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TRAIL Mail #7: Friday 19 Feb 2021

Ruth Croft bags Tarawera.
Addo shuffles three weeks.
Do you run to bond or escape?

     In this issue

  1. From the Team. A run mistake in the heat.
  2. Photo of the week.  Keurkop bliss with friends.
  3. News.  Ruth Croft bags the Tarawera 102km.
  4. Funny. Trip and fall on the flat and easy...
  5. Trail Poll. Do you run to escape or to bond?

  6. Calendar. Addo Elephant Trail Run shuffles.
  7. What's Hot. Salomon Soft Flask XA Filter.
  8. Competition. Win Saucony Haul Lite packs.
  9. TRAIL digital. Have you read issue 38 yet?

Temperatures matter.

I was ecstatic when the beaches reopened at the beginning of the month. There's something special about a barefoot beach run. You're connected to the salt water, free of excess (no shoes, no pack, no phone), the flat wet sand welcoming your foot with each stride, wind in the hair, smile on the face. 

But I made a mistake. I went for a barefoot beach run on a hot, sunny Friday evening. Not only were Durban's beaches full of other joyful sand-kickers and salt water-splashers, but hordes of paddle skiers and fishermen. 

Yet another reason to run exposed trails on the cooler days. In his TRAIL 38 article titled Heat Cheat, Sean Tait explains how to adapt to the heat, and avoid overburdening your system.

"If you take one thing out of this article, remember that training for a hot race does not mean that you train in the hottest conditions that you can find every day, or every session," says Sean, founder and run technique coach at Off the Mark. "It means that you are going to plan key sessions when you expose yourself to race-specific conditions."

Very important for those of you taking on Addo on 26-28 March! Be sure to read his article on pages 190-195 of TRAIL 38, available now.


Regardless of the temperature, listen to your body and stay hydrated.

Happy weekend!

Heloise Hunter, TRAIL editor


WILDSERIES Three Cranes Challenge. Fri 26 – Sun 28 February (KZN) POSTPONED to 8-11 July. 29km/25km/23km, 29km/40km/23km. Bushwillow Park, Karkloof. Scintillating forest trails through the beautiful indigenous Karkloof Conservancy. Start 6am.

Addo Elephant Trail Run. Fri 5 – Sun 7 March (EC) POSTPONED to 26-28 March. 44km, 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 and they were GREAT!

One of our favourites was from Liandra Figeland and Tania Noble who ascended Keurkop, captured by Christel Malek.

"A blanket of mist covered the Outeniqua mountains as we made our way up to summit Keurkop," recalls Tania. "A blissful experience of pure trail running with challenging and technical terrain, including rock climbing. It was tough, with an elevation of 985m over 13km. The beautiful watsonias, proteas, and our love for the mountain kept us going."

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.

Ruth Croft on the Tarawera 102km course. photo Graeme Murray.

Ruth Croft wins Kiwi ultra outright.

New Zealand's biggest trail running event, Tarawera Ultra Marathon, went ahead on 13 February. Of the races (21km, 50km, 102km, 160km) the 102km stood out due to Ruth Croft's domination of the field.

Ruth (32) beat the men's winner (Rhys Johnson) by a full 18 minutes, becoming the first woman to win the race outright. She set a new women's course record of 9h21min03s.

“I tried to start a bit conservatively, but it was pretty tough because the first 30km is so fast," explained Ruth after her win. “I tried to put the hammer down a bit at 31km and then had a good bunch of guys that I was running with. They were dragging me around actually. It got frustrating when they were setting the pace and it felt like it was just a bit too fast. But it was always good to have a bit of company out there.

“The plan today was to stay on top of my nutrition and hydration in that first half of the race and I was able to do that.”

Due to lockdown, the field was limited to people living in the country. That doesn't diminish Ruth's win though, as she beat American Courtney Dauwalter's 2019 record of 9h28min03s.

Doesn't it always happen on that 'easy' section of trail?

Source: Mindful Runner

Answer on the Facebook thread or the Twitter post.

This week's Trail Poll reveals the split between misanthrope and social butterfly.

Have your say on Facebook or vote on Twitter.

Big runs rearranged.

The rest of February and first two weeks of March are now listed on our website. Find events to the end of April 2021 in TRAIL issue 38.

There have been a number of postponements as SA lingers in Level 3 lockdown, most notably the Addo Elephant Trail Run. Instead of 5-7 March, the iconic Eastern Cape ultra runs (all three of them) will happen three weeks later, on 26-28 March.

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.

Salomon Soft Flask XA Filter

Drinking from natural water sources can be refreshing, but unless you're a swamp monster, you don't want to be slurping up unwanted bugs. Filtration to the rescue! Filter bottles are not a new idea, but this is the first one we've encountered that is in a flexible flask. The filter screws onto a wide 42mm cap that allows easy mixing and the addition of ice cubes.

Salomon revolutionised hydration on trails with their soft flasks a decade ago. They have proven themselves to be excellent for carrying fluid and giving the user a very tangible idea of how much liquid is left. The addition of the XA Filter makes it perfect for longer expeditions, including ultra-trail races, so trail runners can confidently utilise suitable fresh water sources.

Swamps are still best for swamp monsters.

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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