You're getting TRAIL's newsletter because you opted in.
Unsubscribe  Update your details  /  Forward to a friend

TRAIL Mail #30: Friday 08 October 2021
Sent to 9,560 readers

It's Otter time.

     In this issue

  1. Trail Talk. It's Otter time. Your adventures, every Monday.
  2. Races. October event revival.
  3. Gear. Salomon, First Ascent.
  4. TRAIL 40. Into the light: the Jo Keppler story.


It's go time for Otter African Trail Run.

Hello from Nature's Valley in the natural paradise of the Garden Route.

Yesterday I was one of 223 Challenge runners who were immensely privileged to run the 42km Otter African Trail Run. It was a truly fantastic day, and I will never forget the day. It's a spiritual journey as much as it is physical. So many emotions and thoughts go through one's mind. It's life-changing.

I thought the mostly overcast conditions were perfect to be on South Africa's most iconic hiking trail, although I heard lots of runners saying they'd battled with the humidity. I find white UV arm sleeves do a brilliant job wicking sweat and cooling me down significantly.

Congrats to the 209 who completed it in overcast warm conditions. Overall winner was Skippy Claassens in 5:36:50 and the women's winner was Courtney Pulford in 6:48:53.

This is the 13th edition of the race known as the Grail of Trail, so the Peter Kirk pic above of the wild and wonderful Elandsbos River crossing is fitting: it's of Darryl Munn who finished 13th overall. His time was 6:51:25.

Be inspired by wonderful images from yesterday's event on Facebook and Instagram.

Today the Race entrants will register and run a 5km Prologue to decide start times tomorrow. It's a stacked field of locals who are bound to deliver close racing:

Landie Greyling
Bianca Tarboton
Robyn Owen
Susan Sloan
Rebecca Pretorius
Julika Pahl
Ryan Sandes
Johardt van Heerden
Kane Reilly
Christiaan Greyling
Daniel Claassen
Robert Rorich
Mvuyisi Gcogco
Sinovuyo Ngcobo
Melikhaya Msizi
Bruce Arnott

If you're running your first, consider this advice from someone who has completed 15-16 Otter runs:

  • Start slow, a lot slower than you think you need to go. You'll make it up in the final stages of your race. Almost everyone misjudges the Superman/woman qualities of adrenalin in the opening minutes. It comes back to bite in the second half of this race. The Andre Hut climb is waiting for you. You'll know what I mean when you get there.

  • Sip fluid regularly, every 15 minutes or so. Make a habit of doing this whenever you reach non-technical sections.

  • Try to eat real foods that you've used on runs before, especially in the first half.

  • Don't rush through the GU Munchie Point at halfway. Load your pack with enough food, especially the GU electrolyte options, to stave off cramps. Be sure to have enough water and food for the closing stages, to keep your blood sugar stable.

Your adventures continue

Together, we celebrate our weekend trails on Facebook every Monday morning. It's simple: upload one photo that you or a running buddy took on your weekend missions, and say a bit about it. There are always some gems, and this week was no exception. Head on over there and add your own.

Also on Facebook this week is an opportunity for Racing Snakes to share race images. This is for those totally epic show wow type photos but not taken by you, but of you, by a race photographer. So visit that post and let's see how awesome you really are when you're not taking photos.

Have a great Friday and weekend. Happy trails!

Deon Braun
TRAIL founder



Otter African Trail Run Race.* Fri 8 – Sat 9 October (EC)
5km/42km. Nature’s Valley. Run the classic route west to east from Stormsriver Mouth to Nature’s Valley with 2,600m of ascent, 9 hour cut-off.

Dassie Trail Runs.* Sat 9 October (EC)
6km, 10km. Nature’s Valley. Float over rocks, roots, pebbles, through riverbeds and test yourself up steep climbs. Start 8:30am. R240/R280.

Harrismith Mountain Trail.* Sat 16 October (FS)
15km, 30km. The 98th edition of SA's oldest trail race. Technical, scenic climb to summit Platberg and descend. Start 8am. R200/400.

North Coast Ultra. Sat 6 November (KZN)
10km, 30km, 60km. Blythdale. Beautiful coastal trail with indigenous forests and steep rocky gorges. Start 6am. R550/R900/R1,500.

Drinkwaterskloof Trail Run – Mountain Challenge. Sat 13 November (WC)
23km/12km. Mont Blois Wine Estate, Robertson. Spectacular singletrack, mountain streams and views. Start 7am. R850/R550.

*See you there.


More gear in the latest issue. And because Spring is still romantically involved with Winter, don't be caught out on a trail when the weather turns. Learn about four sponsor products on our website. It features two products each from First Ascent and Salomon and is a quick three minute read.

First Ascent Men’s X-Trail Jacket

Run cool, dry and protected in mild rain conditions with this lightweight jacket. Its underarm ventilation maximises your body’s breathability when your body’s temperature starts to rise, while the volume control hood provides full range of movement and keeps out the rain.

Sizes S-XXL
Colours Yellow Submarine, Blue
Stockists, Sportsmans Warehouse

Salomon Agile FZ Hoodie Women

With reinforced, water-repellent fabric on the torso and more breathable materials elsewhere, the Agile FZ Hoodie is a smart training jacket designed for functionality and good looks.

Colour Night Sky/White/A0
Sizes XS-XL
Stockists Concept Stores,

4. ISSUE 40

What's in the current issue?

Turn hills into your secret weapon. Benefit from Coach Neville's years of running experience to turn hills into better times and more power.

Be inspired by cover athlete Jo Keppler’s story of how running played a major part in her battle against substance addiction.

The global trail community was shocked and saddened by the loss of lives in Gansu, China. Warren King unpacks the lessons from this incident.

Get an insider’s view into the crazy 200km adventure that resulted in a new Malbok being crowned on a 200km stretch of the R355 dirt road in June.

Discover new gear from 30 South, Brooks, First Ascent, Rock Rabbit Sports, Salomon, and more.

Then head on over to the training section to start using hill workouts more effectively, with advice from coach Neville Beeton gleaned from coaches Arthur Lydiard, Percy Cerutty, and modern-day Kenyan runners.

Inspired to take on a race? Then check out our calendar until the end of October to challenge every trail ability.


Enjoy issue 40's bumper edition.

Create an account quickly, and pay securely through world-leading portal Stripe on our website.

Or get different reading experiences, including offline reading for some, through Amazon, App Store, Google Play, Ko-fi, Magzter, and Zinio.

Miss previous issues of TRAIL? You can read all 39 back issues on the Zinio platform. More recent back issues are available on our website, and via our TRAIL apps for Android and Apple.


Craig Ferreira says "I really enjoy the magazine which is very informative and has great articles."

Michelle Chowles says "Issue 40 looks great.  It's very easy on the eye, is clean and uncluttered, and very visual."

Michelle Walton says “I always looked forward to purchasing TRAIL, but was sceptical about enjoying the digital version. Finally took the plunge and have enjoyed reading TRAIL in its digital form. Loads of great content and advice! Well done for a great transition to digital.”

Subscribe or buy single issues today.


About TRAIL mag
Buy digital issue
Enquire advertising


TRAIL site No app needed, download PDF
Amazon View current issue
Android View current issue
Apple View current issue
Magzter View current issue
Zinio View current issue



Not in the TRAIL family yet? Awwwww!
You're invited to buy the magazine to see what it's all about.

Copyright © 2011–2021 TRAIL magazine, All rights reserved.
You're receiving this email because of your connection with trail running, marketing an outdoor product, service or event, or because you subscribed to TRAIL magazine.

Our address is:
TRAIL magazine (Pty) Ltd aka World Headquarters
64 Feilden Drive, Carrington Heights, Durban, 4001, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Earth (next to Mars)

Add us to your address book