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Get more f****.
Don't eat the caterpillar!
Fires rage through Winelands.
Worst fear? Clowns, sharks, or worse...

     In this issue

  1. From the Team. Get more f****.
  2. Photo of the week.  Jump for joy on Ceres Peak.
  3. News.  Fires ravage Cape Winelands.
  4. Funny. Trail runners' worst fear...
  5. Trail Poll. Belt, vest, or handheld?

  6. Calendar. Plan your March races.
  7. What's Hot. Don't eat the caterpillar: Cordyceps.
  8. Competition. Make film, win fame (and Saucony).
  9. TRAIL digital. Have you read mighty issue 38 yet?

You're not getting enough f****.

Nutrition has been one of my fascination topics for many years.

But it isn't for an academic reason. It's deeply personal.

My father didn't eat a healthy diet, or live healthy lifestyle choices. His death from cancer was a wake-up call to me, a very real demonstration of cause and effect.

The biggest lesson I learned was that we can get away with bad inputs for what seems like an awfully long time. But ultimately, we're molecules, not gods. Physics always obeys the commands of Nature.

I find it astounding that there are still heated debates about carbs, about protein, about fat. One group says you need to eat a lot more of one, while the opposing group says it's from the devil.

What is a lot clearer is that a very small percentage of people in the industrialised world are deficient in any of these macronutrients. Industrialised agriculture has made an abundance of low-grade carb, fat, and protein available through a myriad of processed options they tell us is food.

But what if all the fans and haters have been missing the point? The above are important, but what about fibre?

Here are a few facts to digest:

  • An estimated 97% of Americans don't eat enough dietary fibre. They get 15g on average, while the minimum daily requirement is 31.5g.
  • Diets of South Africans are similarly skewed to a Western diet, so we're probably not far off that figure.
  • With insufficient fibre, our gut's microbiome is compromised.
  • Most of our immunity originates in our gut.
  • Our gut is called our second brain.

I found a recent conversation of gastroenterologist Dr Will Bulsiewicz with podcast host Rich Roll fascinating as he explained the latest research findings that show how important fibre is for immunity and brain health.

"Your brain’s best friend is your gut. You can’t separate the two. If you have an unhealthy gut, it’s going to affect your brain," said Dr B.
Watch/listen on Youtube and podcast.

He shared pearls of wisdom and the light bulb one for me was that dietary fibre is not one kind. As with proteins, there are millions of different ones, each with their benefits. To maximise your wellbeing, you should make your intake as diverse as possible. Instead of spinach being your primary source of greens, think of the hundreds of known edible leaves. There are likely many others currently not utilised.

Knowledge without action isn't worth much. Since receiving the insights above, I've made extra effort to increase my intake of high quality fibre. Legumes (soaked and sprouted or cooked properly) are superb sources... as are nuts, seeds, grains, tuber crops... and everyone's favourite (noooot)... leafy greens!

I am a permaculturist and my garden is growing an abundance of zero-maintenance greens, which I eat a big serving every day (most require cooking).

They include some indigenous plants*: Asystasia*, Justicia*, lambsquarter, blackjack, New Zealand spinach, cranberry hibiscus, sacred basil, cassava, chaya, chia, Galinsoga, Plectranthus amboinicus*. Pictured: NZ spinach and Asystasia gangetica (dark green) in my garden.

So, being the resourceful, health-loving trail runner you are, think about turning a part of your garden, or a small area of land you can er, 'borrow' from someone into a fibre-producing food powerhouse with zero-effort food plants.  You cannot beat homegrown, fresh produce. Your gut – and your brain – will thank you.

Look out for Melissa Lainn's fibre feature in our coming issue 39, on sale end April, with two recipes.


New on our website. We are pleased to offer quality brands the opportunity to promote themselves through our new What's Hot feature. This will be done in monthly editions. Our fantastic February products are from Druid's Garden, Salomon, and Tifosi. Thanks for the support! Check out Druid's Garden in this issue (#7).

I hope you enjoy this edition of Trail Mail. And remember to liberally flavour your language (and your plate) with lots of the most important f-word ever... fibre.

Happy trails!

Deon Braun, TRAIL founder


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. Thank you. You inspired us and many others!

One of our favourites was of Demetrius van Rooyen and Ashwill Petersen taking an epic Ceres Peak self-timer summit selfie. They are Ceres locals who make the most of their backyard.

Their 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. Fri 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.

Two helicopters carry water to attempt to slow the wildfire. photo Franschhoek Life 

Fires in the Winelands rage for days.

If you planned a weekend run through the vineyards, you might want to reschedule. The Cape Winelands District reported on Tuesday that a fire was blazing in the Overberg. It has since spread into the Assegaaibosch Kloof area, Banhoek and Berg River Dam areas outside Franschhoek. 

On Wednesday morning, they updated: "There are 60 firefighters and ground team members assisted by two purpose-built fire vehicles. The terrain is rough and, in many places, inaccessible by vehicle, however the ground crews are making use of recognised firefighting techniques to staunch the path of the fire. Another team is creating a firebreak in the Banhoek area."

Things had not improved by Thursday morning: "The fire, which is being fuelled by dense, mixed vegetation, is situated in the Banhoek and Bergriver Dam vicinity continues to burn out of control."

On Thursday evening, it was still dire: "The fire teams have reported that the fire in the Banhoek and Berg River Dam area continues to burn out of control in some of the higher sections of the mountain."

VWS has deployed a team to assist in the fight as the fire rages in Nuweberg. 

The Franschhoek Life Twitter account has been live-tweeting and retweeting fire updates. Follow them for the latest news.

Our best wishes to those whose lives and livelihoods reside in the area. Stay safe.

Nikki BB had this wisdom to share on the Facebook thread: "Poop before you leave home; if you don’t, stay at home."

React to the post on Facebook or Twitter.

Which is it?

Kenneth Ramosena says "I come from road running and have gotten used to drinking a lot. The vest holds more and it lets me use my hands to steer myself on the twist and turns."

Have your say on Facebook or vote on Twitter.

Stay up to date with postponements.

There are eight trail events listed for February, including four postponements, on our web calendar. March is looking brighter, with 23 trail events listed. Find events to the end of April 2021 in TRAIL issue 38.

Remember that the Addo Elephant Trail Run will happen on 26-28 March, three weeks later than originally scheduled. 

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.

Druid's Garden Cordyceps
R135 – R295

The Cordyceps caterpillar fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis is found naturally in the Tibetan Plateau region of China, Nepal, Tibet, and India, where it parasitises ground-dwelling ghost moth larvae.

It has been used for several hundred years to treat a range of ailments including coughs, chronic bronchitis, disorders of the liver, lungs and kidneys, male sexual problems, anemia, irregular heartbeat, high cholesterol, dizziness, and general weakness. It is believed to strengthen the immune system, improve athletic performance, reduce the effects of ageing, and improve liver function in people with hepatitis B.

Ingredients Cordyceps fungus, food grade alcohol, water.

Contact [email protected]

See other products that will improve your life in our What's Hot website post.


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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