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Modern Athlete Irene 21km

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Modern Athlete Irene 21km
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Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 03 Jun 2007
Posts: 6438
B-Day: 7 January 1963
Gender: Male
Club: Csir Running Club
Race #: 1666 AGN
Road Shoe Brand: Adidas
Trail Shoe Brand: Salomon
# Comrades: 6
# 2 Oceans: 4 Ultra / 5 Halves
# 1000KM Challenges: 20
# 100 Milers: 0 and never will.
# Parkruns: 25 (8)

Location: Pretoria

Post Modern Athlete Irene 21km  Reply with quote
A couple of years ago, I vowed never to run at the Irene ARC again. I've broken that promise a couple of times but now I'm going to stick to it. Never in my life will I ever run from this venue again.

They've had traffic issues at their races for years, but the organisers seem not to care. They can't or won't or have no political will to sort out their traffic problems and, if anything, their organisation of this event just made it worse!

I really feel that you shouldn't have to arrive at a race 2 hours beforehand, when you have pre-entered just to avoid possible traffic hassles. A friend of mine collected my entry, so I thought all I had to do was park and go straight to the start - no fuss.

I aimed to be at the race at 05h15 - should be more than enough time. I was a little late, arriving at the back of the traffic jam at 05h20. I wasn't too worried, until at 05h45, I had hardly moved 200m and I was around 6km away from the venue. People were getting nervous and started driving like madmen - doing about turns and driving down the wrong side of the road. People were even parking right there, so far from the venue and beginning to run there! They were running a hell of a lot quicker than the traffic was moving! I called my friend and told her that I would start late and she must just run with my number until I caught her. I still optimistically thought that I may be 10 minutes late!

Eventually at 06h10, I arrived at the Northern entrance to the ARC, only to find that we weren't allow in! This was still approximately 4km from the start line. This caused more chaos as people parked anywhere on the side of the road, more U-turns and the road outside was blocked by confused drivers. I understand why they blocked that entrance because the race ran down that road, but it caused major traffic chaos - that must be looked at.

I nearly went home, but did a U-turn and decided to drive to the Denel entrance to see if that was any better. Fortunately it was - I eventually parked my car at 06h30 - over and hour-and-a-half since I left my house, just 20km away. I ran to the start and officially started the race around 06h40 - 40 odd minutes after the official start time! I do understand the official start was delayed, but I still started about 20 minutes after the official start.

Funny enough, there were many, many people starting behind me, including Caroline Worstmann, who only passed me 7km into the race! They couldn't even accommodate one of the country's top athletes!

I began to run, but I was so demotivated and I felt tired and flat. I wished I had now gone to Jackie Gibson - I could have got there in the time that I was stuck in traffic, but I had a race entry for this event. Now I had to catch my friend to get my race number.

I dashed off far faster than I would normally started a 21km. By 14km into the race, I was absolutely finished. The stress, lack of motivation and poor running tactics took it all out of me. The route wasn't that easy, either.

I walked most of the last 7km feeling like crap. My finishing time on my watch was 2:47:25. God only knows what my official race time is!

A marshall had my race number with her about 8km in. My chum Joan had guessed that I started very late and "dropped" my number off with someone who knows me! It's very hard to pin on a race number while running, so I lost some time there, while pinning it on as well.

I refuse point blank to sit in traffic like that again. I really don't mind 10 or 15 minutes in race traffic - in fact, we actually expect it - but over an hour. It's unacceptable.

Irene club seemingly refuse to address this issue. Many years ago, after waiting over 90 minutes to get out of the venue after their Valentines Night Race, I e-mailed the organisers to complain and received a very rude reply - not helpful at all.

Why they don't limit numbers to their races, I will never know. Or start the 48km at 06h00 and the 21km at 07h00 to spread race traffic. There are a number of possible solutions. Why close an entrance, with no pre-warning to entrants? The list of chaos causing reasons is endless.

So, I've run my last ever race at ARC Irene. I will never go back.

Any positives? Yes! I got another 21.1km towards this years 1000km Challenge and as I started right under the start banner and not at the back, my GPS measured the route at 21.12km - that's pretty accurate.

Cheers, Irene. You've seen the last of me.

Finishing stone last is better than a "Did not Finish" which in turn, trumps a "Did not Start".
Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:08 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 7267
B-Day: 10 February 1977
Gender: Male
Club: Alberton AC
Race #: 8953
Road Shoe Brand: Asics
Trail Shoe Brand: Asics
# Comrades: 8
# 2 Oceans: 1

Location: Alberton CGA

Post Reply with quote
First time for me doing the Irene Ultra.
I remember reading about the issues with other Irene races so also aimed to be there "early enough". I entered from the M18 Kempton side just after 5 and parked right next to the finish area around 5:30 so was very happy with that.
In my mind it was a training run so I didn't mind the late start too much and I really really enjoyed the route.
I probably won't drive that far and fight the traffic for 21km races, but would seriously consider doing the 48km again as a Comrades qualifier.

Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:07 pm View user's profile Send private message
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