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TRAIL Mail #15: Friday 30 Apr 2021

The King and the Dragon.
Racing a river in the Karoo.
Get your kicks with Bix.

     In this issue

  1. From the Team. Racing a Karoo river.
  2. Photo of the week. Dean Moore's Drak grit smile.
  3. News. The King and the Dragon.
  4. Funny. Weekend zoomies for the win!
  5. Trail Poll. What are public holidays for?

  6. Calendar. May is a-happening.
  7. What's Hot. Stay balanced with Bix Hydration.
  8. Competition. Create video... win Saucony pack.
  9. TRAIL digital. Got issue 39 yet?

They raced a river in the Karoo.

"Dit is 'n baaie mooi ding Andrew,” said Hannes as I relayed the story about the kudu to him.

The Eastern Cape bush is home to a highly elusive antelope. To see a mature kudu bull while walking or running is a highlight. To watch one, head down and drinking water, is a truly lovely experience.

That kudu must have heard me holding my breath, for I hadn’t moved a hair. Those radar ears found me, and then he spotted me frozen in place, not 20 metres away. With a bark and a snort, the bull leaped into the rapids of the Groot Rivier and disappeared downstream.

Amazed, I sprinted to the edge of the small peninsula I had the kudu bull cornered on, just in time to see him crash and bash out the river into the thorn trees and away on the other side...

Read the full story in Andy and Sally Wesson's account of racing the rising waters of a Karoo river in TRAIL 39, on sale now.


Thank you for reading this newsletter. The fact you do is hugely encouraging.

Thanks also to our sponsors who promote themselves through it.
Please consider supporting them when next you need new gear.

Last but not least, please consider adding [email protected] to your contacts list, to ensure we always reach your inbox.

Happy trails to you. Have a great weekend!

Deon Braun
TRAIL scribe


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.

Heaven & Hell Mountain Marathon. Wed 22 – Sat 25 September (EC)
5km, 8km, 14km, 22km, 44km, 88km, 176km. Rhodes. Pure, brutal wilderness mountain run in Southern Drakensberg. New 100 miler has over 16,000m vert! Start 5am. R50-R3,800.

You shared your weekend adventures on our Trail Trophy Facebook thread and we enjoyed your images and chirps!

We see a lot of happy smiling faces in these photos, so it's refreshing to see someone sharing candid moments of their low points too. Dean Moore of Secunda had a self-confessed grit smile on the Ultra-Trail Drakensberg SDR 32km course, which was unique and gets the vote of the week.

And how are those towering peaks behind him, yoh!

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. (Please don't send a professional event image. It needs to be a photo by you or a friend.)

Prefer using words? Writeletter and if we publish it, you'll receive a pair of Feetures socks


Otter African Trail Run Challenge. Wed 6 – Thu 7 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, 11 hour cut-off.

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

photo Marzelle van der Merwe

The King and the Dragon

Ryan Sandes (39) has run in the Drakensberg* mountains many times, but the man famous for being the first to win an ultra trail on all seven continents – and also winning the famous Western States 100 in 2017 – has not run a hundred mile trail race on South African soil. Until now.

That first was reserved for the fourth edition of Ultra-Trail Drakensberg UTD 160, which started at the top of Sani Pass at 10am on Friday.

Conditions in Lesotho were testing: a combination of cold, mist, and wind as they battled to the top of Thabana Ntlenyana (3,450m), the highest peak in southern Africa, before plummeting back into South Africa, to eventually finish at the Premier Sani Pass Hotel.

The Red Bull/Salomon star reached the finish just after 9am to post a scintillating race time of 22:30:38 for the 164km route. The route differs from that used in 2018 and 2019, with less vertical gain. His new time eclipses the old best time by six hours and four minutes.

"I am super happy with the way things went. The overall experience of the Ultra-Trail Drakensberg has been phenomenal."

There were 75 starters and 52 finishers in the 100 mile race. Chris Blake was the last finisher in 47:05:16.

Congrats to all who got to the start lines of any of the five race distances. If you couldn’t finish, that’s no indication of your future potential or fortune. Hope to see you there again next year!

*From Afrikaans for Dragon Mountains

The only one you're competing with is yourself. Enjoy your zoomies this weekend.

Add your chirp on Facebook or Twitter.


Biokineticist KwaZulu-Natal / Musgrave, Kloof
Stephan Terblanche has 23 years of experience treating sports injuries. He is trusted by over 5,600 happy patients.

Graphic design Gauteng / national
Barry Maitland-Stuart designs bespoke event medals and shirts, assists corporate clients with their design needs, and illustrates for TRAIL magazine.

Sports massage Gauteng / Pretoria East
Marie Snyman is a keen trail runner, who herself values professional sports massage. Running pain-free is possible. Book a session today.

April was a holiday magnet. What did you do on those days? Tell us in the comments when you vote on Facebook or Twitter.

Get your entries in.

The month of May is now listed on our website. Be sure to check out the Highlights tab for other exciting events all the way to October.

You'll find events to the end of June 2021 in TRAIL issue 39.

If you organise a trail event, please provide the details via our online form, so we can list you. If your event was postponed and you have set a new date, please provide that new info to eliminate conflicting information online.

Listing in our month-ahead web calendar and the magazine's long-term calendar is FREE.

BIX Hydration Recovery Supplement
R140 |

Bix Hydration was founded by Vlad Ixel, a professional trail and ultra runner who has won over 60 running races worldwide, ranging from 5km road races to 100km trail races.

After two and a half years of research and development with a top sports laboratory in Germany, he launched Bix Recovery in 2019.

Bix contains 12 vitamins and minerals: vitamin C (200mg), zinc (10mg), vitamin E (50mg), Q10 (10mg), bromelain (100mg), calcium (50mg), magnesium (150mg), BCAA (100mg), potassium (50mg), iron (2.5mg), sodium (150mg), B12 (3mcg). It’s vegan friendly and sugar-free.

Bix contains eight times more vitamins and minerals and six times more magnesium than most hydration tablets. Made in Germany using beetroot and carrot powder.

Our assessment: "The flavour of both options can best be described as smooth and tasty, with none of the fizziness and synthetic taste that some effervescent tablets have. I highly recommend and use with confidence myself." Deon Braun

Pack 10 tablet tube or box of eight tubes
Flavours Mixed Berry, Orange Mango
Contact Email |


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

Read TRAIL 39 on any device. We've got you covered with multiple options.

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

NEW! Do the same with our latest option to purchase issue 39 as a downloadable PDF on our Ko-fi page.

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


You can also buy TRAIL 39 through Amazon, App Store, Google Play, Zinio, and Magzter for R79.99.

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 (40), not the current one (39). It's not what we'd like, but that is how their system works.

Solution: Please purchase issue 39 first as a standalone issue, and subscribe to get issues 40 and later separately.

Miss previous issues of TRAIL? You can read all 38 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 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.”

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