Chantel Nienaber’s reflection on the Discovery MUT

It’s been 365 days since I got to run around in the Outeniqua mountains. Sadly last year I only got to experience  the first 5 kilometres of the 25km GeorgeMUT and then had to #DNF due to a torn hammy.

I could not wait to return to do the “REAL” one. The scruffy dog 60km’s was certainly going to be a challenge… Fortunately, I’m familiar with most of the route, with this being my old stomping grounds. I think it’s only when you’re physically in the thick of things, that the penny drops and you remember how relentless some of those climbs actually are. When I ran past a fellow participant at the base of the renowned ‘Dizzy height’ – this guy just said “I’m over this”… What’s one to do??? When you hit a wall, you just have to keep on soldiering on until you find a crest again.

I think it’s like child birth, you swear you’ll never do it again – but before you know it, you’re surrounded by the most magestic panoramic views. That’s what keeps bringing you back again.

The friendly and efficient volunteers at the water stations were the ones that also helped carry the runners through. In the latter part of the race, I literally went into survival mode. I couldn’t help but envy Annalize, when I’d hear from the marshalls how she was prancing along in the mountains, looking so fresh and happy. I had visions of her looking like Gerda Steyn, breaking the course record while I was clinging on like the other girls at the Comrades competing against her. She was brilliant on the day and a dear friend.

I am however thrilled to say: I’m back! After a year of rehab and nursing this injury. Thankfully, I can do 60km again and spend 9+ hours on my legs although I nearly died. It’s been a long road, with many months of frustration and all those silly physio exercises. But what an awesome way to get to test your body. Lots of work still lies ahead but we will get there.

As I’m heading back to the Western Cape now, I can’t help but experience a fondness in my heart for the special people in George. From beginning to end, they carried all of the athletes on their hands. Assisting, encouraging and motivating you all the way through. It’s very evident that the team from Eco Bound race themselves. They know exactly what an athlete needs. We received fabulous goodie bags with not just GU’s gels, but Roctaine’s too (according to my friend “that stuff should be illlegal”). The locals of George take pride in their mountains – and so they rightfully should… The  absolutely the gem of the Garden Route. I suppose some part of me will always be in George.

Hopefully I will be back in 2020, stronger and actually enjoy Henry’s hill.

There are too many people to thank but I love you all, from my sponsors, clients, friends and family. You all give me wings. I ran this race in aid of Sabrina Love Foundation that is very dear to my heart. I want to thank everyone that supported me in raising funds for this great cause.
Lastly I want to thank God for His grace and love.

Chantel

Chantel placed second in the 60km race in a time of 09:16:15