As part of my training for the Half Marathon, I participated in the Lady K Trail Run (10 km Route) on the 15th April 2018. I first did the race last year and immediately fell in love with it. The Lady K Trail Run or RUN21 as it is popularly known is an annual event hosted by the Lady Khama Charitable Trust. and offers three distances – 5 km, 10 km and 21 km. This year was their 6th one and my husband who has been to many says they just keep getting bigger and better. Rather than do the usual race recap, I’m going to discuss what I LOVE about this race and why I will keep going back for more!
1 – The Experience. The Lady K Trail Run’s motto is “It’s not only about the run, it’s about the experience” and they really do live up to this. Time is such a precious commodity these days – people’s schedules are already jam-packed with kids’ birthday parties, weekend sporting activities, play dates and other family commitments, not to mention work and a million and one things to do at home. In recent years, there has also been a boom in races, with many to choose from in Gaborone and the surrounding areas. So it’s great when a race offers more than just the run and when it caters to the whole family as well as different fitness levels. After running so many races last year, I have become a lot more selective with my choices. The Lady K Trail Run made the cut because it offers that little bit of “extra” that makes it really worth your while. This year there was a Lady K Wellness Arena, various entertaining activities as well enthusiastic race presenters. There were also dynamic and fun aerobics sessions for warming up and cooling down.
2 – It’s Fun. As part of the experience, they have various competitions such as the “Most Creative Runner Costume”, the “Bib Bin” draw and an intense and highly competitive plank challenge. There were so few people who dressed up this year so we felt quite self-conscious at the start but our outfits garnered many compliments from strangers. Out on the course, people shouted “Wakanda” to Elisa and “I need some help Doc” to me! Best part is we were rewarded for our efforts! I got second prize in the competition which was a lovely dinner voucher at Basilico, an Italian Restaurant in town. The voucher was enough to treat all four of us to dinner and dessert, including a bottle of wine!
Elisa also won the Ladies Plank Challenge managing to hold her plank for over 4 minutes!
3 – It’s Organised. When running 17 races last year, I found myself complaining several times about how disorganised some of the races were. Chaotic race pack pick ups. Late starts. Not enough medals. However, this race is always well-organised. The registration process is easy and when I collected the race packs, the process was seamless. We got regular updates and information via email and Facebook so we were not confused about the starting times, the new venue or what to expect at the race. There were sufficient water stations and most volunteers seemed well trained. Last year we started late as there was a problem with the timing chips but this year they noted very early on that “we have invested in improvements in terms of technical support, race timing, on-line registration and route selection”. And indeed, we started at 07:00 on the dot!
4 – The Course. I love all races that start and finish in a stadium because you feel like such a champion! Last year it was the National Stadium which was great. This year they used the UB Stadium which wasn’t as nice but still had a good vibe.
As we left the UB Stadium we ran past the softball fields and cricket oval. We were on dirt track but briefly returned to tar as we passed Blue Tree World of Golf. This road took us back to a bushy dirt trail (with lots of acacia trees and thickets of grass) which roughly followed the path of the Ngotwane River and eventually took us past the Botanical Gardens. We rejoined the road near the old Tlokweng Bridge and headed to Chuma Road and then back to the UB Stadium through the University Grounds. The trail is not very technical so it’s easy to focus on running without worrying about rocks, uneven ground or other obstacles. This new course suited me quite well and I set a 1.5 minute 10 km Trail PB! Rumour has it, the 21 km Route is even more exciting and as I neared the end of my race, I saw very muddy Half Marathoners who looked like they had quite the story to tell!
5 – Good Preparation for Diacore: The Lady K Trail Run is usually scheduled 4 weeks before the biggest race in the country and is often referred to as the “warm-up event for the Diacore Gaborone Marathon”. The timing is perfect and for me it was a real confidence boost so close to my Half Marathon. Even though it’s a different kind of race, it prepares you mentally, tests your physical strength and gets you excited about Diacore.
I would love to try the Lady K Half distance next year and find out where all that mud is coming from! And yes, I have already started planning my next costume… 😉
What race do you love and why? What key ingredients make a race great for you? Do you ever run in fancy costume? What has been your most creative costume?