Triple distilled

26 September 2014



Words by: Mark Sampson, Thribe Media | Photos: Em Gatland


Just like a fine whiskey that matures and gets better with time, as well as needing a few tweaks to enhance its quality, so too is the Oyster Catcher Trail Run. Having just taken place from 19 to 21 September 2014, along the diverse southern Cape coastline, this iconic trail running event has come of age. With a few changes from last year – the addition of an extra day – it seems to have hit a nerve with local and national entrants, who arrived from across the country.

The variety of terrain and manageable distances is what TriSport aims for at this event. It is not necessarily targeted at the competitive trailies, but more for the runners who are new to the sport and looking to experience a multistage trail event. Also offering the opportunity to run one, two or all three days, you can choose how much you want to bite off.

Day one, the new addition to the event, started from Reins Private Nature Reserve and saw the athletes running to the Ystervarkpunt Lighthouse. The field set off in anticipation of the new 25 km leg, not knowing if they would bump into any of the local mountain zebra or eland.

Heavy winds helped push the field through the coastal bush prior to heading home along the coastline, while a short finishing stretch on a sandy beach section kept the runners' honest.

Day two started at Gouritsmond and followed the coastline all the way back to Boggomsbaai, some 20 km away. Beach sections with dunes, a 3 km technical boulder section, some awesome single-track sections and a short stint on boardwalk made for a unique and very manageable run.

As usual, Course Director Hano Otto kept the runners on their toes by finishing with a short, tarred uphill to Sandpiper Sports Centre.

The final day, and most scenic according to many of the finishers, started at Dana Beach in Mossel Bay. After this quick beach section, the single track began and anyone scared of heights was in for a fright. The route followed the famous St Blaize hiking trail and along some massive cliffs, with seagulls floating on the breeze, overlooking the pounding waves below. As the lighthouse came into view, a final down section with some zigzagging stairs and rock pools welcomed the finishers. The 16-km stage finished at Big Blu Restaurant, where prize-giving and a plate of fresh calamari was enjoyed by all.

Cyclist Jade Muller, who was running in his first multistage event, pulverised the field to win each stage and take the overall title in a brilliant time of 4:43:24. The first lady, also winning all three days, was Megan Beckett in 5:57:50.

All said and done, the race also plays a very important role in maintaining the terrain and creating awareness of the oystercatcher, a quirky black bird whose long beak looks like it has been dipped in bright orange paint. Previously endangered, the hard work of a local environmentalist, Fred Orban, has resulted in an increase in the numbers of these unique birds, through the demarcation of certain sections of the local coastlines to become strongholds and breeding grounds.

For this reason, the number of runners will be capped in 2015, so be sure to keep a look out for when entries open.

The 2014 Oyster Catcher trail run has come of age and next year promises to be even bigger and better. See you there.

More information
For more information on the event, results and photos, go to and/or

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