Also, there is a very easy one on the following weekend. I have picked one this coming weekend with a tough start (first quarter), an easier second quarter and a very easy, enjoyable second half.

I am also aware that I am clashing with The Hell Run and the Weskus Marathon so I am not expecting a mad rush for this run (so I might as well make it a bit tougher).

It is going to require some car admin as the start and finish are in different places.

Unfortunately there is no short route for this one.

The Route and Starting Point - Second Leg of Hout Bay Trail Challenge

We will meet at Suikerbossie at the informal parking area just outside the gates to Ruyteplaats Estate. For those of you who are unclear, you head up Suikerbossie Hill from Hout Bay. Just before the top of the hill there is a road off to the right which leads to the Suikerbossie Restaurant and Ruyteplaats Estate. Take this road. It does a dog-leg left almost immediately and you will be heading straight towards the gates of a residential estate. Just before you get to the gates, where the road does a second dog-leg left, there is an informal parking area on the left. This is where we will meet.

HOWEVER: I will need a few volunteers to meet me at Constantia Nek at 06h15 to leave a couple of cars there so that we can give runners lifts back to Suikerbossie afterwards. Please let me know if you can help.

From the starting point we will take a barely discernible path just to the left of the Ruyteplaats gates and head straight up along the fence between the estate and the restaurant. At the top of the fence we turn right and follow one of the several paths towards Constantia Nek for a few hundred metres and then turn left to head straight towards the mountain. We then have a fairly steep climb up the start of Hout Bay Corner, followed by a traverse around to the left to Landudno Ravine and then another steepish climb up Llandudno Ravine. The climb is quite tough but the views are quite spectacular and make it well worth the effort. From the top of the ravine we start moving into the the easier second quarter of the run. We follow the clear path until reaching some green fencing and this is the signal to look for a path up to the left. We continue climbing for a short while and then reach some very runnable single track towards Grootkop. There is another short but steep climb to the nek on Grootkop and then a descent and some undulating single track to just before the Kasteelspoort turn (look out for the well constructed cairn pointing to the dams over to the right). The only real "blip" between Grootkop and the next turn is a little scramble down into Slangolie Ravine but this can be avoided by a short detour to the right.

Once we reach the abovementioned cairn we turn right towards the dams. This is where things get very easy. We run across a flat, stony section and look out for the path to the Woodhead Dam wall on your right just before the various huts / cottages that are up there. We cross the dam wall and then turn right onto the concrete road (Bridle Path) and follow this all the way back down to the Constantia Nek car park (taking the permissible shortcut paths between the loops in the road on the descent).

Start Time (BP and CP)

06h30 but a few volunteers to meet me at Constantia Nek at 06h15.

Running Time

Allow at least 2h30mins for this. If there is someone who knows the route and is keen on leading a faster group the you can run it in about 2 hours.


The Sports4U website has it down as approximately 14km but it will feel longer, I assure you.

Sweat Factor

I am going to give this an average of about 65% runnable but split it as follows:

First quarter: 5 - 10% runnable

Second quarter: 70% runnable

Second Half: 100% runnable

Warning: Do not try and apply logic or mathematical formulae to reconcile the above average with the breakdown. They are gut-feel estimates.

General Comments
You will need to carry water on this run.
Trail shoes are a distinct advantage on this route, esp on the first half.
Please RSVP if you intend running as I need an indication of numbers.
Please let me know if you can assist with lifting between finish and start.
There is no short route.
Sunblock and hat - highly recommended.
This is a great opportunity to get some early practice in for Hout Bay Trail Challenge in July.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Yes, the run this weekend is all still on as set out in my previous email.

This is just a reminder to anyone who is planning on participating, that you will need to plan your approach to Silvermine so as to avoid the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour. And yes, the Dave Bellairs who you always hear talking about the Argus in the media as the organiser is my brother. I am just undertaking the organisation of a slightly smaller event for the weekend. I don't want 35,000 people pitching up for the trail run please.

Approach from the Constantia / Tokai / Diep River area is easy. Use Spaanschemat River Road through Tokai Forest as your approach to Ou Kaapseweg instead of M3.

For anyone on the other side of the M3, use the M5 and / or Main Road to get to Tokai Road (the wide road leading from Main Road, up past Blue Route Mall) and then proceed up Tokai Road to the circle on the Pollsmoor Prison side of Tokai Forest. Turn left at the circle and then head up past Pollsmoor (Steenberg Golf Course on your right) and then right onto the Ou Kaapse Weg. It really is easy to avoid the M3. Just make sure you don't try and access the Main Road any further south than Military Road.

One more quick admin point: if anyone has Two Oceans Half Marathon entries which they find they can't use (and want to get rid of) then please let me know as a secondary market is already starting to develop. I can put sellers and buyers in touch with each other.

Finally, a HUGE good luck to anyone running the acsis VOB Constantia Village 15km on Saturday and / or cycling the Tour on Sunday. Have fun and take care.

I hope to see a couple of you out there on the mountain on Sunday well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


We have a busy weekend coming up but hopefully I can still persuade one or two of you to come out for a run in the mountains this Sunday. The reason we are running Sunday this weekend is because the acsis VOB Constantia Village 15km is being run on Saturday 7 March. Many of us will be involved either in assisting in the event or running the the very pleasant, fast and flat course.

Sunday is, of course, also the Pick 'n Pay Argus Cycle Tour so that may take out another chunk of runners. But I will be going out for a run so please join me if you can.


The Route

Today we will add something a little tougher. We are going to start at the Silvermine Dam (the main dam in the West Silvermine Reserve). The first part of the run you will be familiar with as we run down the tar road towards the gate but turn left along the mountain biking track onto the Level 5 road in Tokai Forest. This is a nice easy section to start on and get the legs nicely warm. We won't stay on this road too long because as soon as we get to the Elephant's Eye path we will turn left (up) onto it and follow it to the first split in the path where we will turn right onto the contour path (The Mystery Path of a few weeks back) and follow this all the way across the Constantia face of Constantiaberg to the tar road at Vlakkenberg which leads up to Mast. We will start climbing the tar road but once we reach the Nek between the two mountains we will start the descent into Hout Bay via the path that is used in Leg 3 of the Hout Bay Trail Challenge (HBTC in July). So this is a little advance practice for that race. This path will bring us out more or less at the bottom of Blackburn Ravine. This is where the REAL FUN begins. Up until this point we will have been doing pretty easy, light sweat trail running (except for one little climb on the contour path). We now turn up Blackburn Ravine and climb all the way up to the wooden platform/lookout deck at the top. Its a tough climb and I am willing to bet that everyone will walk it. There are short sections of the climb that are runnable. I am also willing to bet that everyone will be cursing me on the climb BUT there are some compelling reasons for doing it:
It really is a beautiful ascent. For those of you who have never done it before, I encourage you to stop and enjoy the view on the way up;
Blackburn Ravine is part of the "down run" of the Old Fishermans Trail Challenge (OFTC in June). You will wonder why it is called the down run but wait until you have run it both ways......it really is the down run. So it is giving you exposure to that race too.
Those of you who want to take a break before the climb can take a short jog down to East Fort to watch the Argus cyclists coming down Chapmans Peak.
From the top of the ravine we follow a level path to the road that descends to the Dam via the zig-zags so that we finish on a nice downhill. By the time you get back to the cars you will have covered the easy half of Leg 3 of HBTC and almost half of the OFTC. If its hot, as I expect it might be, you can have a cooling and very welcome dip in the Dam.

Start Time

07h15 unfortunately because the reserve gates only open at 07h00.

Start Place

The Car Park at the Silvermine Dam.


At least 15km - 16km.

There is no Official Short Route but if there is a group that wants to do a shorter, easier route then I will definitely find one for you on the first half of the run in the top section of Tokai Forest so please come along. In theory there is a path that cuts across from the descent into Hout Bay and comes out more than half way up Blackburn Ravine. However, I have never managed to find this path from this side of the run. It is very clear where it joins Blackburn Ravine though. If anyone has details of this path then please let me know because it would make a fantastic shortcut as it avoids the main descent into Hout Bay and half the climb up Blackburn.

Time on the Mountain

You can count on AT LEAST 2 hours, depending on how much you walk. 2 1/2 hours to be safe and allow for regroups and rests.

Sweat Factor

From the start to the bottom of Blackburn Ravine it is all easy trail running. 90% runnable.

Blackburn Ravine is murderous if you try and run it but bear in mind that it is actually relatively easy to hike. Little children hike it with ease. So consider it 5% runnable.

Top of Blackburn to the Dam - easy 100% runnable.

General Comments
Please bring water for this run; enough to see you back up Blackburn Ravine.
A hat / cap and sunblock would be recommended.
Just a quick warning about the route up Blackburn. There are two places where it is easy to take a wrong turn. We will do a bulk regroup before start the climb so I can remind you of the instructions. The first one is near the beginning once you start getting into the narrower ravine. You get very close to the watercourse and climb a few wooden stirs. At this point there is an obvious path off to the right on the other side of the watercourse. DO NOT TAKE THIS PATH. It is the contour path. We will run it another time. But rather stay to the left of the stream and look for a less obvious path on your left. That is the route to the top. The second place is where the aforementioned shortcut path joins from the left. You will see it coming in from a contour from the left. The main path is quite obvious up to your right as long as you are aware of the possible conflict. CLUE: If you find you are travelling on a lovely flat contour off to your left for a long time you may have taken the wrong turn. Retrace your steps and you will find your mistake very easily when travelling back the way you came.
Bring a cozzie and towel for a swim in the Dam afterwards.
Bring R15 for entrance to Silvermine. Please also bring a tip for the car guard.