“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 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.
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.
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.