TRAIL Mail #41: Friday 23 October 2020
Will we go back to print?
What you need to know about plastics.
Running PE's Mill Park Conservancy.
Win! Saucony Peregrine 10 Mutant.
In this issue
- From the Team. Will we print again? Plastic food. Be like Michelle.
- Photo of the week. Over 10 hours spent running six peaks.
- News. New Backyard Ultra record. Sweat4Soap success. November fundraisers.
- Funny. There's always one who won't stop talking... Is it you?
Trail Poll. A hard speed session or hill repeats? Choose your poison.
- Calendar. Shorter options at SkyRun, Otter, and Stagger.
- Gear. Groundlive GL100 bed sheet: benefit from earthing while you sleep.
- Competition. Two pairs of Saucony Peregrine 10 Mutant trail shoes up for grabs.
- TRAIL digital. Read issue 37 on multiple devices. Easy signup via our site.
Hey hey, it's Friday!
You know, I've seen a lot of trail running images during the nine years of TRAIL's existence. You've sent breath-taking images from every continent, and every ecosystem.
But I've never seen images of you coughing your way through the toxic haze of smouldering landfills.
I've never seen you splashing happily through rivers smothered and poisoned by oil spills.
You've never 'Grammed yourself smiling on a beach littered with dead birds and dolphins.
Not one photo with you standing in the ashes of an ancient forest clear-felled and then burned to grow soybeans for cows.
Why is that?
Trail running at its very core is about a connection with natural beauty, about harmony, about appreciation for wildness. It's why I've connected with it, and most likely why you have too.
The above tragedies go on daily, and as humans proliferate towards eight billion, there's no reason to think these blows against Nature will do anything but increase. That's unless the people who love the wildness of Earth take a stand with real action – and do things that will limit our contribution to the damage.
Business should lead. Unfortunately, not enough are doing so yet. It's mostly consumers and pressure groups who are saying we need to change things. As a businessperson, I want to lead. I want to innovate. I want to make the world a better place. Now, tomorrow, and in the next decade.
It's the leading reason I've converted TRAIL into a digital-only magazine. The reality is that print is a massively resource-hungry luxury. It's not just the paper and the ecosystems turned into sterile green deserts to grow the pulp trees. It's the vast quantities of water and chemicals used to produce paper, and the pollution from that production that is released into the air and rivers. It's the (mostly) toxic inks, it's the massive presses that require vast amounts of electricity, and it's the short lifespan of magazines. It's about waste. Yes, there's paper recycling, but that requires more energy, more chemicals, more water, and creates more toxins.
Digital isn't perfect, but if you have the device to read this magazine already, the additional reading has a negligible effect.
To be clear, our change is permanent: we will not go back to print. If the support for digital doesn't match what we had for print, we will reinvent our digital model, or move on.
Currently we are not at that support point yet, and have a way to go.
We have some amazing advertisers who we cherish and support to the hilt. They believe in us, and in the results we bring them.
But this is a love triangle. We need you to close it. Ultimately, you the reader decides our fate.
So please support our efforts to do more with less, and be part of our vision to make the world richer in knowledge, not poorer in nature.
Be like reader Michelle Walton, who told me this week: “I always looked forward to purchasing TRAIL but was sceptical about enjoying the digital version. I finally took the plunge with issue 37 and have enjoyed reading TRAIL in its digital form. Loads of great content and advice! Well done for a great transition to digital.”
If you've bought TRAIL 37, you may have read Sunnye Collins' Trail of Plastic article. Our trail running gear is largely reliant on this synthetic wonderstuff which also has a dark side: it breaks down into microparticles and then into nanoparticles (1–100 nanometres in diameter). And we don't know yet what happens after it gets into our bodies.
It's not a question of if we're ingesting it, but rather how much, and whether that should be a concern.
This related article may be the most important one you read today. It reveals the research by a plant physiologist and distinguished professor of agronomy at Kansas State University who specialises in toxin uptake into plants. It was news to me that more micro and nanoplastic is being deposited into our soils than our seas. That's just the preamble to the bad news. The bad news from the research results is that nanoplastic from agricultural practics is believed to increase the uptake of various toxins – including ubiquitous cadmium – as well as nanoplastic being present in plant tissues itself. We're all part of a giant global experiment.
I'm not being a prophet of doom. My job as a journalist is simply to let you know the facts as they stand, and let you decide what to do with that knowledge. I think a human world more aware of our impact will be a happier world.
So, enough of the heavy stuff. Get issue 37 and check out Mill Park Conservancy in the Eastern Cape if you want to explore that beautiful part of the world.
We at TRAIL hope you enjoy the news, photos, and laughs below.
Deon Braun, TRAIL founder
PROMOTED EVENTS PART 1:
Otter African Trail Run (Challenge). Wed 28 – Thu 29 October (EC). 5km/42km. Storms River. Run the reverse route west to east from Nature’s Valley to Stormsriver Mouth with 2,600m of ascent, 11 hour cut-off. otter.run
Otter African Trail Run (Race). Fri 30 & Sat 31 October (EC)
5km/42km. Storms River. Run the Otter Trail, but in reverse from west to east (Nature’s Valley to Stormsriver Mouth) with 2,600m of ascent. Cut-off extended by an hour to nine hours. otter.run
Dassie and RockRat Trail Runs. Sat 31 October (EC)
6km, 10km. Storms River. Over rocks, roots, pebbles, through riverbeds and up steep climbs. Start 8:30am. R200/R240. otter.run
Drinkwaterskloof Trail Run. Sat 14 – Sun 15 November (WC)
18.5km/17.5km. Mont Blois Wine Estate, Robertson. Spectacular singletrack, mountain streams and views, on exclusive private property. Start 7am. R2,900. ride2nowhere.co.za
Thanks for sharing your photos on Monday's Trail Trophy Facebook thread
In our favourite this week, Nelius Swart
takes a breather to enjoy the view during a six-peak recce for his 13 Peaks Challenge
attempt in November. He, Danie Rossouw, and Allan Lamont ran 57km with 3,200m of vertical gain in 10h51min.His photo may appear in a future TRAIL issue – and so could yours.
Share your #TrailTrophies
at any time. Use that hashtag and #trailmagpix
when you tag us. Or email us
. Be sure to tell us a bit about your run for the caption. (Please note: event photographer images aren't used.)Prefer telling stories? Write
instead. Your opinions, life-changing experiences, happy and sad memories, and reflections on our sport are waiting to be shared with the community. If your letter is published, you'll receive a pair of run-specific Feetures socks
With your help, Mina Guli
accumulated 80,448 bars of soap and 450 handwashing stations in her Sweat4Soap
campaign. Every kilometre run in the name of the campaign, resulted in a bar of soap being donated, and every 100km got a handwashing station.
Thank you to all the South Africans who made a difference. Your runs added to the 68,831km from 50 countries
contributing to hygiene in several countries.Backyard Ultra endurance feats
There's a new Backyard Ultra
world record. Belgian Karel Sabbe
ran 75 loops (each loop being 6,706m) to accumulate 505km and become the world champion. He beat out 20 countries, each with 15 runners competing. His closest rival was fellow Belgian Merijn Geerts
, who failed to complete his 75th lap within an hour.
In the USA, Courtney Dauwalter
took top spot. She ran the 6,706m loop every hour for 67 hours in a row, totalling 449km. She was just ahead of fellow American Harvey Lewis
, who couldn't finish his 67th lap due to intense hallucinations
. (If you'd like to know more about the sleepmonsters that haunt ultrarunners, read Armand du Plessis
' interview in TRAIL 37
Some good news is that runners in SA will be able to take part next year
Feeding children breakfast through 130km
On Saturday 7 November
, Jo Keppler
will embark on a 130km run
to raise funds and awareness for the work being done by the Southern Lodestar Foundation
Why 130km? Because the foundation spends R1.30 to feed a child in their Breakfast Programme
. Support her by donating
any amount to Southern Lodestar Foundation and nominate one to three people to do the same, or just by spreading awareness for Jo's #PacingTheWayToChange
run.Eden to Addo to keep the corridor open
Our TRAIL 37
cover photographer Damien Schumann
is an ultra adventurer. His next challenge is to traverse the Eden to Addo biodiversity corridor with Clyde Berning
, raising funds to keep it open permanently.
"Movement is essential to biodiversity, and in the Cape we happen to live in the smallest, most diverse, but also most endangered natural kingdom in the world," says Damien
. "And that’s why it is essential for us to protect it."Support
their journey, which starts 11 November
PROMOTED EVENTS PART 2:K-Way SkyRun.
Sat 14 November (EC)
38km, 65km, 100km. Wartrail Country Club, Lady Grey. For experienced mountain runners. Self-navigated event in Witteberg range. Start 4am. skyrun.co.zaKnysnaX Trail Series.
Fri 8 – Sun 10 January (WC)
9km/7km, 15km/11km, 26km/21km. Pezula Resort. Spectacular trails at inaugural event. knysnaxse.co.za