On Saturday 17.07.10, Estelle and I went to run ‘the Legend Gorge’ 21km race at Entabeni Nature Conservancy/Legend Golf & Safari Resort. The race was originally meant to be a 32km but was changed to a 21km and 10km race.At a later stage they are planning to go back to a 32km race.
Before the race we attended a briefing of what to do and what not to do. They warned us before the race that we were in the ‘big five’ territory and that we should not go off the road into the bushes. Like in Skukuza, they had game wardens every one to three kms.
The race started at 09.00. They took us by game viewing trucks to the start which was 2km away. It was freezing!
This is how they described the route in the flyer. :
“The route starts at the west gate which is situated on the lower escarpment of the 22000ha Entabeni Safari Conservancy.
From here the runners will face the big five in the ever changing environment of dense bush, grass and wetlands, before facing the challenge of the extreme climb of the 1000ft yellow wood gorge to the 7000ha upper escarpment approximately 5741ft above sea level. Once reaching the top the runners face the exhilarating decent down the gorge, dropping the 1000ft with up to 40 degrees angles back to the lower escarpment and making their way to the gate house of the Legend golf and safari resort. Truly a legendary race.”
Once we started running, it was nice and warm. The terrain is both flat and hilly. At the 5km mark you start climbing the gorge until about 7.5km.Then you turn back and come down the gorge. At this stage we felt that our legs were taking a lot of strain.
Once down in the gorge, the sand starts. It is so thick that only a 4x4 can comfortably go there.This was slow and heavy going and our legs took a lot of hammering.
We saw a lot of game but alas not the big five. The lions were fed the night before and the elephants had been moved away from the route.We did however see a lot of elephant and lion spoor along the way.
The day really turned out to be a wonderful experience and Estelle and I will certainly do the race again.
At the finish we were given goody bags, medals, as well as a really nice good quality t-shirt which I will cherish. I personally would be the first to recommend this great but tough race.