• Nikon
  • Roag
  • Gauteng Motor Show

A trail buffet


Words: Mark Sampson, Thribe Media | Photos: Bruce Viaene

The afb Southern Cross (SOX) Trail Run is taking place from 8 to 10 August 2014 in Wilderness, one of South Africa's hotspots for holiday destinations and serene outdoor vistas. This is an area where towering mountains and thick indigenous forest meet azure blue oceans teaming with sea life and rolling breakers. It is the Garden Route of South Africa and surely one of the premium locations for this trail running extravaganza. Race organiser’s Hano and Sonja Otto, from TriSport, proudly boast this as their flagship event. And very few who have completed or been involved in the event would venture to disagree with them.

Photo credit: Bruce Viaene

There are numerous reasons why this race is so successful, but the main one is the diversity of terrains runners' experience. Having researched the area extensively, as well as living nearby, it was decided to create a multistage three-day race that offers runners the best of three diverse terrains.

The race village is situated in the Ebb & Flow Rest Camp in Wilderness. Offering all the comforts of warm accommodation, hot showers and the cool tannin-stained waters of the neighbouring Touw River, runners will be happy to return each day after completing the route.

Day one showcases the surrounding Outeniqua Mountains, loosely translated as ‘they who bare honey’, often described as breathtaking. In this case however, runners will be left breathless due to the continual climbs and descents through the Protea-strewn terrain. As for the honey, that will come at the finish line after 29 kilometres of thrilling single track and panoramic views of the distant ocean.

Day two offers runners one-on-one time with some of the only indigenous yellowwood forest our country has to offer. Light-dappled single track, which meanders through thick bush and over numerous rivulets, and the eerie rasping call of the Knysna loerie guide you through this 30-kilometre route. Not as hilly as the first day, but the legs will start to feel the accumulating distance. Day Two also offers individual runners an opportunity to do either the 30 km forest route or a shorter 10 km distance for the trail running virgins.

The final day leaves the hills and forest behind, giving runners the chance to get up close and personal with some of the best sandy beaches, rocky bays and river crossings the Garden Route has to offer. Following the famous Outeniqua Choo Tjoe train route from George to Knysna, the trail guarantees a unique perspective of the area after which a three-kilometre beach section adds to the accumulated pain in the legs. Finally, runners head inland along the shore of the Touw River and back to the finish line for the handing over of a revered SOX medal to all courageous finishers.

Multistage trail runs are not uncommon in South Africa, with many offering pristine terrain. However, events that offers a three-course buffet to titillate the senses and nourish the soul with incredible scenery are not common. This is a flagship event for good reason and the only way to truly experience it is to do it. Simply put, this will knock your SOX off.

More information
Entries close on Friday, 25 July 2014. To enter and for more information on the event, email or go to www.soxtrailrun.co.za