South Africa is blessed with some of the most amazing landscapes in the world. But instead of ogling them, why not conquer them on foot? Hitting a mountain instead of a pavement has multiple benefits, reports Runner’s World. Trails take away a lot of stress from the impact that you’d normally get running on harder surfaces – there is less force transmitted up to the ankles, knees, shins, and hips when you hit the ground on a trail run compared to a pavement as there is more give. Feeling connected to nature and the outdoors is also a great stress buster and running on an uneven surface can make you stronger overall as you are recruiting more of the smaller, more stabilizing muscles.
Ready for a challenge? We have provided you with a list of the best trail runs in South Africa, one straight out of the movies, and the others straight out of your wildest dreams. Get cracking on training for them now…
Every kilometer is an experience within itself on this five-day journey. The run is one of few that has a particularly beautiful display of nature; from the crystal fields of Sendelingsdrif in South Africa, to the giant boulders of Tatasberg, across the emerald waters of the Orange River, and into the wild lands of the Fish River Canyon in Namibia. The adventure is rife, and as a solo race, you will have to be self-sufficient, skilled and determined to get though it.
Date: 12-16 June 2017
Duration: 5 days: 200km; 44km, 33km, 40km, 49km, 26km
Location: /Ai/Ais- Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, South Africa and Namibia
This is a magical race straight from the set of Lord of The Rings, an epic opportunity for the ultimate journey. You can bring family and friends (who can even participate as non-competitors) and pretend you are all on an adventure to retrieve the powerful One Ring, which has been lost for centuries. From Maden Dam explore the enchanted indigenous forests and intriguing Amathole Mountains up to Cata Mountain hut for the night. Making your way, the next day, over the Hogsback to finally descend into the town of the same name.
Date: 28-29 April 2017
Duration: Various distances from short to ultra, 1 day, solo
Location: Arminel Hotel, Hogsback, Eastern Cape.
Cost: R110- R2,800 depending on race
Part of the appeal is that the history in the area adds to the sublimity of it and you won’t help feeling a sense of wonder for the many people who walked the land before you. In the extreme route you will be climbing the Outeniqua Mountain, towering 13km over the exquisite landscape. From the top you will be crossing rivers and swamps, rattling along uneven terrains and climbing more mountains until the well-situated end.
Date: 17 December 2017
Duration: 1 day: 29km or 7.5km
Location: Paardebont, Oudtshoorn
Cost: R800- R2000
This is a kaleidoscope of a trail run that is as wild as wild gets, from flawless beaches with warm waves, to rolling hills of grass and delicate coastal forests teeming with life. You will not only be running to finish, you will also be swimming, crossing several rivers along the way. Facing nature’s challenges for the day will be rewarded with the comfort of elegant hotels and lodges in the evenings, which isn’t the only reward. The winning female and male participants will also be rewarded a grand prize of R25,000!
Date: 7-9 September 2017
Duration: 3 days, 112 km,
Location: Kei Mouth, The Wild Coast, Eastern Cape
Cost: R10,150 (To be confirmed)