The community build-up to the Discovery Surfers Challenge 2020 is all but over and the vibe on the streets, beaches and in the gyms is electric, with good-natured banter the prevalent theme.
The Surfers is competitive, but also more social in nature than many an average road race.
Running with the coastline tucked under ones armpit plays a meaningful role in this, and given the overall ambiance, river swims and superb crowds to lift the spirit, it is a special experience.
The 17.5km event from Kwelera to Nahoon is the “Big Daddy” of the 45-year-old race, though it is being challenged by the former junior 5km that started in 2012, now open to all, and the Gonubie to Nahoon run that began in 2014.
The six-year-old race is coming of age and may well become the anchor to future Surfers Marathon/Challenge days.
Good news is that the long-term prediction suggests great weather, albeit hot and humid.
It is after all February, and with the Indian Ocean readily available for a dip along the way, over-heating becomes less of an issue.
“There is no better time of the year to run,” many a crusty old road runner will suggest.
In the 2019 longer race, Bulelani Mgubo, of BRAC, won his first Surfers and is likely to be in the fray again this year.
He beat off the attentions of the 2016 winner, Nedbank’s Nkosinathi Nzingo, who is a regular to the race and has been on the podium previously.
Jessica Pollock, a former Clarendon pupil running for UCT, won her second Surfers last year but sadly communicated last week that she was unable to run this year due to work commitments.
Another former East Londoner, Sam Eichstadt, finished third and may well travel down from Gauteng to challenge again.
Going for her 20th run is Easy Equities Born 2 Run’s Andrea Ranger, the winner of the 2017 race, who certainly constitutes a local favourite.
Fellow Born 2 Run member Hanlie Botha is a three-time Surfers winner who has yet to decide which race she will run.
Whichever she does, she will be prominent.
In the Gonubie 11.2km race, sisters Caryn Lategan and Lauren Ranger finished first and second in 2019 and will be racing again, while the men’s race was won by Old Mutual’s Luthando Hejana.
He too could run any one of the three races.
Late entries and race registration takes place at Nutting Hall in Stirling on Thursday and Friday and any number of surprise entries could happen.