Two Oceans Recon 4: Cecilia Forest and Kirstenbosch
Two Oceans recon: The "Bends" past Cecilia Forest and Kirstenbosch
We're back on the Half marathon route today for our second to last recon video, this time looking at the first part of the routes that overlap since the first kilometer. The summit of Southern Cross rejoins the Ultra route with about 8km to go, and the next 5 km, from 13 to 18 km wind their way past Cecilia Forest and Kirstenbosch.
This is a beautiful section of the race - twisty, tree covered, and it's tremendously well supported too. It's close enough to the finish that you'll really be able to feel it and if it's a great day, this is a good time to start cranking it up to the finish. As I've said before, to the half marathon runners, think of the 13km point as your "halfway" mark.
That doesn't mean getting carried away, mind you - 8km to go is nothing to be laughed at and you can still blow if you press too hard, but by the top of Southern Cross, or Constantia Nek, you will have a good idea of what kind of reserves you have left. This is a good place to start spending them!
Some of the key points about this section are:
- You've just finished a big climb - either Constantia Nek or Southern Cross drive, and it's important to hold your rhythm for at least the first part of the descent. The change from up to down can affect this, so focus on that rhythm, and try to "run over the hill", as I've said in previous videos
- Watch for the camber - the road banks pretty severely as you head to Cecilia Forest, and that can be tricky, especially if you have a slight niggle or injury. If you have ITB, or Achilles tendon problems, for example, try to get to the middle of the road, and minimize that camber
- There is a very steep descent from the top to the bottom gate of Kirstenbosch. That takes you from roughly 15km to 16.5km, and it's steep enough that if your legs are feeling a little 'wobbly', you'll find that you can't actually speed up on the downhill! I recall last year running these steep downhill sections at about the same speed as the flat sections, I had no capacity in my legs to take advantage of gravity and run faster!
This is why I've warned against pushing too hard too soon - the descent from the Top Gate is really the first time when you can "let go" and fly. If you have the legs as a result of good pacing!
Other than that, not too much to say - it's definitely one of the highlights of the race, so soak it in and enjoy being under the canopy of trees, close to the finish, but still focused enough to take each kilometer as it comes!
The video is below, with more thoughts and the visuals!