So many riders have dropped out of this year’s RASA, most of them men. As a consequence I have decided to use this report to focus on the women who entered and started 2022 RASA (9 entrants).
Perhaps some background to start. Some statistics (no surprise for those who know me):
• Of the 441 blankets that have been earned prior to this event, 38 have been earned by women (9%)
• Of the 298 unique blanket wearers, 29 are women (10%). This means that there are 29 women who have completed RASA before, some obviously having earned more than one blanket
• Multiple blanket holders are:
o Estelle Labuschagne 4 o Ingrid Avidon 3 o Di Thomas 3 o Sarah van Eerden 2 o Ingrid Talbot 2
• In this year’s race there are four blanket holders (Estelle Labuschagne, Ingrid Avidon, Dawn Bell and Nicola Oates). Ingrid and Dawn are previous winners of the women’s race.
• Five riders are new to RASA (Omphile Joy, Rebecca Sands, Cindy Rutherford, Janine Oosthuizen, and Nienke van Schaik). Nienke and Cindy are the only two riders that have not done any FC events to date, this year’s RASA being their first.
• Always a tradition to do a recap of the number of finishers and previous winners of the women’s event:
o 2004 None o 2005 1 finisher, Amy Jane Mundy (20 days 12 hours) o 2006. None o 2007 1, Hannele Steyn-Kotze (19d 9h) o 2008 1, Di Thomas (24d 9h) o 2009 3, Estie du Plessis (21d 12h) o 2010 4, Ingrid Avidon (23d 6h) o 2011 3, Tatum Prins (19d 7h) o 2012 2, Dawn Bell (21d 9h) o 2013 5, Jeannie Dreyer (12d 5h) o 2014 2, Jill Homer (21d 16h) o 2015. 1, Ingrid Talbot (19d 11h) o 2016 2, Ann Harrison (18d 14h) o 2017 3, Ingrid Talbot (17d 09h) o 2018 5, Ingrid Avidon (16d 8h) o 2019. 1, Sandra Maythem-Bailey (21d 12h) o 2020 2, Jeannette Scoular (20d 11h) o 2021 2, Franci Joubert (21d 9h)
• The fastest time by some margin is Jeannie Dreyer’s effort in 2012. Seven women have gone under 20 days with Ingrid Avidon holding the second fastest time.
• Ingrid Avidon and Ingrid Talbot have both won twice.
What does all this tell us? Well, we are looking at the largest number of women finishers this year, with potentially eight finishers with only Estelle Labuschagne having to withdraw because of injury. The previous highest number of women finishers is five (2013 and 2018).
The race for line honors looks to be firmly in the hands of Ingrid Avidon and Omphile Joy as they race towards Wellington, trying to get there before Ingrid starts the Berg River Canoe Marathon on 6 July. All other women riders still in the race look in fine shape to get their blankets.
Looking through the names of past women winners and blanket holders begs the question, where are they now? Aside from those that are right here with us. Would be wonderful if we could get them back into the FC fold. I’m going to go and look for them.
In closing I must say I am very proud of myself for not having deviated from factual race reporting in this report. No post offices, trail pets, old documents, a void of unnecessary drivel.
I’m sure this won’t last long, I’ll be back to my normal meandering self in no time at all.