TRAIL Mail #9: Friday 5 Mar 2021
Level 1: events are a go!
New 13 Peaks FKT.
Help us create with Ko-fi.
You know it, I know it: trail running is play. We miss the freedom and joy of climbing trees, playing catch, and rolling down hills. When we run a trail we get back in touch with that sweaty kid with skinned knees.
And if you have kids of your own, no doubt they love to join you for play time on a run! That's why we have a TrailKids section to give youngsters a chance to express why they love the sport.
Have a Trail Kid of your own? Tell us about them and send a photo of their trail running joy.
Check out 12-year-olds Hubri Junior and Anthony on pages 88 and 89 of TRAIL 38.
Have adventures to share about your own playtime on the trails? Tell us about it in a letter and be rewarded with a pair of Feetures socks, should we publish it. (I have a few pairs of Feetures and wow - they feel good! No blisters either...)
Please spend some time at play this weekend. If the time on your legs is joyful, you'll find it easier to motivate yourself to lace up as the mornings get colder and darker. You'll get strong without noticing.
Heloise Hunter, TRAIL editor
Addo Elephant Trail Run. Fri 26 – Sun 28 March (EC)
4km, 76km, 160km. Addo Elephant National Park. Mentally and physically challenging, surrounded by wilderness and wildlife. Earn your buckle with the 100 miler. Start 6am. R1,250-R4,250. addo.run
Ultra-Trail Drakensberg. Fri 23 – Sun 25 April (KZN)
21km, 30km, 62km, 100km, 160km. Premier Resort Sani Pass. Iconic races in the Southern Drakensberg, including the gruelling 100 miler, which takes in the highest point in southern Africa (3,482m). ultratraildrakensberg.com
You shared your weekend adventures on our Trail Trophy Facebook thread and we loved to see them all!
One of our favourites was from Dave Funnell cooling off at Kingskloof. "It's always good to get off the beaten track and explore a little," he enthused.
His photo may appear in a future TRAIL issue – and so could yours. Send us your best action photo, and tell us about the run. (Not professional event images, it needs to be a photo by you or a friend.)
Prefer telling stories? Write us a letter and receive a pair of Feetures socks
Klipspringer Challenge. Sat 1 May – Sun 2 May (NC)
21km/18km, 32km/33km. Augrabies Falls National Park. Grueling desert run through remote Kalahari landscapes: granite canyons, Orange River, otherworldly moonscapes, unforgiving desert sand. klipspringerchallenge.co.za
Lake Gariep Run. Sat 1 May (EC)
40km, 20km. Driekwartblou Guest House, Gariep Dam. A trail run in the Karoo next to the biggest dam in South Africa. Start 7am. R550/R650. lakegarieprun.co.za
WILDSERIES Three Cranes Challenge. Thu 8 – Sun 11 July (KZN)
29km/25km/23km, 29km/40km/23km. Bushwillow Park, Karkloof. Scintillating forest trails through the beautiful indigenous Karkloof Conservancy. Start 6am. wildseries.co.za
Amri Williamson during her record-setting 13 Peaks run on Monday.
Level 1 lockdown means racing can start!
From the trail races which happened in 2020, we know they are unlikely to be super-spreader events. Now that we can resume the race calendar, be sure to sanitise, distance, and wear a mask when necessary to keep it that way.
We spoke to a few event organisers to see how they feel about the ease on restrictions. Warren King, organiser of Klipspringer Challenge, WildJoburg, and RuntheBerg says: "Woohoo! Level One! Vaccines! Races! We are definitely moving in the right direction and have reason to celebrate! It will be fantastic to hopefully get a full winter season of our favourite trail races, albeit with some conditions and limitations.
"Fortunately trail running is by its nature a healthy and exceptionally low infection risk activity. It's also fairly easy for organisers to implement good controls and have comprehensive protocols at our events so we can go ahead quite safely. Good news all round."
Sheena O'Keeffe of Live Adventure in Port Elizabeth / Qqeberha said "Level ONE baby! At last, some fabulous news from the president. After postponing the Van Stadens Mountain Marathon and then Addo Elephant Trail Run already this year, this good news was a huge relief. We're really grateful to be members of SAAMES, as we have ministerial approval to hold trail events in Level 1 and 2. This means that our events are completely legal, and both organisers and runners are safe and protected.
"Looking forward to getting the trail family back together on 26 March. Addo was our last event in 2020 and it'll be our first for 2021!"
Spurgeon Flemington of Running Man Adventures, which organises Ultra-Trail Drakensberg, The Giant's Cup Trail Run, and Sani Stagger said "The move to Level 1 is very encouraging and let’s hope it stays there. Most event organisers have protocols in place that satisfy Level 3 regulations in terms of runner safety from Covid, so it has been the technical aspects of sizes of gatherings that has been holding us back until now.
"The outdoor and highly dispersed nature of our sport naturally inhibits the spread of COVID so it’s really all about managing registrations, starts and finish lines in a responsible manner. Let’s hope that government recognises the fact that trail events should not be lumped into the same category as stadium sports and music festivals and allows us to get on with the 2021 calendar."
Another ultra organiser told us (off the record) that curfew restrictions in place still affect ultra events, so his team is waiting for the new regulations to be announced.
New 13 Peaks Challenge record
There's a new name at the top of the women's One Day 13 Peaks leaderboard: Amri Williamson. She completed the 100km+ 13 Peaks Challenge FKT route in 19h24min on Monday 1 March. That's 2 hours 20 minutes faster than her previous time on the route when she ran it in October 2020.
Only three women have completed the 13 Peaks in under 24 hours. Karoline Hanks has two times on the leaderboard, in second and fourth place. Linda Doke set the fifth fastest time in an unsupported effort in August 2019, the first mountain woman to crack 24 hours.