East of Sedgefield is a series of fossilized sand dunes that extend between the Goukamma River and Kingfisher Creek.
The Pick n Pay Goukamma Traverse (trail run) takes in most of the single and jeep track that spans from east to west through the Cape Nature reserve and encompasses pristine wilderness and spectacular panoramic views from the crest of each dune. In fact, most will agree that for a medium distance trail run, there are few trails in the country that offer a balanced combination of remote single track, Jeep track and peri-urban running.
To reach the start of the run, athletes ‘warm up’ by teaming up to pull themselves across the Goukamma River on a large pont. The start is on a sandy jeep track which transitions onto single track after 350m for the start of a series of climbs to the spine of the first dune. The next 16 kilometres takes runners over another three dune crests while meandering through a combination of coastal thicket, Milkwood forest and swathes of fynbos. Though not a technically demanding trail run, the climbs definitely test the fitness of runners and those not accustomed to sections of sand have to dig deep into their reserves.
The leader board of the 2016 Goukamma Traverse was established early on in the race with well-known trail runner Rohan Kennedy ultimately winning in a respectable 1h35:18, followed by junior runner Ross Welsh in a time of 1:38:52 and Chris Gomersall finishing third in a time of 1:40:33 with an impressive sprint that belied the difficulty of the trail run.
First lady in, Paola Vignani, crossed the line in 2:01:54 in a comfortable pace, with Marika Jurgens second in at 2:12:06, while top local runner Alison Jordaan beamed her customary smile across the finish line in third place at 2:20:59.
The local Slow Town Mom’s entered into the spirit of the Goukamma Traverse, posting on Facebook and Instagram with team photos en route. Personal trainer Bronwyn Lloyd raved about the route and the experience, but more importantly was glad that completing the 19km run bolstered her confidence for the upcoming Impi Challenge in which she is participating.
The organisers would like to thank sponsors Edwin Bartie and John Djurak of Pick n Pay, prize sponsors Lake Pleasant Living, Ocean Odyssey and Judy Dixon, Keith Spencer and Karen Bekker from Cape Nature for permission to run in this paradise, the Sedgefield Lions for brilliant marshaling, Warren Page from NSRI Sedgefield for medical standby and quad bike assistance and Christo Theron from First Care for emergency and ATV standby.