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8 August 2014



Words & Photos: Mark Sampson


They say if a business makes it past the third year it should survive. In this case, and in its third year, the Oyster Catcher Trail Run in the Western Cape, taking place from 19 to 21 September, is going to far exceed expectations. Having already had two very successful editions, the 2014 race has taken into account runners' feedback, with Race Director Hano Otto adding a third day to the previous two stages on offer. Thus the new and improved version allows even the most discerning or unfit trail runners a suitable option to choose from according to their preference and fitness.

Oyster Catcher Trail Run in the Western Cape

Oyster Catcher Trail Run in the Western Cape

The route takes runners along some of the best-kept secrets along the coastline of Mossel Bay and its surrounds. Starting beside the lighthouse at Reins Nature Reserve, the journey passes well-known landmarks such as Gourits River, Boggoms Bay and Dana Bay, finally delivering you to the lighthouse at Mossel Bay and finish line. The famous Oyster Catcher hiking trail, ordinarily only available to paying hikers, makes up part of the route, as well as the St Blaze hiking trail on the final day.

Anyone who enjoys the coast is in for a real treat as the terrain includes rocky sections with big boulders, expansive white beaches bordered by the ocean on one side and towering white dunes on the other, and for the more adventurous - and those not scared of heights - single track, more suitable for mountain goats, with sheer cliff drop-offs and pounding waves below.

Apart from the stark beauty of the run, it is also appealing as it can be entered as a three-, two- or one-day stage run, with very manageable distances of anything between 16 and 20 km. The 'shorter' distances and less technical terrain, compared to the hard multi-stage races like afb SOX, make it enticing to the more casual trail runners. Having ample time to complete the distance each day and steaming meals prepared each lunch, it is the ideal opportunity to find out what multi-stage trail events involve.

To summarise the full route: Day one, the new addition to the route offers runners the opportunity of running through Reins Nature Reserve. Day two starts at the mouth of the Gourits River, meanders along the coastline with a variety of beach sections and gnarly technical rock sections to finish at Boggoms Bay. Day three starts at Dana Beach, with an easy beach section prior to heading over a number of cliffs that offer expansive views of the ocean.

Fred Orban, your venue host for the weekend and founder of the Oyster Catcher hiking trail, has partnered with TriSport, thus allowing competitors this great opportunity. Creating awareness for the African Oyster Catcher along the coastline of South Africa and its fight to survive against habitat loss is part of the event initiative.

Numbers are capped however, due to the fragile ecosystem, so make sure you enter before the closing date on 12 September 2014.

If running is not your thing, there are a number of alternative attractions in the area that will keep the whole family entertained.

Oyster Catcher Trail Run in the Western Cape

Oyster Catcher Trail Run in the Western Cape

More information
For more information on the event, email or go to www.trisport.co.za

Available options:
3 Day Trail Run: Day 1: 24 km; Day 2: 20 km; and Day 3: 16 km
2 Day Trail Run: Day 1: 20 km; and Day 2: 16 km
1 Day Trail Run: 16 km (St Blaze Trail)

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