Why Do I Run


“Running is Freedom and Freedom is Life.”- David van der Veen

When people ask me why do I run the response that usually follows, “I run because of the freedom that running gives you. There is nothing that compares with the high you get after compleating a gruelling and exhilarating  challenge accompanied with the satisfaction of being Free.”

I started Trail running two years ago with the Spur Trail Series in KwaZulu-Natal, from then the running bug took hold fast, as many runners know. It has now morphed into a passion and a dream that will consist of pain, suffering and joy for the love of this amazing and challenging sport known as Trail running.

My First Trail marathon was Drakensberg Northern Trail 40km last year.

It is an amazing race. The conditions were wet, cold and thick with mist. DNT was one of the best introductions I could have had to the Ultrarunning community, just because of the difficulty and the beauty of running in those conditions and the feeling of pure joy and happiness after crossing that finish line.

My first trail marathon Drakensberg Northern Trail

My first Ultra Trail was Umgeni River Run 50km last year.

Umgeni River Run was part of the Karkloof 100 miler training camp, the training camp consisted of running 30km on Saturday on some of the most beautiful flowing trails in Karkloof area. The second day on Sunday was on the challenging hills and bushveld of the pristine Umgeni River run.  It was an 80km weekend of tough but exhilarating running with some of the best people.

Umgani River Run 50km running into the finish

I have compleated five trail marathons, two ultras in the last two years and many 20km races. It has been an amazing journey with bold, sweat and tears.

In my journey so far as an Ultra Trail runner I have compleated the following races, they have brought the best out of me and have seen me at my worst. I have made lifelong friends and have met amazing and talented people along the way.


Drakensberg Northern Trail 40km, Mnweni Marathon 38km, 1000 Hills Challange 38km, Umgeni River Run 50km and Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge 50km.


Drakensberg Northern Trail 40km and Mnweni Marathon 38km

I have run in nearly every condition thinkable and worst was in one spectacularly dangerous self-navigated trail marathon called Mnweni. Mnweni is one of those bucket list races and where once the entries open it is sold out. On my first Mnweni Marathon there was snow predicted, but what we got was beyond expectation. The route is mainly technical single track with the start and finish on a dirt road. The single track is rocky and full of shale, in places on the route, there are a few clambers in sections. The weather at the start of the race was a light drizzle and as we made our way into the mountains it started to hail. Then the hail then became sleet and the sleet became snow as we hit the snow line. While ascending Mnweni pass we were hit with howling winds that morphed themselves into a full out blizzard. Once finally at the top of the escarpment the weather then turned for the worst into an absolute whiteout, you could not see a thing. after struggling for 2km in knee deep snow and in whiteout conditions we came upon Rockeries pass.  Then and there the sun came out in all its glory and with it the heat.  This truly was an eye-opener for me to have had every season in the space of 7hrs and 38km with the elevation gain of about 2300m in one race.

At the bottom of Mnweni pass

My Goals for the sport are as follows,

Become a top 100 miler ultra trail runner, run for my country, participate in the trail world champs, Run Barkley marathon, run in most and or all of the top Ultra trails in the world and finally spread the love of the sport where ever I go. With the help from my coach (Neville Beeton) and hard work I will one day achieve these goals and many more.

Trip Up to the Rhino

“Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.”
― Edward Whymper


The Rhino


On a misty winter day, four intrepid mountaineers decided to brave flooded rivers, weather and the mountains of the South African Drakensberg Mountains.

As we left the Garden Castle car park, it was overcast and cool – perfect weather for hiking. The only challenge at this time of the year is the afternoon  Drakensberg (Berg) thunderstorms that one does not play around with.

The route that we took was up Sleeping Beauty Valley, into Cods  Eye Valley and up to Wilson’s Pass to the top of the Escarpment to spend the night in a tent. The next day we headed from the overnight camp below Mashai Ridge to Mashai Pass and back down the mountain via Rhino Peak.


We headed up Cods Eye Valley, the once well-worn path in a state of disrepair, covered in vegetation from the lack of use. Consequently, we had two options open to us: push through dense vegetation in the valley that would need the use of bush knives to help us cut a path through the thick vegetation, or head up the side of the mountain and find our way through the less dense bush. The latter was chosen and we made our way it to the head of the valley, where we were met by a cascade of waterfalls. Consequently, our only way out of the valley was to use a precarious, near-vertical, muddy deer-path out of the valley to get to the path into the bottom of Wilsons pass.

cascades at the head of Cods eye Valley


Wilson’s Pass is considered to be one of the difficult passes in the Berg due to the fact that it has no path and markings and there are some steep scrambles on the way up. It does, however, have a wide gully filled with alpine lawn.

The walk into the pass was rather difficult because there was no path to be seen and the terrain was rocky and full of grass tufts, making for strenuous and tiring walking.

As we headed up into the pass, the cloud cover started dropping making the pass even more dangerous as we did not have any GPS tracks of the route up the pass. The route consisted of navigating the first quarter in the river gully, then migrating to the steep grassy slopes in and out of the gully, when we hit opticals like an 8m waterfalls that stood in our way. Eventually, after much turmoil, we made it to the top to top of the infamous Wilson’s pass at 4 pm. Dusk was upon us as we headed down the valley in Lesotho to make camp for the night.

Wilson’s pass overlooking the lower berg


As morning broke so we broke camp with a long day ahead of us, through the Mashai valley in Lesotho to the Rhino. The morning started with a hot cup of instant coffee to get us up and going. while breaking camp a local herdsboy decided to observe us packing our tents, (the herdsboys head out to the fringes of Lesotho for there rights of passage). Once we broke camp it was a pleasant trek to the top of Mashai pass, through rocky marshes, wild horses and sheep. After 7km the top of  Mashai pass was upon us, from the top of the pass it is a 2,31km trek to the top of Rhino Peak along a well-worn path, it is used by hikers and trail runners alike. Once at the summit of Rhino, peaches and custard were cracked out.

Taken from the top of the Rhino


Mashai pass is the most trafficked Pass (between SA and Lesotho) in the berg but it is also one of the most misnamed passes in the berg,  Often called Rhino Pass after the Peak that sits next to it (Rhino Peak). There is a pass to the North with a bad reputation next to Rhino Peak that is the actual Rhino pass. (Rhino Pass is one of those passes with a long walk-in and walk-out, It is a rocky pass but not as shaly as Mashai Pass.)

The way down Mashai pass I noticed that the pass was worse for wear and sections that were once considered hairy are just downright scary. One of the sections of the pass before you cross the river it is a near vertical descent on lots of grass and gravel. Once you cross the river you have to descend on gravel that loves to slide, one step forward you slide five steps. Mashai Pass is an amazing pass, once you get past all the hairy parts you are in the bright green wild grass with wildflowers in the shadows of the mountains.

Looking at Mashai Pass


Rest of the trip consisted of trekking out of the bottom of Mashai Pass, including falling on my head like an idiot, passing some foreign, many river crossings, passing through Pillar cave and finally a hot shower at the end.