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TRAIL Mail #13: Friday 16 Apr 2021

Mountain rescue must-know.
New issue out now.
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     In this issue

  1. From the Team. Issue 39 is here!
  2. Photo of the week. Chantell's Lion's Head summit.
  3. News. MCSA to the rescue.
  4. Funny. Reasoning with your body.
  5. Trail Poll. Trail on tip-toes or a stomper?

  6. Calendar. Autumn events are blooming.
  7. What's Hot. GroundLive GL100 bed earthing sheet.
  8. Competition. Create video, win Saucony pack.
  9. TRAIL digital. A new way to read issue 39.

TRAIL 39 is out!

I have a pretty exciting announcement: The latest issue is live on every platform! Each issue takes months of work to put together, so seeing it complete, and sharing it with all of you is so gratifying.

After years of exercise being a chore, I feel robbed if I don’t get my daily sweat. All along, I thought you were exaggerating. I thought the idea of being addicted to exercise and needing it to feel normal was hyperbole. I thought you said those things to make the rest of us feel like slackers. And now here, I am, hooked.

To those of you who still dread lacing up, who run for many reasons but not for the sake of running: it gets easier. And I want you to keep taking walk breaks and selfies, because you have to build your relationship with running from a place of love, not punishment.

And after a bad run, where you counted every painful step, take a break. You don’t have to run every single day to be a runner. Coach Neville has a host of alternatives on page 158 of TRAIL 39

And stop comparing yourself to other runners, especially if they are built differently. Coach Meg Mackenzie explains how your hormones and body composition will affect your training on page 170 of TRAIL 39

Don’t let adverse conditions stop you from getting that sweat in, because consistency is key. If it’s a super windy day, coach Sean Tait explains how to use it to your advantage when training on page 182 of TRAIL 39

Is the trail steep and gnarly? Toni McCann, Thabang Madiba, Rachel Manyathi, and AJ Calitz offer top tips for technical descending on page 190 of TRAIL 39.

You’re strong! And the stronger you get, the easier running will become.


We appreciate you reading this newsletter. Perhaps you've wondered about reading the magazine, but haven't got down to it yet? Our latest option to purchase TRAIL 39 is as a downloadable PDF on our Ko-fi page.

We know you want to get our newsletter without your ISP or mail reader blocking it or moving it into your Junk folder, so please consider adding [email protected] to your address book. Happy reading!

Heloise Hunter, TRAIL editor


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).

Big Backyard Ultra #2. Sat 24 – Sun 25 April WC
6,706m laps. Welbedacht Wine Estate. Run a lap every hour on the hour until you can’t anymore. Spectacular course with breath-taking views. Start 7am. R875.

You shared your weekend adventures on our Trail Trophy Facebook thread and we loved to see them all!

One of our favourites was of Chantell Moss feeling on top of the world after summiting Lion's Head. It's a real treat for the Gauteng-based trail runner! 

Her 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.

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.


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.

photo Dylan Labuschagne

MCSA to the rescue.

On 28 March, a woman slipped while jumping into a deep pool in a Magaliesberg kloof. She hit a rock on her way down, and a 12-hour rescue operation ensued, including the threat of flashfloods and a hive of bees getting defensive.

Read about the rescue in a Facebook post here.

"This incident serves as a reminder that even the smaller mountains around Gauteng need to be treated with respect as they harbour many of the hazards that are more often associated with more remote and rugged, larger mountains. Hikers and climbers [and trail runners], therefore, need to be suitably prepared and equipped."

No adventure is 100% safe, and when calamity strikes in a remote area, you need to know who to call. The Mountain Club of South Africa has a vast network of volunteers, each assigned to a mountain area nearby. 

Read our interviews with MCSA members Brent Jennings, Kate Quin, and Paul Roth for excellent mountain safety tips, and hair-raising rescue stories.

Find the MCSA emergency number for the area you'll be exploring here, and be sure to save it on your charged cellphone ahead of the adventure.

Do the hard work in training for easy running when it counts! It's that simple. (Even if your heart and lungs protest.)

Join the conversation on Facebook.

Source: The Awkward Yeti - Nick Seluk

Be honest... Do you sneak up on other trail users with your feather-light steps? Or scare them into thinking a stampede is coming for them?

Tell us on Facebook and vote on Twitter.

Get your entries in.

The rest of April, and the first few weeks of May, are now listed on our website. Be sure to check out the Highlights tab for 13 super events into October.

Find events to the end of June 2021 in TRAIL issue 39.

If you organise a trail event, send us the details so we can list you. If your event was postponed and you have set a new date, please send that info to us to prevent conflicting information online.

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

First Ascent Women's AR-X Run Jacket 
R2 499 |

The First Ascent AR-X is the essential wet weather jacket in any trail runner or adventurer's kit bag. It is lightweight and fully waterproof with its sealed seams and 100% Nylon ripstop VapourTex fabric giving a high rating of 15000WP/15000BR to keep you dry in moderate rain conditions.

The mesh-lined hood's shaped brim with volume control cords further aid in keeping water off your face, while the elasticated cuffs seal out rain from the sleeves, and the double covered YKK front zip protects your torso from water ingress.

It's easily packable into its stash pocket for quick on-off adjustability when the weather is unpredictable. Forget the foul weather and explore unhindered in this performance tested waterproof running jacket.

Sizes XS-XXL
Colour Soft Grass/Fair Aqua  
Stockists, Sportsmans Warehouse

You could win one of two Saucony Haul Lite backpacks in the 2021 Trail Film Awards! View the submissions 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 for just R39.99 each on the Zinio platform. More recent back issues are available on our website, and via our TRAIL apps for Android and Apple for R39.99.

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

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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