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TRAIL Mail #9: Friday 5 Mar 2021

Level 1: events are a go!
New 13 Peaks FKT.
Help us create with Ko-fi.

     In this issue

  1. From the Team. Play like a kid.
  2. Photo of the week. Kingskloof cool-off.
  3. News.  Organiser elation. 13 Peaks record.
  4. Funny. Jog your memory on the trail.
  5. Trail Poll. Have you entered an L1 race?

  6. Calendar. Bye bye postponements.
  7. What's Hot. Brooks Caldera 4 trail shoes.
  8. Competition. Create video, win Saucony pack.
  9. TRAIL digital. Have you read issue 38 yet?

Let's play.

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.

Happy playing!

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.
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).

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.

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.

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.


Alpine Swift Trails is a high altitude training facility for sportspeople, situated on beautiful Grace Hill Farm, just outside Rhodes Village in the Southern Drakensberg.

Get your venue listed here.

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.

Francois Vorster quipped "Not all that wonder are lost, some are at 'a well-marked' trail race."

Source: NicheCartoons

View the cartoon on Facebook.

Let's support our trail event organisers after their difficult year!

Have your say on Facebook or vote on Twitter.

Say goodbye to postponements.

All March events are now listed on our website, and with the ease of lockdown, you can enter without fear of cancellation. Find events to the end of April 2021 in TRAIL issue 38.

If you organise a trail event, send us the details. If your event was postponed and you have set a new date, please send that info to us. Listing in our month-ahead web calendar and the magazine's long-term calendar is FREE.

Brooks Caldera 4 

Want excellent traction and responsive cushioning on any terrain? Consider the Brooks Caldera 4.

The first thing you'll notice when fitting it is that its lightweight BioMoGo DNA midsole is stacked high. Take it onto a trail, and you'll find this makes a steady stride over long distances that much easier, while protecting your feet against trail hazards.

The TrailTack sticky rubber outsole and high surface-area lugs provide outstanding grip, even in the wet. Its new engineered mesh gives it strategically placed breathability and drainage. Check it out now.

Sizes US 7-11 (women), US 8.5-13 (men)
Mass 241g (women), 264g (men)
Drop 4mm | Stockists 011 825 7324
[email protected]

You could win one of two Saucony Haul Lite backpacks in the 2021 Trail Film Awards! View the submissions so far.

Read TRAIL 38 on any device. We've got you covered with multiple options. Create an account quickly, and pay securely through Stripe on our website. Or see other options, including Amazon, App Store, Google Play, Magzter, and Zinio.


You can also buy TRAIL 38 through Amazon, App Store, Google Play, Zinio, and Magzter for R59.99.

If you buy through the App Store or Google Play, note that subscriptions are forward-based. This means that if you sign up today, your first issue will be the next edition (39), not the current one (38). It's not what we'd like, but that is how their system works.

Solution: Please purchase issue 38 first as a standalone issue, and subscribe to get issues 39 and later separately.

Miss previous issues of TRAIL? You can read all 37 back issues for just R39.99 each on the Zinio platform. More recent back issues are available on our website for R29.99, and via our TRAIL apps for Android and Apple for R39.99.

Reader Michelle Walton says “I always looked forward to purchasing TRAIL, but was sceptical about enjoying the digital version. Finally took the plunge (with issue 37) 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.


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