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Katberg Eco Trail - Food for thought

Words & Photos: Bruce Viaene, www.bvphoto.co.za

The 2014 Katberg Eco Trail went down in pristine conditions at the Katberg Eco Golf Estate, hidden in untouched mountains and forest in the Winterberg.

Photo credit: Bruce Viaene, www.bvphoto.co.za

Held on 21 June 2014, more than four hundred runners descended on the estate to take on either 4 km, 10 km or 18 km of tough trail, which consisted of technical single track, cascading waterfalls and hard hills to climb. The course is designed for hardcore trail runners, as well as those new to the technicalities of trail running. Sitting at just above 1,000 m above sea level, the predominately coastal crowd knew this would be no walk in the park.

Powerade provided the perfect watering hole for thirsty runners just before they entered a technical, canopied single track that was littered with exposed roots, fallen yellowwoods and a moss-covered boulder garden. Once they emerged, it was all downhill along a jeep track and finally, the soft cushioning of the golf course welcomed the runners home.

Sizakele Dayimani took the lead in the 18 km run from the start and never gave it up, with Mandixole Kalideni and Christo Muller on his heels. Dayimani crossed the line in a time of 01:19:23, four minutes ahead of Kalideni. The ladies race was no less exciting with Sandy Hunter finishing in a time of 1:44:52, just over a minute ahead of second place Kieren Bremner. "This pristine trail brings me back every year and it is definitely food for the soul. I recently completed the Comrades, which made this race quite a challenge, but I still really enjoyed the experience," said Hunter.

The 10 km run was hotly contested with 188 runners taking on the challenge. However, it was James Paul who dominated them all and finished in a time of 00:54:45. In the ladies race, first in was Margaret Mitchell in a time of 01:11:38.

Photo credit: Bruce Viaene, www.bvphoto.co.za

Not everyone was racing for the podium though and many were there just to enjoy the adventure that these races bring. "I'm not running fit, but to be out here with my family and enjoying the scenery brings us back every year," commented Michelle Powell. Pony rides, a jumping castle and a 'Treasure Trail' made sure that the young runners were catered for, thus making the entire weekend a family affair.

"Running in the mountains with beautiful fresh air – there is no better way to run, there is no better way to live life," stated Liam Victor, director of Outhere Trails. "I have an amazing team who pull together to make sure our runners have a jol." Under the watchful eye of Alderson Ambulance, each runner was looked after in case something nasty popped up.

This race is the epitome of trail running. The camaraderie, friendly banter and good laughs could be heard all around the mountain. "It doesn’t matter how fit you are, we are all out there for the same reason – to enjoy the outdoors," explained Rudi le Roux after completing the 18 km race.

When prize-giving came around, the cheers from supportive friends and family erupted as their comrades stood proud on the podium. Cold Castle Lites and juicy hamburgers filled the spot for the hungry trail runners as they soaked up the sun at the end of another successful Katberg Eco Trail.

More information
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