Rhodes News July 2016

28th Rhodes Trail Run

Won by Hylton Dunn of Alpine Trails, in front from the start and …


… seen here literally flying into Naude Street to finish in a time of 4:42:49, his first win in 6 Marathons.  Congratulations Hylton!  A full report as published by the Barkly East Reporter, is reproduced at the end of the newsletter.

Rhodes this Winter

As usual it starts at  the Kerk Basaar;  the early cold of autumn giving rise to the favourite topic of conversation; predictions for the coming winter.  Standing in line for some of Tinnie Small’s fresh pancakes while Mev Reeders was talking about winter in the village in the early years, with the snow knee deep on Naude Street.  And she went on to say hoe sy so ‘n gevoel het dat hierdie jaar se winter soos die vroe jare gaan wees.  And she was so right!

While we did have a fall of snow on 30 April, it only started to come down seriously on Sunday 24th July in the afternoon (I remember that because Rob and Lundi Burns of Bellbrook had lunch with us and they’d never seen snow before). At about 10:00 that evening the power went off and stayed that way until 5:00pm on Wednesday.  I heard of three geysers that popped, Janita’s pipes burst on her stoep, and the hotel dropped an afdak. On Main St we lost 15m of gutter at Bell Cottage and Johan Benade also had gutter damage.  The Bell River was up higher than any time in the past twelve months but not dangerously so.


Despite the expense of the damages, one has to concede it was really a beautiful sight once the fall had stopped and the sun was there to bring out the sparkle on the snow.


Of course this bounty has brought smiles to the faces of farmers and gardeners alike, as it bodes so well for the summer.  It also brought many welcome visitors looking forward to a romantic weekend at Tenahead Lodge. And others looking for excitement on the slopes of Tiffendell …. only to be brought up short of Caroline’s bridge by the sign:


But just about everybody who wanted snow got it in abundance over the next fortnight, and the annual competitions were a success.  More to follow at the close of the season on the results and some tips from Maarten and Elizma on coping with the road up Carlislehoek under these conditions.

Trees for firewood

All these cold matters bring into focus developments on Sharlene Sankey’s firewood project.  Mr Yawa, the Senqu municipal manager, has given approval for usage of the commonage for the planting of trees for firewood utilising the following areas:

Portion of K9 brickworks

Plot 309

Portion of L12 (Chicken project)

Portion of L21 (Chrissie’s bridge

Camping site

Plantation camp

School camp

Congratulations Sharlene and thank you.  That is stick-to-it-iveness.

Sivuyile Kula      

Municipal staff are clearing the roads of fallen branches after the storms. As the new Supervisor of Waste Management for Senqu Municipality, management of this task falls to Mr Sivuyile Kula, someone who will be very involved in the Trees for Firewood.                                                                  


Sivuyile moved to Zakhele with his family in February of this year, taking over from Susan Koelz.  His other responsibilities include the Rhodes Commonage, the Children’s Park,  camping site, Zakhele sports field and the community hall.  The services under his management include water, electricity, waste and, of course, roads in Rhodes and Zakhele.  It is in the roads function that he is busiest right now as you’ll see on your next visit. Asked what he would most like to see changed here, he answered with a smile; “tarred roads in the village”.  So say all of us and we wish him well and welcome to Rhodes.

Zakhele Housing

Some very nice houses have gone up in Zakhele as part of the first  phase of the Rhodes 200 Low Cost Housing Project, originally mooted in 2010.  This phase included for 57 new houses in two sizes on existing sites. The second phase of 143 units were to be built on new sites.


Takela Group of Midrand got the contract for the first phase of the project and they appointed Sean Lutchman as the responsible contractor. 

They did a good job from the outset producing a quality product and established good relationships in the community.  Unfortunately there was a contractual dispute with Takela after completion of only 25 houses, bringing construction to a halt.   The future of the balance of this phase of the project lies with Senqu and their Director of Municipal Housing. The whole of the second phase has been delayed due to community concerns expressed in the EIA process as far back as 2011.

Margaret Bakkes (14 December 1931 – 29 June 2016)

The Bakkes family were owners of the house on Erf74 Rhodes from the late 1980s until they sold in 2006. That’s the ochre coloured Karoo house on the corner of Main and Ross, across the road from Isobel Thompson’s.  Margaret wrote more than thirty novels as well as short stories in Afrikaans.  She was married to the late historian Cas Bakkes, and was the mother of four children:  Johannes,  Marius, Matilde, and Christiaan,  two of whom – Johannes and Christiaan – also became writers.

And here is the very excellent report on the Trail Run as published in the Barkly East Reporter.

On Sunday It Was Quiet

Outside the Rhodes Farmers Hall the start/finish road was bare and dusty. A few leaves swirled, hovering off the ground, almost searching for signs of the activity that had been there 24 hours previously.

Not a sign, not a bottle, not a chop bone, not an overflowing waste-bin or a piece of paper remained to indicate that mere hours earlier those dusty 200m had witnessed joy, pain, jubilation and success, and disappointment.

The dust drifted, the cars had departed and the village was left to quietly recover from the 28th Rhodes Trail Run.

As Julius Caesar is reputed to have said “I came, I ran, I absorbed enjoyed relished savoured Rhodes village” And so did hundreds of others, although not all ran. Many enjoyed the somewhat unusual winter weather and made the most of the sunshine and the jaffles, pannekoek, burgers, cakes and the less solid more thirst quenching refreshments on offer in the Farmers Hall.

The Rhodes Run itself was a somewhat unusual event this year. The dry, low water and firm underfoot conditions may have confused our veteran visitors, used as they are to more turbulent weather conditions.

Not a breath of wind at the start had aficionados predicting that not only would the mythical 2 hour barrier to the top of Mavis Bank be broken for the first time since 1995 but the long standing King of the Kloof record, of 1:53, would be under serious threat. The consensus was that it was this year or never.

Not even the minus 9°C start temperature would hinder the lean racing field.

A surprise and most welcome visitor was Snowflake Permanent Number #1 Albertyn Claassens who was making a return to the scene of his many exploits, not as a runner but supporting his daughter who was running her first Rhodes.

At 7am there were 294 nervous Buff® clad runners eagerly awaiting the start. After the traditional “More than a feeling” had echoed across the softly wakening village, the rescue whistle, another of the many race traditions, sounded and heart rates increased as the day got underway.

From the outset it was Rhodes resident Hylton Dunn who made know his intentions taking an immediate lead. With two-time winner Iain Morshead in tow they headed out towards the border road and the ‘Mavis Top’ Check point which is reached after 21km.

It was a case of experience taking point as 36 year old Hylton, with 5 previous finishes at Rhodes all in the top 5, leading 51 year old Iain Morshead, who has two Rhodes wins under his belt among his 6 finishes, to the Check Point.

The aficionados lost their bets.

Hylton took the prestigious King of the Kloof title arriving at the Check Point in 2:14:56, with Iain following some 6 minutes adrift.

Ruan van der Merwe third to the top of Mavis, and experiencing Mavis for the first time, was 5 minutes behind Iain.

Fourth overall to the top of ‘Mavis’ was the first lady who claimed the Queen of the Kloof title in 2:28:43. Leilani Scheffer looked the strongest of all top ten runners arriving at the Check Point.

At the top of Mavis Bank Scheffer had built up an 18 minute lead on 2nd lady Barene Jankovich-Besan who in turn had 3 minutes on Herme Visser.

The two front runners, Hylton in the men’s category and Leilani in the ladies, continued to dominate the race leading through the Quarry Check Point and across Hooggenoeg Ridge to cross Hooggenoeg Point in 3:31:43 and 3:52:19 respectively.

Hylton was first back to the village, a comfortable and deserved winner, his first Rhodes win in six attempts, finishing in 4:42:29 having led from the start.

Leilani took an incredible 3rd position overall as she totally dominated the Ladies event, winning in 5:12:13, some 44 minutes ahead of second placed Rhodes novice Jankovich-Besan who was also 1st lady in the 40+ age category.

Herme Visser (6th in 2015) ran solidly to take 3rd in 6:05 some 10 minutes adrift of Barene.

Fourth spot went to Ronel van Graan in 6:12, who coincidently had filled the same position in 2015.

Leilani’s achievement, finishing 3rd overall is the first time ever that a lady has finished on the overall podium.

Iain Morshead finished nearly 30 minutes behind a strong finishing Hylton. Ruan van der Merwe in his first Rhodes completed the Men’s podium in 5:18

David Laithwaite was first 40+ and 4th overall in 5:22. Ben de Klerk, who had been 3rd in 2015, was 5th (5:23). Keith Clover recorded another top ten finish with his 5:25 earning him 6th place.

Experience held sway all day as the 60+ category winners both set new best times. Linda Icely improved on her own best time set last year finishing in 7:34 and Lawrie Raubenheimer crossed the line in 5:53 taking more than 30 minutes off the previous best mens time. Both Linda and Lawrie received their Snowflake Permanent Number at prize-giving for completing their third Rhodes. Lawrie was 21st overall and Linda 97th.

The run of the day belonged to Iain Morshead. The 51 year old not only took 2nd place overall but also improved on his own best time for the 50+ category finishing in 5:11:23, an improvement of nearly 12 minutes on his 2015 time.

Thirty Snowflake permanent numbers were awarded to deserving finishers, each having completed three Rhodes Runs.

There were 294 starters of which 254 earned one of the new medals designed by Apula South Africa. Many novices underestimate the Rhodes Run as the number of runners who withdrew in the perfect running conditions highlights.

Ronnie and Ronald Small and Jacques Bekker provided sterling service extracting runners from ‘up high’ and returning them to the village. Earlier Braam Botha had assisted the Sweep Team as they headed into Kloppershoek kloof. The Ford Ranger support vehicles were prominent throughout the day and at the final cut-off were the least weary of all the crew.

The runners were highly complementary of all the feed stations.

Francois & Hannelie Nel were at their usual spot at the Kloppershoek turn off for the 28th year. The de Lauwere and Boschmans families together with Tony Kietzman and Ryan Hoffman were busy at the Mavis Bank Farm Check Point.

KISCH IP from Johannesburg, voted by the runners as the best feed station with their Christmas in July theme, were at the 21km mark. They were assisted by the Ironman South Africa Race Director Paul Wolff.

David Robertson, the Tiffindell team and the Batt family were at the Quarry Check Point while Dave Walker of ‘Walkerbouts; together with Margie & Vaasie Murray received the by now rather weary runners after they had crossed Hooggenoeg. The final feed station at Den Hagen was, as always, manned by Johan & Petrie Jorddan, the Buitendag family and friends.

The organisers had donated a complimentary entry to the Organ Donor Foundation. The ODF used the invitation to increase awareness of the need for donors. The ODF Wild Card winner, Karsten Vollmer who had not been a registered organ donor before the competition, finished in 8:03 (138th).

First Choice, Rhodes Foods and Buff® also had Wild Card participants most of whom found it a tough day out especially along the trackless Hooggenoeg ridge were the grass tufts, a Rhodes tradition, were somewhat challenging.

Sham Singh and Danny Holton completed their 28th Rhodes Run, while Jannie le Roux, Shane Hinchliffe and Guilaume Nel crossed the line for the 20th time and will run wearing a prestigious mauve race number in 2017. The only mauve race number this year was carried by 58 year old Sakkie Vlok as he completed his 22nd run in 71st position (7:12)

Barkly East was proudly represented by Joane van Heerden who had a terrific run finishing 76th in 7:16 to take home a gold medal for 10th Lady in her first ever Rhodes Run. Heartfelt congratulations Joane.

The 28th Rhodes Run wound to a close with prize-giving under the Start/Finish banner before the temperature encouraged everyone indoors to contemplate their strategy for the 29th event to be held on 8 July 2017.


1 Hylton Dunn 4:42:29
2 Iain Morshead 5:11:23
3 Ruan van der Merwe 5:18:40
4 David Laithwaite 5:22:02
5 Ben de Klerk 5:23:08
6 Keith Clover 5:25:44
7 Andrew MacKenzie 5:30:50
8 Izak Kruger 5:33:47
9 Grant Wolff 5:35:11
10 Sven Vosse 5:43:02

1 Leilani Scheffer 5:12:12 (3rd overall)
2 Barene Jankovich-Besan 5:56:14
3 Herme Visser 6:05:31
4 Ronel van Graan 6:12:17
5 Ingrid Webber 6:34:19
6 Elmarie Bezuidenhout 6:35:41
7 Michelle Davis 6:38:07
8 Erina du Toit 6:39:14
9 Alice Coetser 6:49:17
10 Joane van Heerden 7:16:21

40+ Men
1 David Laithwaite 5:22:02
2 Ben de Klerk 5:23:08
3 Andrew MacKenzie 5:30:50

40+ Ladies
1 Barene Jankovich-Besan 5:56:14
2 Ronel van Graan 6:12:17
3 Erina du Toit 6:39:14

50+ Men
1 Iain Morshead 5:11:23 (New Best Time)
2 Haydon Wood 6:16:47
3 Johan van Staden 6:31:06

50+ Ladies
1 Annetjie Strydom 8:06:02
2 Glenda Badenhorst 8:12:31
3 Riana Vorster 8:25:01

60+ Men
1 Lawrie Raubenheimer 5:53:49 (New Best Time)
2 Toine van den Oever 7:23:35
3 David Janse van Vuuren 7:43:00

60+ Ladies
1 Linda Icely 7:34:16 (New Best Time)
2 Thelma O’Donnell 8:44:07
3 Joan de Klerk 8:49:00

King of the Kloof
Hylton Dunn

Queen of the Kloof
Leilani Scheffer

Kind regards,
Sean de Wet