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TRAIL Mail #7: Friday 08 April 2022
Sent to 9,723 readers

This evolving newsletter.
Ryan, Ryno, and Lesotho.
Peanut butter Alzheimer's test.
UTD altitude tips.
Ease your first race fears.

     In this issue

  1. Trail Talk. Covid events survey. Read issue 42 for free.
  2. Your adventures. Perdekop, Batrun, Witfontein...
  3. Races. Updated online calendar.
  4. Gear. The North Face, Salomon.
  5. News. Cecilia's headbutt. Trainimm study.
  6. Training. First race jitters eased. Altitude sickness reminder.
  7. Training. Easy Alzheimer's detection test.


Hey. I hope you enjoy this edition of TRAIL's ever-evolving newsletter. My aim is to make this a mini version of what the print and subsequent digital-only magazine provided to you in the past.

But now you will have always-free access to meaningful information and ideas related to this wonderful pursuit we call trail running, which is much more than putting one foot in front of the other through beautiful natural environments.

What do you think of this evolution? Let me know you're alive by sending me your feedback.

COVID survey.
Last issue I sent a link to a COVID survey. Thank you if you participated. Below are a few of the results. It was a small sampling, no doubt answered by people with strong feelings about the virus and restrictions, so keep that in mind when viewing them. However, I think it's safe to say that overall, the trail community just wants to move on from the 2020/2021 experience as swiftly as possible.

Alzheimer's and the Peanut Butter Test.
About four years ago, my 88-year-old mom began asking questions she should know the answers to. Then, later, she started repeating questions she'd asked a few minutes before. More recently, she has asked what day it is, and who I am.

This is the tragedy of dementia, the result of a diseased brain that no longer functions as it should, and which goes beyond the usual age-related forgetfulness. Alzheimer's is the most common of the different kinds of dementia, and my mother has it. Fortunately, she has had a good innings to this point.

Some people do get it younger though. The World Health Organization reports indicates that more than 55 million people already live with dementia, with nearly 10 million being added every year. "This number is expected to rise to 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050," says the WHO.

Read the Health section for a simple test that researchers believe can detect Alzheimer's early, so appropriate lifestyle and medical interventions can be done to slow the disease before it progresses. Of course, this doesn't replace a professional diagnosis, but is a first step in the process of addressing any concerns.

Oh, Coro-NA!
A sense of humour. We need it on trails and we need it in life to make the journey more fun.

So what did Windhoek MD Keletso Nyathi do when the world turned upside down in 2020?

He registered CORO NA, of course. It seemed the natural thing to do.

He also drove 2,000km to Addo Elephant National Park (which turned into a 4,820km roundtrip with side explores) to complete his second Addo Elephant Trail Run 100 miler with hours to spare before the run started. He finished Africa's Wildest Ultra in 36:26:12.

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Last days to read TRAIL's final issue for FREE
Here's the link to read it online for the weekend. I hope you enjoy.
Please consider supporting our sponsors in it.

Issue 42 is also available offline on all platforms including Zinio. Its 206 pages of trail running inspiration can make your life and running better.


Enjoy the rest of your newsletter.

I'll be back in a fortnight unless the sky falls on my head.

Have a brilliant day and weekend,

Deon Braun
TRAIL founder


Your photos.
Check out this week's Facebook post and share your own favourite pic from the weekend or during the week.

Some of your adventures of the past fortnight included:

  • Emma Rorke (pictured) ran the beautiful Perdekop Trail in Harkerville as a recovery run after Addo 44km. "They now have a cool new sign up for newbies who might not know where to find the waterfall. It's no wonder this is a Green Flag Trail. Always well maintained, always improving." she enthused.

  • Waheeb Slarmie: "Wisahl Ganief and I went Batrunning this weekend. In the pic she is capturing the unique view of the city lights below. What an adventure to experience. We finished our race at about 330am. The support and weather conditions absolutely awesome."

  • Terance Winson enjoyed a Sunday morning run in the Witfontein forests around George with Bianca Brent, Marené Cronje, Diane Jonker, Coco Joan Van Wyngaard, and Adri.

  • Bruce Wood ran Batrun with unidentified friends. They took their photo on Lions Head, very early on Sunday morning.

  • Last weekend, Arno van der Merwe (below) did a pleasant easy warm-up Joburg trail run, before he and a mate hit the Delta Parkrun.

Thanks to Salomon for sponsoring this week's Trail Trophies. Check out their Reelax 5.0 Break recovery sandal to give your feet the advantage after your runs.


View events for the month ahead on our website now.

PROMOTED EVENTS 2022 Get listed

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.





Prof Guillaume Millet is an Exercise Physiologist at Jean Monnet University Saint-Etienne in France, and a three-time top six finisher at UTMB (he walks the talk!). He reached out to TRAIL to invite SA trail (and road) runners to participate in his year-long Trainimm study. Get more info and the link to download the app on our website.

Cecilia Wilmot ran into a low tree branch in March. If you've run in forested areas for any length of time, chances are you've done the same. But hers was serious. She wrote on Facebook: "The post that [nearly] never happened. Possibly because it has taken time to process and also time to recover from severe concussion. A few weeks back I was on a trail run in Melville Koppies with three of my friends, I ran into a large low tree branch and knocked myself out. I was ducking and misjudged the branch and the sound that followed was like someone hit a six straight out the field.
"I was taken to hospital, as I kept passing out. I was kept overnight for observation and around 11pm my blood pressure tanked completely: 72 over 41 and then 60 over 30. My phone was taken and I was rushed to ICU... Drips, catheters, monitors and me in and out of consciousness. I experienced crazy chest pains from my heart rate being so low. CAT scans, MRIs and a 24-hour EEG.
"Four nights in ICU feeling like I was almost leaving. But in amongst all this I was experiencing vivid dreams. I saw all my past trauma as a ball of black knotted string. Looking at the string in my hands I decided I had better for once and for all find the beginning and the end of it. To try to untangle the past and make sense of it. I suddenly had this epiphany that I no longer needed the ball of knotted string it had no value or purpose in my life. I let it go. I totally let it go. I have carried this for years and really never known how to heal. Living in this moment is essential, we cannot fix the past. Decide to live today to be real and honest and here today. Be grateful for our darkest moments as they create the most honest and beautiful dawns. (I'm not sure near death tree concussion therapy will take off as the latest fad...)."

What a remarkable experience Cecilia! Wishing you a steady recovery, and on your way helping others realise they too have a ball of knotted string they can just let go.

Red Bull athlete and ultra-trail runner Ryan Sandes is ready to push the limits of his mind and body once again with running partner Ryno Griesel.
They have their sights set on circumnavigating the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. They're calling it Navigating Lesotho, and it's a 1,100km trail loop on the border of the world's only country entirely at 1,000m or more above sea level. They'll start and finish at the Telle Bridge Border Post in the early hours of 10 April 2022. Follow Ryan and Ryno on Instagram.



If you're running UTD160...
...and missed Anri Williamson's (above) account of her 2021 altitude sickness challenges during Ultra-Trail Drakensberg, give this a read.

First race jitters begone
You – or a friend – are new to trail running and nervous about your first race. The advice from several local trail runners is bound to ease your nerves.


The Alzheimer's peanut butter test
She'd been in a care home for the first 10 weeks of this year, but I've decided to move her to a home just up the road from me. There's been a delay in her moving there, so I've been looking after her for the past eight days. I knew what to expect because I took week-long turns looking after her from November to mid-January with my sister. But it doesn't make it any easier.

So I wondered, do people I know or readers of this newsletter also have family living with dementia? How has that affected you as a person? Has it impacted your physical activity and training, including trail running?

Or has another disease or accident required you to look after someone you love in the recent past?

If you feel moved to share, reply and let me know. Your insights may give someone else comfort and strength if we share it in the Letters section in future newsletters.

It's believed that the deterioration of the brain can be slowed if the symptoms are recognised early enough, and the necessary lifestyle changes and medical assistance is given.

Researchers have found that smell is one sense that is affected, in particular affecting the left nostril. This peanut butter test is believed to be the easiest and certainly the cheapest test you can make for early detection of Alzheimer's. (Please do keep in mind that you may just have a blocked nose or another reason if you can't smell it first time! Of course, it doesn't replace a professional diagnosis, but is a first step in the process of addressing any concerns.)


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

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