GEORGE NEWS - Hundreds of cyclists, runners and walkers - mostly visitors to the Garden Route during the December holidays - took part in the 16th Grootbrak Grabadoo in Great Brak River on Monday 31 December.
The event started and finished at the sports grounds next to the public library in the village situated on the banks of the Great Brak river, which horseshoes its way towards the Indian ocean.
A record number of just over 1 300 participants took part in the 73km, 53km, 36km and 15km mountain bike routes, which started at 07:00 at 3-minute intervals, and the 4,8km fun run/walk, which started at 07:15.
First home was Gerhard Swanepoel from Pretoria and second Eben Kruger from Stellenbosch, who both finished the 4,8km in about 18 minutes. "We need this event, considering the amount of beer and food one consumes over the holidays," said Kruger.
Regina Fry (80) from George also finished the 4,8km route. "I underwent open-heart surgery six months ago," she said.
Mimi Finestone of Interface by Goji, who started the event 16 years ago with a friend, said most of the participants are visitors to the Garden Route. "We started the event because there was a need for a relaxed fun event in the middle of the holiday season. It is not a qualifying race, and we don't keep times or hand out prize money, but it's just a fun event to end the year with."
Claire Boltman, Eden County manager for Vodacom, who came aboard as the premier sponsor of the Grootbrak Grabadoo, agreed. "This is a splendid event because it has a fun atmosphere and takes cyclists through areas they would not normally have access to. Also, it is great that a shorter fun run/walk is incorporated. It is also magnificent that the whole community is involved. In addition, it is also one of the more affordable events of its kind to enter."
Other sponsors included De Kaap Estates, who provided a water table on the 15km route, York Auto, whose representatives Bles de Wet and Pieter Nel provided vehicles for the laying out and marking of the routes, as well as water tables along the longer routes. De Dekke Spar is another sponsor who also provided a water table in front of its shop on the 4,8km route, in which families with young children and their pets also took part.
Poweraid's Arc de Triomphe marked the start and end of the Grabadoo for the 16th year, and participants were refreshed by a free energy drink at the end.
Donovan Claassen, the chairperson of the Mayflower Cricket Club and beneficiary of the event, who has been involved with the logistics of the Grootbrak Grabadoo for the third year, is enthusiastic about the club's involvement. "About 15 members of the club are involved as route marshals. It is great to be part of the Grabadoo family in this way." In addition, members of the Great Brak River youth centre were also involved.
For more information and photographs about the Grootbrak Grabadoo, check out the Facebook page.
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