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TRAILMAIL 03: Friday 10 February 2023

Revisiting Your Ikigai.
Better Breathing For Running.
Greenwashing Detergent Ads.
Stem Cell Donations.

     In this issue

  1. Editorial. Revisiting your ikigai.
  2. Adventure. Muizenberg Peak wind effort.
  3. Gear. BROOKS High Point Waterproof Jacket.
  4. Races. Trail running events in 2023.
  5. Health. Are you eating enough salt?
  6. Training. Better breathing for running.
  7. Planet. Greenwashing advertising and ecology.
  8. News. Marriage proposal. Stem cell donations. Fatal fall.

Header photo: Is that three superheroes riding on a meteorite? No, but close! Anene Lombard took the photo of Chandre Boshoff, Jerry Rademeyer, and Chantel Van Der Merwe during their adventure on Cradock Pass. Chandre shared the photo and says "This route forms part of the George MUT - happening soon. It is now part of the UTMB group of events. I'm very exciting for little old George!"


Happy Friday [FNAME]

It takes a certain amount of focus to maintain balance across all the aspects of life that make it worthwhile, doesn't it?

Just to name a few, there are our people connections, our mental and physical health, finances, our career, our connection with Nature, and our plans for the future.

I've been thinking a lot about the ideas and purposes shown in the visual above (courtesy of Wikimedia) and the concept of ikigai.

It's a Japanese word that means 'a reason for being'.

How's yours doing?

Sponsor thanks

SPONSORS. Thank you to Brooks, Golden Gate Challenge, Kudu Canter, and Run The Karoo for powering this week's newsletter.

MAGAZINES. If you're looking to get up to speed with local trail running from 2011 to 2022, check out Zinio and Magzter for TRAIL issues at R39.99 each. For more recent issues at just R29.99 each, consider the TRAIL web reader.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition, and find it useful to improve your life (and maybe even your running!).

Enjoy your weekend.

Deon Braun
TRAIL founder


Dressed for (peak) success.

Looking strong! In Cape Town, Waheeb Slarmie tagged Muizenberg Peak as part of a multi-day challenge. He says "Mareldia Gool showed some running form (or was it just for the camera?). This part was almost at the peak, where a very strong south-easterly wind was waiting for us. In the background is Fish Hoek beach."


BROOKS High Point Waterproof Jacket 
R2,449 |

Do you love running in the rain? Take your trail experience to the next level with the Brooks High Point Waterproof Jacket. It's perfect for protection from wind chill and rainfall, providing a durable waterproof barrier on the trails and off.

The High Point's Waterproof protection DriLayer ® Seal fabric delivers 14k/14k-rated protection while remaining breathable. The first 14K refers to water resistance and the second 14K to breathability. So, a 14k/14k jacket can withstand 14,000mm of water per square inch from the outside, and is able to release 14,000g of water vapour per square metre from the inside. 

You'll be amazed at its light weight and how it packs away with minimal volume. It has a 2.5 layer waterproof construction with taped seams and waterproof zipper for maximum water resistance. Vents provide additional breathability without letting water in, and allow space to wear a pack underneath.

The supported visor on the hood means you can wear a headlamp comfortably.

Available in SA in women's version only. Men can consider the Brooks Canopy Jacket as a water-resistant (not waterproof) alternative.

Visit website.



Run The Karoo. Sat 11 & Sun 12 March 2023 (EC)
8km, 12km, 22km. Dwarsvlei Farm, Middelburg. Saturday: 8km night run/walk, Sunday 12km or 22km run/walk. Beautiful views of the Renosterberg in an enchanting world of Karoo koppies, 100-year-old-stone-walls, windmills, and herds of springbok. Start 6:15pm. R2,450-R2,750.

Golden Gate Challenge. Fri 26 – Sat 27 May (FS)
Golden Gate Highlands National Park. 50km, 25km, 10km. "Golden Mountains. Golden Reward!" A one-day trail run through the most rugged yet scenic mountains of the Free State. Start 5am. R2,500, R1500, R1,000

Kudu Canter.
Sat 21 – Sun 22 October (KZN)
Linwood Farm, Bergville. 19km/15km, Duiker Dash (5km or 3km). Enjoy the magnificent bushveld trails around historic Spioenkop Dam in the central Drakensberg, halfway between Durban and Johannesburg. R2450 Full Package, R1800 Run Only.



Salt and brain health.

Are you eating enough salt? My perception of salt based on the prevailing culture is that some of us are eating far too much salt. But what if we're under-consuming it?

Perhaps you're also an admirer of Dr Andrew Huberman's popular podcast and YouTube channel which is a useful resource for all things neural. I enjoy his dispassionate analysis of brain-related topics, based on the latest scientific findings.

In this episode he explores the research on the importance of sodium and specifically how salt helps make that most readily available in a healthy diet.

The take-home messages for me are that 1) the brain and other organs and their systems need salt, 2) the brain monitors salt intake and levels, 3) ultra-processed foods can mask sodium intake, another great reason to avoid them, and 4) that by listening to our salt hunger (needing more) and thirst (we consumed too much), we should be able to avoid lack and surplus.


Inefficient breathing, inefficient running.

Take a deep breath. Did your shoulders rise and tighten? That is exactly the wrong way to breath, creating tension and not fully inflating your lungs.

The way you breathe when you’re reading this passage may be very different from the way you breath when you run.

Even though you've been breathing your whole life, you may be doing it incorrectly. Getting your breathing right is incredibly important for fueling your muscles with oxygen, discovers Heloise Hunter.

Get the details on our website.


Cringe-worthy greenwashing by detergent companies.

A friend was recently gobsmacked by a television ad from a well-known washing powder (you know the one, O**).

The subject was being green and how buying this brand would help plant trees. A sub-message was that nature needs... wait for it... our help! She nearly fell off her chair when the ad included the sub-text "Because trees can't plant themselves."

Who makes these awful greenwashing ads? And ultimately, who watches them and falls for them?

Have the agency's copywriters ever been outside and noticed that trees have things called flowers, fruits, and seeds... and that trees can indeed plant themselves without any help from chemical companies?

I quipped to my friend that the company needs to re-brand to Oh No!
(And I see good use of a face palm emoji as its logo.)

My advice to you? See through the green-washing, ditch commercial detergents (which are harmful to ecosystems downstream and indeed your health), and use washing products with short, botanical-derived ingredient lists.

The brand I've used for the past five years is Triple Orange, with its active ingredients extracted from orange rinds, and with no synthetic additives.


Embracing the trail running family.

~ Zoe Merson-Davies (pic left) is an effervescent trail runner from Johannesburg who was diagnosed with three rare blood diseases: Aplastic Anaemia (AA) and Myelosdysplastic Syndrome (MDS) complicated further by a PNH Clone. PNH stands for Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, which causes red blood cells to break apart, a phenomenon known as hemolysis. She received her life-saving bone marrow (aka stem cell) transplant on 16 September 2021 from an anonymous donor and has bounced back. Zoe is training hard to compete in track events at the World Transplant Games in 2025 in Dresden, Germany. She uses her Art With Heart Facebook page to raise awareness for others needing transplants. She asks for you to consider SANBS for donating blood and platelets, and DKMS Africa and SABMR for registering as a stem cell donor.

~ Modern Athlete director and editor Sean Falconer announced on 30 January that Nicole Hayes had agreed to an update of a sub-clause in their boyfriend-girlfriend contract. "I then brought out the ring and told her the proposed new name (pun intended) would be the fiancé-fiancée contract," said. Congrats to this most affable of couples!

~ Grant Cummings, a well-loved and respected Westville Athletics Club member, died after a fall at Macintosh Falls in Giba Gorge, on Monday (pic right). Westville Athletics Club and Shongweni parkrun posted moving tributes to him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Photo: AfriNUUS.

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