The fifth St Francis Sport Summer Series held between December 19, 2011  and January 1, 2012 provided the “healthy entertainment for all” as organisers St Francis Sport aim to do each year.  The series is gaining popularity and all the events showed a growth in the number of participants.

Locals enjoyed the opportunity to compete against visiting cyclists, paddlers, swimmers and runners in 9 different events – some of them professional!  It is also a great opportunity for grandpa’s and grandma’s to see their children and grandchildren in action, something they miss out on during the rest of the year.  Families competed together in teams or against one another in the individual categories, while some friends challenged each other to see who could gather the most medals by the end of the series!  Whilst the competition was fierce at times, the atmosphere was always fun filled.

The series started with the Pennypinchers Duathlon on December 19 which attracted 70 entrants.  The duathlon consists of a 500m swim and 3km run or the longer 1km swim and 6km run.  The long race open category was won by Johan Esterhuizen (men) and Bev Charters (ladies). The short race open category went to Jastiaan du Plessis (men) and Jessica Newmark (ladies).

The Village Square SuperSpar Fun Run had just under 200 competitors in the 10km and 5km distances.  The 10km race was won by Quinton Honey with Nadia Cimao first for the ladies race. The 5km open race was won for the men by Wian du Bruin and Jacqui Corfield for the ladies.

The second Road Cycle Race was sponsored by Custom Bikes, Kouga Print, Bay Fire Protection and Euro Cafe on December 21.  A strong group lead the 54km route through to Humansdorp, the bottom of Da Gama Road in Cape St Francis and back to the Village Centre.  The  tough race was won by Henning Jooste in a fast 1h35 while Leanne Grobbelaar was the first lady home in 1h59.

The Wicked Liquid Swim took place on December 22 with a bank to bank (for under 12’s only), as well as a 1 and 2km swim around the island at Sea Glades Drive. In the 2km open category the overall winner was a lady – Jessica Roux, with Siegfied Lokotrch first for the men.  Aaron Myburg was the first home in the 1km men’s open with Ingrid Landman taking first for the ladies.

The Kathea mountain bike night ride and trail run on December 23 at Port St Francis attracted 38 runners for the 5km circuit and more than 70 cyclists for the ride.  First runner home for the men was Tom Briggs and Emma Frost for the ladies. In the night ride, Tom Briggs was again the first home in the men’s open category with four laps in exactly 60 minutes.  Heidi Koen was first in the ladies race, also with four laps.

The annual Keith (“Sporty”) Anderson Memorial Surfski Challenge was sponsored by Investec on December 27 and was won for the second time by Richard von Wildermann, the top Eastern Cape surfski paddler.  Overall second and the first team home were Donavan Mansfield and Craig Walland. Strong windy conditions saw the route having to be altered, but despite this 35 skis and 49 paddlers took up the challenge.

The Pam Golding Quadrathlon followed on December 29 with over 200 participants enjoying  the fun, especially in the team categories. The overall individual winner was local resident Grant Marais.  Thank you to St Francis Links for allowing the cyclists to go through the estate.

The largest event of the Series was the Edutouch Mountain Bike Challenge over 20 and 40km on December 31.  The organisers thank Eskom and other land owners for allowing the course to traverse their land. The entry fee of R5 per person went towards anti rhino poaching projects.

The 40km men’s winner was Jade Muller in 1h20 and last year’s champ Tina Freund did it for the ladies race again. The 20kms men’s winner was 15 year old Brendan Coombes with Charleen Kennedy first home for the ladies.

The final event for the Series was the Investec Canal Canoe Challenge over 5 and 10km on January 1 from Sea Glades Drive. The race was as usual well supported. The open male winner over 10km was Jasper Mocke, with first lady home Kirsten Wessels. The 5km race went to Tracy van Greunen for the ladies and Kendal Slater for the men. This year a new division was included for stand-up paddlers and next year’s series might see a special SUP event.

A huge thank you to all the sponsors who made the Series possible, as well as to Dave and Marie Louw who helped with time keeping, Sam Bester, Tanya Loots and Jo Brown who helped with registration, the Kouga Traffic Department as well as to Tom, Pieter and Brandon and the dedicated marshals from the Sea Vista community.  Without these people and businesses no event or series can be organised.