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The Crazy Store 1000 Hills Challenge – running crazy


Words by: Andrew Booth

The Crazy Race’” as it has become affectionately known, changed to a new winter date for its third running. This proved a resounding success on all fronts. Improvements and upgrades were introduced to the 35 km and 20 km routes which made them a little tougher, and a lot more fun - if you like climbing hills that it is! The 10 km beginner trail stuck to it’s scenic route around the beautiful Nagle Dam.

Photo credit: Josh Reid, KZN Media

After setting up on a very warm Friday, cool air blew in overnight, resulting in almost perfect running conditions on race day. An excitable crew and crowd of runners streamed into the idyllic venue - the picnic site on the banks of Nagle Dam.

The start was staggered with the 35 km runners going off first at 7.30 followed by the 20 km at 8 am and 10 km and 8.30am. One of the highlights of this crazy race is running through a dark tunnel that goes underneath Nagle Dam – one of many crazy experiences at the race, which included a waist deep river crossing in fast flowing water, some steep climbs and descents, several colourful clown and even a wild gorilla! Craziness aside, this is real trail running. It i’s a rewarding experience of single tracks through African bush in the Valley of 1000 Hills. The longer courses are tough and test physical and mental strength, but the scenery is simply breathtaking, with ever changing vistas of the Dam and Valley. T

he field of 35 km runners has almost 100 entrants. In the ladies race Trish Bahlman and Tracy Zunckel finished joint first place in a time of 3 hours and 53 minutes, Alison Misselhorn was in 3rd only 2 minutes back. The men’s race was won by Solicitor Manduwa crossing the line in an incredible 2hours and 53 minutes. He was followed by Muzi Madikwa in 3 hours and 3 minutes with Al Leslie rounding off the podium in a time of 3 hours and 12 minutes.

The long term aim of the race is to grow the field of long course runners. We hope many runners who have come and enjoyed the shorter courses will aim to progress and eventually conquer the big 35 km challenge. An even bigger 50km route is in the pipeline!

A massive thanks goes out the title sponsor, The Crazy Store, whose staff were the last to leave. First Ascent sponsored what has become a sought after garment as well as some great lucky draw prizes.