PUFfer preparation 101:

Puffer workshop flyerI am lucky enough to have been asked by SSISA to talk about gear required for this year’s PUFfer so I thought I would add a few thoughts on general prep which might be useful to first timers of this trail run.

The Peninsula Ultra Fun run is only a few months away. Those entered should certainly spend a fair amount of time thinking about how best to prep for this iconic ultra.

This is the first of a couple of articles I want to write to help those that have not done the event before on their journey.

Here I will talk about the route and what you should know.

The basic route is fairly simple (start at Cape Point and finish at the pub in the V&A Waterfront) but with legal shortcuts which you should get to know early on to make your race day journey more pleasant.

There are a couple of sections you want to know well as every year runners get stuck here:

1)      Base of Red Hill short cut

Puffer Short cut Redhill 090614Pretty obvious. Take the footpath just after the statue sellers on the right.This cuts out the first right hand bend on the steep side of Redhill. Don’t try and be clever and cut out the next bend too.





2)      Top of Redhill to Lewis Gaye Dam

Puffer REdhill shortcut 090614You will find the path AFTER the sign for the hiking trail on the left and after the house with the big trees on the right. There are several options but they more or less go in the same general direction. Work it out…



3)      Lewis Gaye Dam to Black Hill

Pretty obvious but worth a recce as you don’t want to go the wrong way. The crux is really to take the single track to the right just before the big fence. There should be a few other runners around so hang with them if you are unsure.

4)      Sunvalley to Ou Kaapse Weg shortcut

Puffer Ou Kaapse WEg shortcut 090614When heading out of Sunvalley you can either follow the horrible camber tar section of Ou Kaapse Weg until the four way intersection at the Noordhoek turnoff or sneak right at a sandy patch and save many minutes.



5)      Ou Wapad Shortcut

Wait for the white sandy patch just before the right corner. Head left for a short distance until you hit the path going right. You will get your shoes wet here!

6)      You should know Vlakkenberg pretty well, also Constantia Nek to the Lower Cableway Station. This is the easiest of section to recce. Leave your car in the waterfront and catch the Myciti 109 bus into Hout Bay and get off at Imizamo Yetho and run the few km up to Constantia Nek and run back to your car!

7)      Oh and there are a few sneaks close to the end but I suggest you work them out 😉

Thanks to Kylie for the GPS track.

If you want a detailed route description by creator of this event Jean-Paul van Belle then click here or here. These are both links to older sites but the info is still very relevant.

Check out this article too which has a pretty good explanation of why we make silly mistakes late on in a race.

Red Hill Classic 36km race report:

(The Hilly Communist)

Roger mailed me in the week with the above in the subject line. The conditions were perfect for this year’s run- no wind and cool temps to start. This was a relief compared to last year when race organisers had 90 min to change the course due to veld fires raging around Scarborough and Red Hill.
This year the start was a rather relaxed affair. Not the normal claustrophobic pushing of other events. Maybe the early morning trip to the deep south was too much for the pushers? The gun went off and we set off through the ‘burbs of Fish Hoek at a leisurely pace. Roger and I started together. I was concerned for my hamstring- see how it goes approach. The usual chirping between the two of us lasted at least the first 10 km’s. Running at a great pace the km markers flicked by at a rapid (ok somewhere around 4:35 pace).
Misty Cliffs- the name says it all! Especially in the early morning light. Then the gradient got steeper just after the sleepy Scarborough. Need to put a bit of work in. I had to remind myself that this was only a warm up for the real communist onslaught just up the road.
We turned left at the bottom of Red Hill glad not to have to do the 6km extra loop for the marathoners. Head down and keep the legs turning at a reasonable rate.
At the top we were greeted by the best water table I have seen on a road run in a long while. Food, real food sizzling in the skottles, liquid refreshments. I was running in a small group and I really wanted to keep up with them otherwise I would certainly have stopped for a lengthy lunch!
I really had to relax on the long downhill into Simon’s Town. The pace was hotting up. I just hope that I had enough in the legs to push the last few km’s to the end.
Running so close to the ocean should be flat. So why did I feel like I had to fight uphill? The watering tables were plenty and cheering voices a welcome sound.
Very pleased with 37th! in 2h47.