IN THE days of the purist roadrunning, events such as the TFM Tomato Trot were looked upon as oddities.
Included in that category would have been the Discovery Surfers Challenge, The Hagmorkei and a forerunner to Tomato Trot, The Cabbage Patch.
Today all of these races have outlived, and in some instances outperformed, many of the then hallowed road races.
The off-road nature of the Tomato Trot and the others has proved to be ahead of the herd in respect of innovation.
Tomorrow, the humble beginnings of the Tomato Trot some 18 years ago will be affectionately remembered by the few who were there – all 36 of them.
In the present, with well over 1000 participants in the 15km run, walk or cycle and the 5km fun event, the race commands a great deal of respect.
Of interest is that Danie Bessinger, who is one of the founders of the race and who has been involved in every event to date, has recently launched a new, and almost certainly a feeder initiative to running on the East Coast, with the Sunrise-on-Sea parkrun. This shows that innovation leads to longevity.
While the Tomato Trot is a family affair and much socialising takes place on the tough farm roads around the Lilyfontein School, there will also be fierce competition for places upfront and indeed within the age group categories.
The weather predicted for tomorrow is hot and humid, with a moderate north-easterly wind blowing. In the valleys it will be stifling and thus the runners who are best prepared for such conditions are most likely to prevail.
The Surfers is only two weeks away and performances tomorrow afternoon will give a good indication of what to expect from the local component in that race.
Awonke Bungu, who won Surfers in 2012 has already shown some good form with a 10km win and being a part of a strong Isuzu 70.3 Ironman relay team that finished third.
Luthando Hebana, however, is not to be taken lightly as he showed when anchoring the winning team, out of the same stable, at Ironman.
Zingisile Marikeni won the recent Pennypichers Half-Marathon, has won Tomato Trot before and was second at Surfers in 2012, all of which means that he is another dangerman.
At last year’s Tomato Trot, Stephanie Smith and Andrea Williams did battle among the women, but with Williams out of racing for now, the newly married Smith will look to another strong performance.
All will depend, however, on the presence or otherwise of Border’s most prolific winner, Hanlie Botha.
The 15km run starts at 4pm; the cycle at 3.20pm; the walk at 3.30pm and the 5km fun run at 4.10pm.
- ALL of the races start and finish at Lilyfontein School where there will be plenty of food and refreshments for support crews and athletes alike.
Entries for the 15km run and walk can be made at Sportsmans Warehouse at Beacon Bay Retail Park until noon on the day of the race.
Late entries will be accepted at Lilyfontein School but will carry a R10 penalty. Contact the school on (043) 737-4258 for more details.