All posts for the month August, 2014

Races: #2. KLM Half Marathon

Published August 25, 2014 by kokoinsouthafrica

South Africa has offered me some really sweet opportunities to combine my passions, in this case- running and education! The KLM Half Marathon is a race that raises funds for the Kgwale Le Mollo Foundation– an organization that was started by Peace Corps volunteers, and its focus is sponsoring well deserving children to attend higher quality learning institutions that develop them into the future leaders of South Africa. The KLM Half Marathon is an annual event, volunteers have been raising money & running this race since 2005. I love races, and this event provided the opportunity to run for a great cause!


This guy was the first male PCV finisher, crossing the finish line at 1hr:36minutes! I came in as the 2nd PCV finisher, 1st female, with a time of 2 hours.

This guy was the first male PCV finisher, crossing the finish line at 1hr:36minutes! [Impressive] I came in as the 2nd PCV finisher, 1st female, with a time of 2 hours.

The course wasn’t too difficult, the race was basically road running through the Polokwane area which had some windy points, some small hills, and a lot of barking dogs along the way, haha. The Polokwane Athletics Club was kind enough to host us at the Peter Mokaba Stadium as well as providing hydration throughout the course and post-race. They even prepared some braii (BBQ) for runners to replenish themselves right at the finish line!


Some PCVs at the finish line!

Some of the PCV runners at the finish line! Will-busy inhaling a hotdog.



There were several PCVs who came to be our cheerleaders, there was a huge group of them cheering us on as we crossed the finish line! Afterwards we had a full day of BBQing and hanging out, celebrating our victories and enjoying the sunshine.


Me & my cookie post-race!

I really enjoy events where PCVs can get together and raise money while having a good time. Many, many thanks to my loved ones back home, whose generous donations qualified me to participate in this awesome race. Collectively we raised well over $3000, and all funds go directly into education.

I met someone from the PLK Athletics Club who has completed 13 Comrades races, he is definitely someone I will strive to learn from. After finishing this race in my goal time, I feel confident in running a  sub-5hour marathon to qualify for Comrades – The Ultimate Human Race!



Races: #1. ClemenGold Wolkberg Trail Run

Published August 12, 2014 by kokoinsouthafrica

The ClemenGold Wolkberg Trail Run is not for the faint of heart. It is a race that treads through the mud, forests, valleys and rivers of Tzaneen, eventually summiting the Iron Crown. This 2 day stage event kicks off with a 35km race on day 1, and a 25km race on day 2. Runners can choose to run both days or just one day, depending on personal preference. I met up with a couple other PCV friends to run the day 2 race (15.5 miles), we had an incredible time!

Up before sunrise heading to race registration!

Up before sunrise heading to race registration!

The views all around were stunning, the only drawback was the temperature…45°F. The warmest it got was about 60°, and that was after the race had finished! I swear I felt a sprinkle or two of rain, but luckily the clouds weren’t too hard on us.

The race started promptly at 7am. Trail runs are not flat race courses; they are essentially hikes going up and down and all through the wilderness, there are no paved roads, only fluorescent tags stuck to branches so you don’t get lost in the woods.

There were several points where we had to cross rivers and streams. Sometimes there was a rope to hold yourself up, and other times- you just had to try and jump or try to mull through it.

(Not so gracefully) leaping across a stream.

Rope 'bridge' river crossing.

Rope ‘bridge’ river crossing.

Better not slip, or you'll tumble down a waterfall!

Better not slip, or you’ll tumble down a waterfall!

Running through freezing cold water when it’s already super cold out is somewhat obnoxious, but that’s what it takes if you want to finish.

We spent a lot of time running through forests as well, I don’t think I’ll ever tire smelling fresh pine trees. 🙂

Passing through a valley and into a forest.

Passing through a valley and into a forest.

By this point it had only heated up to about 55°F. This cooler climate worked to my advantage because I had about an hour and a half run between hydration stations. And you don’t want to risk heat illness on a trial run- there are no aid stations, and if anyone needs medical attention, they’ll probably have to be airlifted out (scary!).

Distance running is such a rollercoaster of emotions. There are moments of joy and moments of pain in every race. I was really happy to have some PCV friends running with me, and we met some new friends there too!

FInally crossing the finish line :)

Crossing the finish line 🙂

Finally finished, ready to enjoy some food & drinks!

Finally finished- Nic, Katie & I are ready to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival!