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TRAIL Mail #4: Friday 25 February 2022
Sent to 9,753 readers

Are events recovering?
Man runs 569km in 85 hours.
Fight cancer with the Big C.

     In this issue

  1. Trail Talk. Sixth Saffa to finish Tor des Géants.
  2. Races. Klipspringer Challenge. Free online calendar.
  3. Gear. Popular trail running products.
  4. News. MUT 100. Man runs 569km in 85 hours.
  5. TRAIL 42. Fight cancer with the Big C.


Happy Friday. I trust you've had a good week so far.

Back to normal. Or not?
The general consensus is that the local race landscape is gradually returning to normal. But what is normal, and how long is gradual? Will the race scene be a pale shadow of its former self for at least the next few months, if not another year? 

There's ample proof of the former, that 'normal' is coming back fast. The organiser of the Klipspringer Challenge reports that entries are 65% higher than the same time last year (although 20% of those are rollovers from last year's event to this year). An iconic event on the Garden Route is coming back (news coming soon). Also in the Garden Route, the George Mountain Ultra Trail announced it's offering a 100km for the first time in June. And elsewhere, brand-new events are being announced, including Mozambique, organised by KZN Trailrunning.

But other events are experiencing a different reality. A multi-stage event in Namibia cancelled its debut, but is holding three other single day events instead. Another SA event told me yesterday that their entries were 50% of those last year this time. That event is still a way off, and could easily exceed its 2021 entries because we know how we are when it comes to making decisions: we runners can be a bunch of procrastinators! Fingers crossed.

That got me thinking of the reasons for some events experiencing different responses. Are you chomping at the bit to enter races as Covid seems to be weakening, or are you hesitant for any reason? Are you concerned about getting Covid at events, or are you gatvol about what you consider society's overreaction to the pandemic? Will some event requirements (especially vaccination or a negative Covid test) put you off entering them? Are you doing events that have been around for a while, or doing events you have already done, or looking for new experiences?

So many questions. It would be good to see where the opinions lie, and if there's consensus in any areas.

Perhaps a poll in the next newsletter is in order, and everyone who takes part gets the results a few weeks before we make them public. I'll create it if I get enough replies. Hit Reply and let me know if you'd take part. Your response is totally confidential and doesn't appear on any posts.

Inspirational people
Riverside Club is back in the news, with an inspiring article by IOL about the club's positive influence on their running environment in Durban North. Read about it out in News.

Have you read the new issue yet?
Issue 42 is available on all platforms including Zinio. Its 206 pages of trail running goodness will sweeten your running. I hope you enjoy.

Share this newsletter
Please forward this newsletter to your friends who enjoy trail running. They can easily sign up from any issue using the 'Sign up' link at the top of this email.

The sixth South African Tor des Géants finisher

Tor des Géants is a 330km mountain run considered to be one of the toughest running races in the world. Hilton's Tim Underwood slipped into Europe through COVID loopholes, ate Italian pastries, met trail running legends, hallucinated, developed a nasty injury, had conversations with the Ice Queen, took photos of invisible friends, and finished the 2021 edition with more than a few extra kilometres. He became only the sixth South African to complete the course. Read an excerpt of the article on our website. (Photo of runners descending Col Malatrà on day 9. Photo by Davide Verthuy.)

Your photos.

Share your trail adventure pics to our Facebook post

Some of your adventures included those above:

  • Liandra Figeland visited Angel Falls in the Montagu Pass.

  • Chantel Nienaber ran at Stellenberg with Chris Visser.

  • Thabo Manyane had a jol with his crew at the Love on the Trails Challenge.

  • Karen Bargate enjoyed an early morning run at Mount Richmore Estate in Salt Rock.

Trails you haven't run yet.
Previous issue TRAIL 41 has 22 trails that are recommended by locals. Have you run any of them yet? Get them in issue 41, now at a reduced rate.

Have a brilliant day and weekend.

I'll be back in a fortnight, Putin willing. Until then, happy trails!

Deon Braun
TRAIL founder


In the heart of the spectacularly desolate Northern Cape lies one of the continent’s true wonders of nature. As the mighty Orange River makes its way inexorably to the cold Atlantic Ocean, it winds its way through the scorching desert and the lunar landscapes of Augrabies. Forcing its way through a narrow granite gorge, it tumbles 56 metres in one of world’s biggest waterfalls by volume of water before continuing along through the spectacular sheer-walled canyon carved out of golden rock over hundreds of millions of years.

In this imposing landscape, the renowned but challenging Klipspringer Hiking Trail has provided intrepid and tough hikers the unique opportunity to experience this unspoilt desert wilderness first hand and up close.

But did you know you can also run the Klipspringer Trail?

You can when you enter the Klipspringer Challenge 2022.

Klipspringer Challenge 
Day One 32km
Day Two 33km

Klipspringer Lite 
Day One 21km
Day Two 18km

Day One Start and Finish is on the northern bank of the Orange River near the fantastic Khamkirri Resort just outside the park. You'll run through landscapes that might very well have never seen human footprints before. Despite some tough technical sections and the odd quad-busting climb, faster runners will relish the outstanding going as they race through this special piece of the Kalahari.

Day Two's start and finish is on the southern side of the river at the Augrabies Falls National Park Rest Camp. It encompasses the traditional SANParks three-day Klipspringer Hiking Trail. This is tough and technical but exhilarating desert running, rewarding runners with some of the most spectacular landscapes and scenery our planet has to offer, including some breathtaking trails along the edge of the famous Orange River Canyon.

Visit the race website for more.

And while you're dreaming of that desert adventure, be inspired by events in the month ahead on our website calendar.

PROMOTED EVENTS 2022 Get listed

SPAR Gondwana Moon Valley Marathon. 42km, 21km, 10km. Swakopmund. Explore the fascinating Moon Valley.

Ultra-Trail Drakensberg. Fri 22 – Sun 24 April (KZN)
21km, 30km, 62km, 100km, 160km. Premier Resort Sani Pass. Southern Drakensberg grandeur. SA's toughest 100 miler.

Lake Gariep Run. Sat 30 April 2022 (EC)
10km, 20km, 40km, 60km. Driekwartblou Guest House. Experience the splendour of the Karoo, and see the biggest dam in SA.

Klipspringer Challenge. Sat 30 April – Sun 1 May (NC)
21km/18km, 32km/33km. Augrabies Falls National Park. Stark Kalahari desert landscapes, granite canyons, leg-sapping sand.

Langkloof Trail Run. Fri 27 – Sun 29 May 2022 (WC)
25km/22km/16km. Louvain Guest Farm, George. Beautiful trails in the Outeniqua Mountains. Start 9am. R4,000+.

George Mountain Ultra Trail. Sat 18 Jun (WC)
10km, 25km, 42km, 60km, 100km. Cradock Pass. Top Garden Route mountain running through stunning indigenous forests and fynbos.

Southern Cross 3-day Trail Run (SOX). Sat 6 – Mon 8 August 2022 (WC)
10km/10km/10km, 23km/17km/16km, 29km/30km/16km. Garden Route NP. Pristine Outeniqua trails: mountains, forest, coast.



Issue 42 showcases gear from Brooks, First Ascent, Rock Rabbit, Salomon, and The North Face.

Looking to buy the latest trail running products?

Check out our website overview of six popular Salomon products, with comments from some of their SA users.

For other favourite brands like Brooks, First Ascent and The North Face, click on the images to link to their Shops or our website wraps on them.

First Ascent Ladies Pulse Tee. Lightweight, breathable, and sweat-wicking Quik-wic fabric enhances ventilation, helping you stay dry and cool. Staying dry is the secret to staying comfortable - no matter whether it is hot or cold.
Ideal as a base layer or worn as a single garment.
Reflective trims increase your visibilty in urban areas, and the shaped hem for extra coverage is a hit with users.
R329 |


First Ascent Men's X-Trail Running Short is a 5-inch running-specific short that keeps you cool and dry with a moisture-wicking outer and built-in inner brief for comfort. The Litespeed fabric outer is durable and breathable. Read more


If you missed the pay-for 2016 film Mira about Nepalese trail running prodigy Mira Rai, you can now watch it free on Youtube.

Riverside Club in Durban North has consistently been nurturing their favourite haunt Virginia Bush, a 38-hectare patch of indigenous coastal forest. This inspiring article gives us insights into the members' commitments over the years. Photo Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency(ANA)

It's always a pleasure to see trail runners being featured in non-running media. I was chuffed that Rich Roll recently featured Harvey Lewis on his hugely popular podcast. Harvey reveals that it took him five years to break five hours for the marathon. He's 45 and been runnng for 25 years. His big news is that he won the 2021 Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra, setting a new world record for the format. It's a last-person standing format race that pits a small field of select runners against a 4.166667-mile* loop, every hour on the hour, until no one’s left. Plant-based Harvey clocked an astounding 354 miles (569.6km) over an 85 hour period. He did that on almost no sleep, and says he felt he could have gone further. Watch the interview or listen.

*This tongue in cheek measurement makes sense when you learn that the organiser is the eccentric and amiable founder of the Barkley Marathons.


5. ISSUE 42

The new issue helps you live better

Fight cancer with the Big C

Does diet play a part in preventing disease? If you've ever spoken to me about this topic, you'll know that I consider diet the foundation to excellent health and quality of life to the end of our lifetimes. Your decisions over time compound, just like money invested either wisely or foolishly.

Dr Michael Greger's article on the role of cholorophyll in blocking cancer-causing cell damage is a must-read.

Check it out when you read the article in TRAIL 42.


Get TRAIL 42 now.

There are several ways to read TRAIL digitally.

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

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

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


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Michelle Walton confesses that she always looked forward to purchasing TRAIL, but was sceptical about enjoying the digital version. "I 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.”

Craig Ferreira enthuses: "I really enjoy the magazine which is very informative and has great articles."

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