Runners explore sacred trails at KZNTR’s Winter Series Table Mountain

The atmosphere was jovial at the base of Pietermartizburg’s Table Mountain on Sunday, as runners lined up at the start of the second leg of the popular KZNTR Winter Series event. The clear, crisp winter morning set an idyllic scene and, as the sun rose above the glorious mountain, it cast its rays upon the beautiful trail that the athletes were about to embark upon.

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happy running in my Vivolicious capris

Table Mountain is shrouded in folklore and considered to be a sacred place by the local community. Being able to access this venue and run through the sweeping trails is a special privilege for runners.

“We are very lucky to be allowed access to run on the mountain, which is a sacred place for the locals,” said Lauren Booth of KZNTR. 

Andrew Booth, also of KZNTR, added his thoughts on the event, stating that PMB’s Table Mountain was a trail event like no other on the calendar.

“It’s all a great coming together of the trail running community and the local Maqongqo community at Mcoseleli Secondary School, once again showing how sport can unite,” he said.

The event, which featured a 7km, 12km and 20km route, proved to be a massive success, with runners, and walkers, from all walks of life coming together to enjoy the vibes and scenes. Adding to the festivities, WESSA were on hand once again, providing delicious bacon and egg rolls to hungry athletes, as part of their ongoing fundraising initiatives. Exploring Coffee also celebrated it’s one year birthday and there was much cake to be eaten.

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Stoked to have won the Table Mountain trail run

Adding value to the series, KZNTR has partnered up with Thirsti Water and West Coast Fish & Chips and have also introduced a Kidzone with experienced child minders and fun activities so that parents can enjoy a run knowing their kids are safe and having fun.

The final instalment of the KZNTR Winter Series will be held at Aloe Wildlife Estate in Camperdown, on 2 July. For more information log onto http://www.kzntrailrunning.co.za or email lauren@kzntrailrunning.co.za

 

20km Results

Men:

  1. MTHOBISI MZELE 1:22:28
  2. SIYABONGA NGCONGO 1:23:16
  3. SPHELELE GUMEDE 1:23:26

Women:

  1. ZOE PAPADAKIS 1:51:37
  2. LISA DANIEL 1:57:41
  3. LINDA GATHMANN 2:04:49

Thrills, spills and upsets at Rocky Bay Trail

Media release: Things were hotly contested at the Rocky Bay Trail Run as top runners from across Durban made their way to Scottburgh to participate in the scenic KZN Trail Running event over the weekend. The mens’ 20km was a standout event, which saw Derek Wasserfall, Rhain Hoskins and Joshua Chambers fighting tooth and nail for top spots on the podium.

No stranger to the trails, Wasserfall has dominated races across the province, accumulating numerous wins over the years. His combination of speed and endurance have always made him a tough opponent to beat however, armed with speed, strength and agility, Hoskins’ was hot on his heels over the relatively flat and fast course. At the end of the day, Wasserfall managed to lead the pack home in first position, with Hoskins in a close second and Chambers in third.

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Rhain Hoskins and Derek Wasserfall

The nail biting finish proved that there is some serious emerging talent on the trails, with Hoskins carving a name for himself locally. The athlete, who represents local gym, Paragon Fitness/Crossfit RIED, said the race was an incredible experience.

“The trails were thoroughly enjoyable, especially the incredibly fun and well maintained single track, not to mention how well marked it was,” he said. “A bonus was that there weren’t any really bad climbs. Definitely one to come back to next year and hopefully improve on what I did this weekend.”

2The women’s 20km was another stand out affair which saw Simone Barrett and Zoe Papadakis neck and neck until the very end. Barett managed to squeeze in a 23 second gap ahead of Papadakis, winning the raise by a breadth. Patricia Dammann rounded the podium off in third. The ladies have been putting up solid performances on the trails as of late and this particular race was no exception. Barrett and Papadakis managed to finish off in fifth and sixth position overall, proving that the women meant business.

Papadakis, who is also representing local gym Paragon Fitness/Crossfit RIED, is fast making a name for herself on the local trail scene. Last week the Vivobarefoot brand ambassador finished in a strong sixth position at the Drakensberg Northern Trail. This was her first skymarathon and, speaking about the Rocky Bay Trail Run, Papadakis said she things could have gone either way.

“I have never run that far before,” she said. “So I was not sure if my legs would be up for a race today. I started off a bit slow but found my groove midway and, by the end, I felt great. Simone really pushed me, she is an incredible athlete!”

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Paragon Fitness represented on the trails

Interestingly enough, both Hoskins and Papadakis follow plant based lifestyles. Their solid performances are defying misconceptions that vegan athletes are weaker and malnourished by promoting a healthier side to the lifestyle.

The 12km route saw U16 athlete, Delphinus Sauer, clinch first position ahead of Dane Davies and George Schultz while, in the women’s division, Shenne Davies came home first, ahead of Kim McNally and Mary Murray consecutively. Meanwhile, the 6km saw some upsets with Kristen Williams finishing up as the winner overall, ahead of Daniel Hale and Simon Schaaij.

Fun in the mud at Hilton

It was a wet, muddy day of fun at the KZNTR Hilton College Trail Run on Sunday. This is such a lovely route and the cool, misty conditions just added to it’s charm and intrigue. Still relatively new to the trail scene, I first tackled this race last year, finishing up in third place on the 12km. So I was excited, and nervous, to try my hand at the longer distance in preparation for my first upcoming Sky marathon next month.

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Admittedly, I have been a bit weary about the slightly longer distances, it is something I am still tentatively exploring, but it was reassuring and calming to line up at the start next to so many good friends and familiar faces. The camaraderie and spirit of the trail running community is what makes this sport so special, and there was tons of that going around as we all stood in the rain, waiting for the race to get underway.

Last year, when I first ran Hilton, I was in a completely different place physically and mentally. I had literally just began working with my coach, Clinton Hunter from Racepace Coaching, so my strength and endurance was not up to scratch (he quickly changed that!), and my health was suffering from poor eating habits (I switched over to a plant based diet and my health and performance increased dramatically).

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Paragon Fitness tribe!

With all this in mind, I ran the first half of this race rather cautiously, only kicking it up a few notches by the tenth km. Recently, I have been working closely with Rhain Hoskins from Paragon Fitness, who has been overseeing my conditioning and strength training, and it was really great to run this event with him (although he was way ahead of me for most of the route). He is really inspirational, and somewhat of a mentor, always talking about digging deep and giving 100% effort, and that was what I drew upon to help me through moments of fatigue (I am still relatively new to longer distances remember).

The course was pretty tricky to navigate, with all the mud and some technical sections and climbs at the start. Again, last time I ran this route, I did not have the greatest shoes or equipment with me, which really made it more difficult. This time round I returned armed with my Vivobarefoot Primus Trail shoes and UltrAspire hydration vest, and it made a huge difference.

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By the last km, I was feeling stronger than ever and was so excited to come home as the second lady. This was such a wonderful event and I really take my hat off to Lauren and Andrew Booth of KZNTR for putting together such well run events. I also need to give a special shout out to my mom who stood in the rain and cold for hours, supporting us. And to all my wonderful friends for always making this such a fun day out. Massive respect to the podium winning ladies, Puseletso Dladla and Kirsty Bomford who finished in first and third respectively. such phenomenal athletes!!!

Running for a good cause

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Cruising in my Vivo Primus 

The wet weather did not dampen spirits when over 350 runners braved the rain and took to the trails in support of the Ryan Walker Foundation on Sunday at Stainbank Nature Reserve. This special event was held in support of Ryan Walker, farmer and ex-sharks rugby player is currently living with Motor Neuron Disease (MND/ALS).  He was diagnosed in August 2013 at the age of 35. Together with his family, and through the Ryan Walker Foundation, he aims to create awareness about the disease and contribute where possible to the MND/ALS community.

This fundraising 5km and 10km trail run was something very close to the hearts of the zebracommunity and it was heartwarming to see how many runners and walkers showed up to support the event. The spirit of unity is what makes trail running so special and there was tons of camaraderie on show on the day.

Going into this run, it was not so much a race for, but an opportunity to spend the morning with my extended trail running family. I am training for my first Sky marathon, which looms weeks ahead, so my running coach, Clinton Hunter of RacePace Coaching, is focusing more on mileage with one or two tune up races in between. So I had already tackled 10kms before lining up at the start for the Run-For-Ryan.

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What made it so special is that I got to stand alongside my strength and conditioning coach, Rhain Hoskins from Paragon Fitness, at the start of the race. This fellow barefoot runner and vegan has been my role model and inspiration for ages. So to say I am excited to have joined the Paragon Family, receiving tailored training to meet my running needs, is an absolute understatement! Rhain ended up annihilating the trails, coming home in fourth by seconds!

I was ecstatic to be the first lady home but I need to commend the performance of Mary Murray and Phillipa Brebner, who came in second and third respectively- both ladies show that trail running in KZN is in very good hands!

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A massive thank you to Alison Chadwick and the guys from Riverside Trail for putting together such an incredible event. I see that they raised R20,343 for The Ryan Walker Foundation and R7,760 for Stainbank Nature Reserve and the Coedmore Castle. It is so inspiring to see so many kind hearts in Durbs!

Durban runners blaze through the trails

Images: Anthony Grote

Press release: Durban runner, Eric Ngubane, showed his fine form when he claimed top honours in the uMhlanga Trail Run on Sunday. Crossing the line after flying through the 18km trail, Ngubane stopped the clock in a time of 1:13.00, running at an average of 4minutes and 3 seconds.

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Ngubane features prominently on the local running circuit, having won various prestigious titles and also being drafted into the South African team at the World Trail Championships in previous years. Having just returned from winning the treacherous Lesotho Ultra Trail, he will now take a well deserved break before hitting the trails hard in 2017.

The leading lady, Amy Burger took line honours in the 18km race, finishing with 30 seconds to spare ahead of Lisa Collett, and Durban runner, Zoe Papadakis, consecutively.

“It was epic,” said Burger on the event. “The last section on the beach was not a glamorous ending, I wiped out, getting knocked over by the surf. But I love trail running, and the challenges that go with running off road.”

mePapadakis added that the spirit was what made the uMhlanga trail runs so special.

“Everyone is having a great time,” she said. “This is my second time taking on the 18km, I do prefer longer distances because it is where you get to know yourself, when you are pushing.”

By far the cutest rising trail running star, 10-year-old Liam Johnson from Hillcrest wowed the crowd with his impressive run in the shorter distance, the 5km run. He completed the run seconds behind first place Hendrik van Rensburg who is three times his age. Meanwhile, Cari-Ann Smith from Westville finished with a comfortable five minute gap ahead of second placed Jodi Davidson.

Conquering Table Mountain

Media Release: Billed as a cultural experience rather than a trail run, the KZNTR Summer Series Table Mountain event took place in crisp, clear conditions recently. The 7km, 12km and 20km routes all ascended the iconic, flat-topped mountain outside Pietermaritzburg, which is steeped in local folklore and afforded participants magnificent views of the uMngeni and uMsundusi valleys, Nagel Dam and Pietermaritzburg in the distance.

“This race is special, it’s the one I make sure I do every time,” said said PMB local, Colin Boyes, who ran the 12km course for the 9th time. “The climb early on is a challenge when the body hasn’t warmed up, but the views and rare opportunity to experience a place that is sacred to the local community make it so worthwhile.”

There was a strong showing from local runners in the 7km and 12km events, but regulars put their stamp on the 20km event. The men’s 20km was won by Nomore Mandivengerei (1:23:11), who is putting the final training in before Ultra Trail Cape Town in 3 weeks time, Muzi Madikwa in 2nd (1:26:13) and Innocent Nyawose completing the podium (1:36:34). Kim Westbrook has returned to the trails with a bang, winning the ladies 20km event in 1:51:47. Chasing hard were Jess Kew in 2nd (1:53:15) and Zoe Papadakis (1:53:25) in 3rd, pushing each other to the finish line.

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Women’s 18km winners 

Women dominate King of Phezulu

kim-westbrook-and-neville-muteyiwa-lead-the-18km-pack-out-into-the-phezulu-wildlife-estateMedia release: The 5th episode of King of Phezulu was hosted at Phezulu Safari Park on 12 November 2016 in what has come to be traditional overcast and cool weather. Heavy rain the night before held some runners at bay, but those who got out of bed were well rewarded with some great trail running and game sightings on new routes.

Distances on offer at this classic race are short, 18km, 10km and 5km, but somewhat extreme in their nature. Plummeting down into the Valley of 1000 Hills runners and walkers are challenged when climbing back to the Finish point at The Phezulu Safari Park deck.

“It’s very tough, but so worth it. I would not be doing it if it were easy, the feeling of accomplishment on the finish line is amazing. It’s an epic race that’s in my backyard” said Rowan Dancer who completed the long course alongside his wife Sarah Dancer.

Trail running as a sport is no stranger to seeing ladies dominate in terms of overall numbers and even on the podium. King of Phezulu was exceptional with ladies taking 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall in the 18km, with Neville Muteyiwa (1hr:42) the only man able to keep ahead of the trio, Kim Westbrook (1hr52), Zoe Papadakis (1hr52) and Robyn Mare (2hr01). 2nd and 3rd men across the finish line were Matthew Rencken and James Gallias, 6 minutes behind Mare.

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Ladies dominated in the 18km course, finishing in the top 4 overall. From left is (second) Zoe Papadakis, KZNTR’s Tracey Steart, (ist) Kim Westbrook and (3rd) Robyn Mare

Some talented runners also took on the two shorted courses. Notably Mitchell Harty won the 10km in an impressive time of 50 minutes, Lindi Meyer was the first lady home (1hr02). In the 5km the first two runners, Thulasi Nzama and Gruff Sambrook took tied first place in 30 minutes, with Suzanne Dos Santos Niz the first lady in 39 minutes. For full results and information about future events visit www.kzntrailrunning.co.za