The DisChem route is by no means the easiest 21km around.
What makes it particularly tough is the fact that it takes place so soon after the holidays. A rude awakening of the work that needs to be done as marathon season, Two Oceans and Comrades draw ever closer.
I’ve driven the route with my video camera and uploaded the short (7min) video to give you an idea of where the km marks are and what the hills look like. Click on the video below to watch or you can watch it from the YouTube site by going to this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbRfW3aM9dA&
Now that you’ve seen the route let’s break it down and hopefully give you an idea of how best to tackle the race.
The hills you’ll come across on the DisChem route are not the toughest hills around but what makes them a challenge is the fact that they go on for km’s. Runners often refer to these types of hills as “long slow poison.” These long gradual climbs take place in the second half as you can see from the route profile below.
The race starts on a very gradual slight incline for the first 400m’s or so at which point you turn into Townsend Street for a short but sharp climb to just past the 1km mark.
The next section, 1.1km’s to 4.5km’s is a very easy and fast section of the route. There are only a few gradual and small climbs with the majority of this section been downhill. A good section to find a nice rhythm and to pick up the pace slightly. BUT (there’s always a but), DO NOT get carried away in this section as running too hard here will cost you dearly in the second half.
At 4.5km’s with St Benedicts School on your left the road leads to the left and suddenly your muscles start shouting at you as you begin to climb after the long downhill sections of the previous 3 km’s. Don’t panic, this hill is a short gradual one and shouldn’t cause you too many disruptions, the fact that you notice it is simply because of the previous downhill sections.
Around 5.5km’s you take a right turn and run downhill over the freeway before turning right and around the green park section from the 6km to just before the 7km mark. The running from here through to the halfway mark is pretty easy with a couple of short easy hills to keep you company.
Enjoy the section through Morning Hill (9km-10.5km). It’s quiet, peaceful and very scenic with Linksfield Ridge as a backdrop.
Coming out of Morning Hill and under the freeway see’s you hit the halfway mark and this is where the slow poison begins. You’ll run past Eastgate Shopping Centre on your right and for the next 5km’s you climb. So dig deep and keep moving forward and you’ll be through this section in no time. The toughest part of these 5km’s and where the race truly begins is the 1km climb up Van Der Linde Rd between the 12km and 13km mark. This hill gets steeper with every step. Hang in there, once over the top you have some relief with a flat section leading you into Primrose and over the N3 bridge.
Over the bridge and second road left and a climb to the T-junction at the end of the road before turning right and running down a short sharp downhill past the cemetery on your right. Let’s hope the cemetery is not symbolic of how you will be feeling at this point on race day. If you held something in reserve you should be fine.
Just before the 16km mark it’s a left turn in Beaconsfield and a great section to start pushing the pace. Beaconsfield is a long flat section and if you’ve left something in the tank a great place to start passing those who went out too fast.
At the end of Beaconfield and just after the 17km mark you turn left for the final sting in the tail, AG De Wit. Initially the climb is gradual but as you pass the Pick n Pay shopping Centre on your left brace yourself. You have a tough, steep climb up to the 18km mark. Your legs will feel like led and your mind will beg you to stop, but don’t. Hang in there! You’ve come this far and it’s only 400m’s to the top.
As you crest the top of AG De Wit the views are stunning as you look over Bedfordview to your left and from this position you can see the Befordview Virgin Active fields, the hive of activity and of course, the finish line!
The last 3km’s are a drop into the home straight and a lot of time can be made up on this section. Be careful when you run this section, spread your arms out wide for balance, lean forward down the hill from your ankles and keep your stride short.
As you near the 20km mark you enter the same road you started down a few hours back. This road flattens out and can feel quite tough on the legs given the last 2km’s of sharp downhill, but don’t listen to your legs or your mind. You can hear the music on the field, the finish awaits, dig deep and give it one last push!
Up onto the field, along the boundary and across the finish line will see you receiving your DisChem 2013 medal and your 2013 season is under way.
Good luck for the race and enjoy it.