Words: Ugene Nel ǀ Photos: Peter Kirk & Ugene Nel
Trail runners without boundaries converged on the Bot River Spring Weekend, held on 31 August and 1 September, at Beaumont Wines, for the Botter Trail Run. Now in its fourth year at this annual festival, which celebrates the advent of spring and Rosé created by the Bot River winemakers, the Botter Trail Run is aimed at trail runners who run for the pure enjoyment of the sport, the adventure, and freedom that comes with being outdoors.
Adventure trail running is defined by certain elements, such as natural obstacles (water crossings), as well as scrambling, caves, deep ravines, gorges and breathtaking scenery in remote and seldom used trails. The Botter trail had all this and the Quantum Adventure with this in mind, the Quantum Adventures team scouted the trails on six different occasions prior to the event to clear a number of sections along the route, thus ensuring it would meet the high standards and safety measures synonymous with any Spur Country Classics event. Thanks to the support from Stihl, who provided the chainsaw and bush cutter, this back-breaking work was made so much easier.
In addition to clearing the trails we also had to take into account the possibility of flooding, as there were number of mountain streams and two rivers along the route. The solution was to cut down the alien trees and use the logs to build bridges across these obstacles. Cargo rope spanned above these logs, to create a handhold for runners. At the lower Jakkals River crossing, chicken wire was secured onto the log's surface to provide a non-slip surface for runners.
The result was a 21 km and 10 km trail that was challenging, technical in places, and offered breathtaking scenery to keep the runner’s mind off the burn and motivated to the end.
Before participants were allowed to run, they were required to adhere to stringent safety rules, which meant they had to carry the necessary kit and correct 'technical’ clothing. Fortunately for the few runners that were not aware of the difference between ‘waterproof’ and ‘windproof’, there was extra First Ascent waterproof gear at the kit inspection that they could use. With two safety sweepers and river safety marshals to make sure everyone completed their journey safely, and the Tygess Medical Crew on hand to take care of minor bruises and scratches, everything was in place and ready for the big day.
Despite torrential rain during the week leading up to this adventure trail run, it was all systems go on the Saturday morning for the 3 km, 10 km and 21 km events. Runners were on a high after completing their awesome adventure and war stories were exchanged leading up to the prize-giving ceremony. Feedback from some of runners included comments like, ‘Thanks Ugene for providing us with such a brilliant course. Was incredible.’ Jeremy Kropman; ‘Great route! Thanks for a fantastic race.’ Tracy Markham; ‘What a fantastic route-digged it! thx Quantam :-).’ Costa Dimopoulos; and, ‘This event is a must do on my calendar now. So well organised and an amazing route, well done.’ Bronwyn Clark.
If you missed this race, there’s still time to enter the Spur Berg & Beach Trail run on 5 & 6 October. This event will be all the more memorable because we are privileged to have two of France’s top trail runners, Antoine Trouillet and Thomas Pigois, taking part in the 50 km, two-day stage run.
The final of the six-run series will see runners tackling a tough 14 km Muizenberg Mountain trail - aka the 'Turkey earner' - on 30 November. The winning male and female of the series will each win R6,000 cash and a free entry to take part in the 100 km Verdon Canyon Challenge in France in 2014. South Africa's AJ Calitz won the local series in 2012 and then went on to beat the French in their own back yard in 2013 in this tough run!
Images from the Botter Trail Run can be viewed on our Facebook page - Quantum Adventures Events or check out the album on www.facebook.com. For race results, visit www.quantumadventures.co.za