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TRAIL Mail #43: Friday 06 November 2020

Pacing lesson from Otter 2020.
Support Eden to Addo corridor.
Win Saucony Peregrine 10 shoes.

     In this issue

  1. From the Team. Pacing lesson from Otter African Trail Run.
  2. Photo of the week. Turbo Mamba selfie at The iKhulu Trail Run.
  3. News. Golden Trail Champs. Eden to Addo. Jo Keppler's 130km.
  4. Funny. Spooky runs last weekend...
  5. Trail Poll.  Have you been in TRAIL? Should you be?

  6. Calendar. Get your 2021 event dates to us ASAP.
  7. Gear. Enduren Endurance Energy Gel.
  8. Competition. Saucony Peregrine 10 Mutant trail shoes up for grabs.
  9. TRAIL digital. Read issue 37 on multiple devices. Easy signup.

Otter: a confirmed vaccine for 2020 blah

It's happened, hasn't it? You've just realised that 2020 is entering its final phase, and the curtain awaits. Do you also view each year as a metaphor for your entire life? If so, this year, life handed you a few lemons, and you (hopefully) learned how to make lemonade. This time last week I was at Stormsriver Rest Camp in the remarkable Garden Route National Park north/east of Plettenberg Bay, and reflecting on completing my ninth or tenth Otter African Trail Run.

This run is where I was introduced to trail running in 2009, and where I learned the difference between cross-country running on groomed trails and trying to run on an unforgiving trail like the world-famous Otter hiking trail.

That year, I thought I was an above-average runner until the small group I was with reached the giant rock section around 4km in. After that, it was downhill. On the uphills, my legs would not do what my brain was requesting. The best way to describe it is it's like trying to tread water in a barrel of syrup. I finished in the seven to eight hour category, with a new perspective on the term trail running. One of the other finishers was Comrades gold medallist Nick Bester, who, like me was also hobbling on a badly swollen ankle, told me that Otter was far tougher than his beloved ultramarathon. That was some consolation.

This year I had the benefit of Otter experience to know the pitfalls. I started with the last runner, and slowly worked my way past many runners who all looked as shattered as I did at my first Otter.

The biggest mistake most trail runners make at Otter (and nearly all other races) is over-optimism (OO). You need a positive mindset, but OO is not the same thing. OO is sure to hurt you. OO means you start too fast, thinking you'll maintain that pace. Just because other runners can do it – because they do it for a living and have had hundreds of opportunities to fine-tune their own pacing –  doesn't mean you can.

My advice to all Otter runners is start slow, and then tap back another 10-20% for good measure. You'll need that once the same effort in the final third of the run feels like 40% more than it does now.
If pacing is your downfall, don't let it in future. Nearly 40 years of running and competing in other endurance sports has taught me that the slow, steady approach is the smart one, in training and racing.

That's why I highly recommend you read coach Neville Beeton's article The Beauty of Slow in issue 37. It's not about race pacing, but it highlights how important slow runs are in addition to quality sessions. Pace is everything. Work on finding yours everytime you run.

Get issue 37 today and turn your pacing around.


Happy trails!

Deon Braun, TRAIL founder


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.

Lake Gariep Run. Sat 1 May (EC)
40km, 20km. Driekwartblou Guest House, Gariep Dam. A trail run in the Karoo next to the biggest dam in South Africa. Start 7am. R550/R650.

Thanks for sharing your photos on Monday's Trail Trophy Facebook thread.

In our favourite this week, Nicky Booyens snaps a selfie while splashing through the Indian Ocean at The iKhulu Trail Run. Apparently the Joburg-based ultrarunner can't keep away from this three-day, 100km stage run on KZN's North Coast, running the inaugural event in 2019 and returning this year.

Her photo may appear in a future TRAIL issue – and so could yours.

Share your #TrailTrophies on Facebook and Twitter at any time. Use that hashtag and #trailmagpix on Instagram and Twitter 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 a letter 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.

photo Meg Mackenzie at the Azores Trail Run stage 2, by Philipp Reiter.

Meg Mac and Robbie Rorich excel in Golden Trail Final

We're exceedingly proud of Megan Mackenzie and Robert Rorich for their performance at the Golden Trail Championship at Azores Trail Run!

They battled through technical muddy trails (which Meg compared with Jurassic Park) for five days. Meg finished in 14th place after five days and 113km. Rob placed 36th man with an impressive average pace of 5:50min/km while ascending 9,744m of vert.
Massive respect to both!

Meg captioned the photo above: "Embracing the mud, gale force winds and pitch dark tunnels (for real!)"

Unofficial Hadrian's Wall FKT for Naomi

TRAIL 24 cover athlete Naomi Brand is spending a year working as a veterinarian in the UK. Last Friday, she spontaneously decided to run the 135km Hadrian's Wall path from the east to the west coast of the UK. Her fiancé, photographer Xavier Briel, supported her on his bike. 

They faced rain, freezing winds, knee-deep shoe-swallowing mud, hundreds of gates and a brief 3am river swim: "It was the most fun I've had in a long time," said Naomi. "Slightly undertrained, underplanned, underestimated missions are truly the best. Also, a sneaky women's FKT of the route by a mere 20 minutes never hurts!"

The record is unofficial, as both her sports watches died before the end of the 18h42min run. Check out her Instagram story highlights reel to get a feel for the feat.

The pair are no stranger to long, difficult adventures, having circumnavigated Lake Malawi at the end of 2018. 
Eden to Addo to keep the corridor open

On 11 November, 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.

The Eden to Addo vision is to link three mega-reserves, the Garden Route National Park, the Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site, and the Addo Elephant National Park by means of natural corridors to protect and restore the integrity of bio-diversity and eco-system functioning.

“This corridor area happens to be the most biodiverse on earth, from the tiny half worm, half insect peripatus that has remained unchanged for 500 million years to the succulent haworthia to the black rhino - this is biodiversity at its best - and that is why it is essential for us to protect it."

Donate to their cause, helping them to raise the final R200,000 to buy 10,000 hectares of land, linking the three conservation areas.

Feeding children breakfast through 130km

Tomorrow 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.


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.

KnysnaX Trail Series. Fri 8 – Sun 10 January (WC)
9km/7km, 15km/11km, 26km/21km. Pezula Resort. Spectacular trails at inaugural event.

Did you have a spooky run last weekend? Tell us in the comments of the Facebook post!

Display by Angeline Saferight Lloyd, USA.

Have you ever been in TRAIL magazine?

Those who have been, used a heart reaction. Those who haven't reacted with a sad face.

If you or someone you know should be in TRAIL, tell us who and why in the comments.

One way to get into the coming issue is to get a Bestest Award. You can suggest a category that you could win here.

Trail running events find their stride

Our calendar for the end of 2020 is full of races for you to choose from. Find them on our month ahead web calendar, or in the TRAIL 37 calendar, covering events from October into the new year.

If you organise a trail event, please send us the details. If your event was postponed and you have set a new date, please send that info to us. Listing in our month ahead web calendar and the magazine's long-term calendar is FREE.

COMPETITION. The new Saucony Peregrine 10 Mutant is a limited edition colourway of the American brand's most popular trail shoe. Recommended retail is R2,400.

Two readers will win a pair each. To enter, visit the competition page and remember to keep an eye out on social media to gain extra points.

TRAIL 37 is our second all-digital issue, now available direct from our website for the lowest price anywhere. There's no need to download an app, so it's quick and simple. We hope you enjoy its 240 pages of trail running inspiration, with a complete redesign to improve readability on both small and large screens.

You can also buy TRAIL 37 through Amazon, App Store, Google Play, Zinio, and Magzter.

If you buy through the App Store or Google Play, note that subscriptions are forward-based. This means that if you sign up today, your first issue will be the next edition, not the current one. It's not what we'd like, but that is how their system works.

Solution: Please purchase issue 37 first as a standalone issue, and subscribe to get issues 38 and later separately.

Miss previous issues of TRAIL? You can read all our back issues for the low price of R29.99 each, on our website, the Zinio website or through the TRAIL app for Android or Apple.


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