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RUNNING ON

CLOUDS

with the International Skyrunning Federation

Trail runners do it for

CANCER

EVENT PROFILE

The Old Fishermans Trail Challenge


{Trail Running{ Tr {ale} Ruhn-ning (Adj.):

To gain endless inspiration through your individual connection with the earth.


ADVERTISE WITH GO TRAIL.

Contact the Editor >

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Editor’s note > Editor enjoying the trails of the

Wildcoast in the Eastern Cape at the recent Jikeleza Jog 3-day stage race.

As a dedicated trail running magazine, we are continuously looking at ways in which we can become more involved with the local South African trail running community. So when we were given the opportunity to become the media sponsors of the Jikileza Jog, a brand new multi-day event along the stunningly beautiful and rugged stretch of coastline in the Eastern Cape of South Africa known as the ‘Wildcoast’, we humbly accepted. As part of our coverage for the event, I was afforded the pleasure of being able to have competed in the race myself, something that was indeed a truly special occasion. What struck me first and foremost was that this is some of the most diverse and immensely enjoyable trail running terrain I have ever experienced, however there was something that stood out for me almost more then the actual experience of the run itself. As we ran each day, what became more apparent was the camaraderie that came with being part of that almost pioneering group of people who converged there to take part. This was not only a competition but also and exploration and it proved to me

Also in this issue > On the cover > Italian runner

Tomaso Mazzoli in action at the Trofeo Kima Ultr SkyMarathon® Image by Long Light Photography w w w. l o n g l i g h t. c o. u k

Editorial/Advertising Enquiries > james@gotrail.co.za / James Hallet

Design Enquiries >

design@gotrail.co.za / Simphiwe Mathunjwa

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18 ATHLETE PROFILE Meet Mimi Anderson, one of Britains top women’s ultra-trail runners, and learn what makes her tick.


that yet again, each and every one of us has our

I’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate

own goals and definitive outlooks presented to us

Juan Lombaard on winning the Hammer Nutrition

through our immense passion for the trail. As I ran

hamper valued at R 950.00 that was up for grabs

those 65km along secluded beaches, fishermen’s

in our Subscriber competition. We asked Juan

trails, rocky points and towering cliffs, I couldn’t

what trail running meant to him and this is what

help but appreciate that sense of being inspired

he had to say:

by others as they all viewed the trail in their own special and unique way. This month in Go Trail magazine, we explore a few very interesting stories from the world of trail running, each one possessing their own intricate message. In our first feature article, we run alongside two men as they prove to the world through trail running, that we can all appreciate the struggle of others. Meet Brad and Liam as they run a stretch of South African

“Trail running is about getting out there. It’s about experiencing the nature we have around us, but are always too busy to enjoy. It’s about recharging the batteries and getting rid of the stress that has built up during the week. There’s no first place and no last, just running and having a blast!”

coastline all to raise awareness about Cancer. We then journey to the island of Mauritius where one

I encourage you to remain inspired by this

mans quest to introduce trail running to the local’s

amazing sport, to continue seeking out those

has resulted in a thriving and highly competitive

new adventures and most importantly to explore

tourism boost for the sustainability of this beautiful

your limits. But then again…if you’re reading

Indian Ocean paradise. We also introduce you to

this then I guess you already do!!

our new addition to Go Trail magazine, our EVENT PROFILE feature where we check out one of South

Keep on running,

Africa’s well-known races on the Cape Peninsula

James

down in the Western Cape.

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GO EXPLORE

THROUGH THE LENS

Check out how trail running is growing on the island of Mauritius and how you can get there to experience it for yourself.

Exciting images from the 2011 Track OUTBACK Race in Australia, 590km through sacred Aboriginal land. August 2011

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Go Trail Exclusive


Running for Cancer

By: Liam Victor It was truly an incredible experience & would not change a thing. We both learnt a lot about ourselves and our limits, and remembered the worth cause that it was all for…“live without any limits if you can, learn to preserve, persevere and persist”. Images: Marcel van der Holst

www.holstmedia.com


I

n July 2010 when a good friend of mine Brad Tarberer approached me to join him on his run from Port Alfred to Nahoon, both in the Eastern Cape, a run that would take him along the coastline. It sounded awesome and like always my immediate response was “YES”! Brad’s Mom and Aunt were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Their positive attitude and fight not to give up was touching and this inspired him. He saw what they went through - their struggle and hardship through the chemo-therapy and that’s when he decided he wanted to feel part of their pain and suffering and at the same time try and raise funds for CANSA. I had previously run from Port St Johns to Nahoon Beach in the Transkei Extreme Coastal Run in 2006. We started cram-training in December amongst Christmas functions & family holiday fun. We trained pretty hard ... I had started training for the 70.3 ½ Iron Man, which meant I was doing a little extra cross training & Brad had a nice base to start. Most runners only run an average of 2 marathons a year. Just to elaborate - we ran a marathon followed by an ultra-marathon and then another marathon - and all this on sand! The time came around a lot quicker than anticipated…it seems time simply flies when you’re having fun! We left EL on the 3RD February at 16h00 in the direction on Port Alfred. The 4TH was the day we would start running as it just so happened to be WORLD CANSA DAY so it seemed a fitting beginning, the downside was that the tide was spring high. Our back up team consisted of Brad’s Mom & Dad, Shane & Zelda (also our biggest supporters) & a few mates that were also our camera crew. Shane may I add was more excited than a kid at the gates to Disney Land! We arrived in Port Alfred, unloaded & headed out to carbo-load at Guido’s Restaurant with a mammoth bowl of their finest pasta. I thought I was dreaming when my alarm went off at 4am the following morning. Excitedly I sprung out of bed, Brad awoke to the sound of the blender going full

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horns, filled with Future Life, nuts, raisins & honey. I was standing alongside it grinning from ear to ear. When we arrived at the start at East Pier, we were greeted by the most beautiful sunrise and after a quick check of the gear, we bid our crew farewell. I remember saying to Brad: “Enjoy and absorb every step of the way as you may not believe this but before you know it, it will all be over!” We were stoked & for the first 20km’s we accepted running up to our ankles in soft sand. We ran up & over sand dunes to avoid wetting our shoes as the tide was so high that it had dammed up on the beach above the shoreline. The wind had also picked up & was directly against us at +/-80 km’s p/h sandblasting us from the waist down. Our energy levels were sapped but our adrenaline kept us going. As the tide dropped we began running on wet hard sand but this became another hurdle & almost our downfall. Unavoidably the wet hard sand we were running along had a camber of +/- 25 degrees & ITB set in with 12 km’s to go to reach our destination. A beeping Garmin reminded us to have another sip on our hydration pack but this came of no consequence to us as the ITB got worse & worse. It felt like a knife being stabbed into my knees and twisted then ripped out with each step I took. Brad’s was just as bad & we

both tried stretching, running sideways, walking backwards and even dragging our legs, all this against an 80 km p/h East wind. We continued to “tortoise” along, peeping around every corner hoping to see Mpekweni. 10 km’s later we met up with Brads folks who had walked to meet us as they were concerned that something had happened. Brad’s Mom battled to hide her tears, when she saw the pain that we were in! 2 km’s later we hobbled onto the grass at Mpekweni Beach Resort. To cut a long story short we called EL’s top Physio Cassie van der Merwe & got some solid advice from him. 25 mins in an ice bath followed by a hot shower & then everything repeated again. The hotel staff were incredible and assisted us with everything. They had also given us and our entire crew’s a complimentary stay, including meals, as they agreed we were running for a great cause. After an incredible feast and a can of the best we lay our heads to rest. The following morning came so fast. When I awoke I lay in bed in deep thought but sat up & little reluctantly to take to my first step. Our family’s prayers had definitely not fallen on deaf ears. ITB normally lasts for a week at least & only heals with rest (which we had no time for). We were both feeling great, the blender was going flat out & another day in beautiful Africa awaited us.

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After a hearty breakfast, and a gear check once again, we were off. The wonderful thing about running along the Coast was the ever changing scenery and the untouched & immense beauty of our country and coastline. We counted Oyster catchers for the Aquarium’s statistics and saw some strange and amazing things! The first being a bushbuck ram bleeding slowly out of its mouth on the wet sand, below the high-tide mark. It was wounded the night before and we reported it to the first beach walkers near Kleinemond. We continued in great spirits & ran towards the Fish River Mouth. It was then that we came across a Spotted Grunter (local South African fish species) which was in perfect condition, no teeth marks on its body or showing any cause of death. As we got within 3 km’s of the river mouth we noticed more and more fish along the sand at the waters edge. The Seagulls were having a feast but we noticed that some of them were still alive and flapping. We placed a few of them back into the sea and they swam off, I would hope thankful for their rescue. As we approached the mouth of Fish River, it was clear that we could not cross and therefore had no choice to make tracks towards the N2 motorway by running along the river

“We both felt overwhelmed, breathless and speechless and momentarily forgot about all my pain!!! I was right - it was over and way to fast. The last few hundred meters we took slowly, I guess our way of soaking it all in, our crew and supporters welcoming us home”.

banks. We reached the N2 a few hundred meters up and climbed up the bridge and over the barbed-wire fence, our first taste of tarmac. A gentle stride along the bridge to the other side & we met our backup crew for breakfast. Our friends were a good sight to see and we had covered a fair distance thus far in a short time period, it had been a great morning. We enjoyed a quick nibble and chat before we were once again back on our feet. We ran along the opposite side of the river, completely different terrain, this time being slippery, rocky outcrops. The jolting brought back a past niggle and our ITB was also back. We reached a serious rock faced cliff almost impossible to climb however we had previously done a recce of the area from the air so we had an idea of a path somewhere nearby. After much searching, we managed to find it, helped one another up & walked along the sand stone path until we reached the top of an old sand dune which led us onto the other side of the beach. We were now headed towards the Hamburg River and our next river mouth crossing. This mouth we would be unable to swim as it is well known for massive sharks. With the N2 motorway being over 16km’s away, we required a ferry ride. A kilometre from the Hamburg River part of our crew met up with us and ran alongside and we reached the mouth in high spirits. When we arrived, we were absolutely elated to find a jet-ski awaiting our arrival to offer us the much needed transfer to the opposite bank. Unfortunately, our niggles were still very much apparent and we decided to opt for a Voltaren injection. Brad’s ever enthusiastic father, a qualified doctor, offered to

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take care of business. Hating needles I watched Brad get his first and weighed up my options. I succumbed to the pain and I can tell you that it became the first of 3 for the trip that lay ahead. We still had serious mileage to do as this day we had an ultra marathon to complete. We filled our hydration packs, crossed the river (thanks to who ever you were sir) & headed for Kaysers beach with only one obstacle left, the Chalumna River Mouth. We were still in a fair amount of pain, as the injection had not started working yet. A little way along we came across a vehicle on the beach, a rare sight in this day and age, one of the few licensed beach vehicles allowed along our coastline. He was a shark hunter, capturing them for research & aquariums, but what’s even more miraculous is that he had 2 pain killers, 1 for each of us! It was an interesting interlude to say the least. We reached the Chalumna River and, after an easy crossing, met up with Brad’s mates who ran the distance to Kaysers past the 3 sisters (well known rocks) with us. We were welcomed to the applause of many at Kayser’s Beach. Although this day was our longest I told Brad that we needed to run just a little further so we could start day three on a flat section of beach and not the rocky outcrop ahead of us. We did so and were then picked up in the car park and driven to Julia Oosthuizen’s home.

our feet were up with a can of the best in hand and a steak starter whilst some real home-made pasta was being made in front of us. “Maagies vol, oogies toe” (a good old South African saying meaning “stomachs full, eyes shut”) – after eating we were dead to the world. It was as though I had just shut my eyes for a mere second and the BLENDER was going again! Brad’s dad was using it as our alarm. We both regained consciousness and were super excited to gear up for the last leg! We strolled onto the beach with my little 2 year old son in tow & bid everyone farewell for the last time. I was familiar with this part of the route as I had trained along this stretch of coast. We were both moving super fast, our running motto for the 3 days was: Day one - Preserve, Day two - Persevere Day three – Persist Today our goal was in sight, all it would take would be a little more suffering and persistence as each and every step was a step nearer the finish line. Kidds beach came up fast and there was a huge crowd awaiting us. Brad’s dad was on the phone to a reporter on our arrival and the question being asked was “let me know where they are going to give up”. I told him to reiterate that those 2 words were not in our vocabulary!

That night we were treated like royalty, hot showers, massages,

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Another jab of the needle and we were once again on our way. +/- 20km’s and the end was truly in sight. We passed Igoda in a flash, then onto Winterstrand a short while later, filled our hydration packs & ran the long stretch to Cove rock. A short while later Leaches Bay was in view with the East London harbour wall another marvellous sight. We ran along the old road hugging the coast to the old harbour bridge. We back-tracked to the closest crossing point and were ferried across the harbour mouth in a Catamaran. After the brief harbour crossing, we arrived on solid ground at the East London yacht club situated on the West side of the Orient Beach pier. It was littered with supporters in pink T-shirts. It was not over yet, we were still headed for Nahoon Surf Lifesaving Club. All that stood between us was the Bat Cave Cliffs and as we creseted the top, I yelled to Brad to look back at the birds eye-view vista of where we had just come from.

We both felt overwhelmed, breathless and speechless and momentarily forgot about all my pain!!! I was right - it was over and way to fast. The last few hundred meters we took slowly, I guess our way of soaking it all in, our crew and supporters welcoming us home. It was truly an incredible experience & would not change a thing. We both learnt a lot about ourselves and our limits, and remembered the worth cause that it was all for…“live without any limits if you can, learn to preserve, persevere and persist”. 148.87 km’s with a running time (on the move) of 19 hours & 33 minutes we had arrived home. A incredible experience with a worthy cause, great friends & bonds made along the way. I sent Brad a message the following morning: “Meet for breakfast - NO BLENDER required (LOL)” and I think deep down we were both wishing we were still on the run. Some running is good, more is great!

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Advertorial

W

here the Andes meets the Amazon, The Jungle Ultra is located in the wild and untamed jungle of Peru. As far as the eye can see, mile upon mile of mountainous jungle vistas with vast networks of rivers raging through ancient beds, flowing down from high above like the blood supply of the Amazon rainforest itself. Welcome to the Jungle Ultra. With several world class desert and mountain ultra races already available Beyond The Ultimate made the decision to make The Jungle Ultra the first race to be released from their Ultimate Ultra race series. They wanted to bring the ultra-running world the first truly authentic jungle ultra race experience. To do this they had to embrace everything the jungle environment can throw at competitors as well as design industry leading safety and organisation. Runners will be self-sufficient for the entire race, carrying all their own food and provisions as well as 3L of water carrying capacity, replenished at each check point. The 6 stage race starts 9000ft high in the amazing cloud forest, then winds its way down mountain trails and into the jungle canopy. Nothing can prepare you for your first experience of the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle; there is nothing else like it on earth. Each night is spent within hand-picked camp locations, with competitors resting their weary limbs in their own hammocks, visiting August 2011

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Nothing can prepare you for your first experience of the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle. the medical tent for some attention and a chat with your new friends or maybe a dip in a cooling stream. Each of the stages in The Jungle Ultra offers a unique challenge and experience to overcome, this is one tough test. As the week moves on and each stage passes, anticipation and nerves build within the camp building up to what is billed as “The Long One” – Stage 5, 90km of ultradistance perfection. The last stage takes competitors to the jungle town of Pillcopata for the finish line and an amazing jungle Fiesta, celebrating the formation of Manu National Park. Villagers will come from miles around to welcome you over the line and to party the day away. It’s then time for the journey back to Cuzco for the after party celebrations and flights home. The Jungle Ultra is perfect for competitors of all abilities; whether you plan to tackle each stage with 8 minute miles or prefer to hike the whole course, there is a place for you. You will find our staff and medical team are second to none, offering care, motivation and help every step of the way. We want you to finish your race wanting to come back for more, with a love for the jungle and with new lifelong friends.


Race Details Location: Cuzco, Peru Terrain: Cloud Forest, Amazon Jungle, Mountain

Package The Beyond The Ultimate Package includes: • Under Amour® Training T

Roads, Rivers and Amazon Village Settlements

• Transfers from airport to base camp

Cost: £2000 (we also accept USD and Euro payments)

• Transfer of luggage and storage of luggage during the

Carbon Offset of flights: Yes

race

2012 Race Itinerary:

• Shared accommodation, tents or hotels (where applicable)

May 21st - Day 1 – Arrival and Transfer to Cloud Forest

• Water whilst on the challenge

Base Camp – 9000ft

• Food after you have crossed the finish line (meal

May 22nd – Day 2 – Day in Base Camp for Medical and

in Amazon and dinner at hotel in Cuzco as well as

Survival Briefings

breakfast before you depart)

Cloud 9: May 23rd – Day 3 - Race Stage 1 – Start

• Experienced race director

7.30am – 36km

• Dedicated support team

Amazonia: May 24th – Day 4 - Race Stage 2 – Start

• Medical staff from the UK

7.30am – 31km

• Helicopter evacuation arrangement (insurance required)

Logging: May 25th – Day 4 - Race Stage 3 – Start

• Local multi-lingual support staff

6.00am – 40km

• Complete professional DVD of entire race

The Lull: May 26th – Day 5 - Race Stage 4 – Start

• Complete digital photographs of entire race

6.00am – 20km The Long One: May 27th – Day 6 - Race Stage 5 –

You need to arrange:

Start 5.00am – 90km

• Vaccinations –further information is in your race

Rest Day: May 28th – Day 7 – Rest Day

manual

Manu: May 29th – Day 8 – Race Stage 6 – Start 5.30am

• Travel/medical insurance – essential

– 18km

• Visas/Local Taxes (where applicable) - for the latest

May 30th – Day 9 – Depart for Cuzco airport or on to

Visa information please click here

pre-arranged itinerary

• Personal expenses (drinks, souvenirs etc) • Any personal equipment

We can also arrange for competitors and families to

• Race food and energy supplements

travel on from Cuzco, extend their stay or visit any

• Food before race

of the many areas of interest such as Machu Picchu,

• Extra nights’ accommodation

please e-mail us for more information on these options.

• Transfer from hotel to airport in Cuzco • Flights

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Q+A

with Wes

Crutcher

Race Director

Go Trail (GT): Before we get onto Beyond The Ultimate, tell provide world leading safety and organisation. us a little bit more about yourself and how you got into trail running. GT: Surely this isn’t a one-man show! Who are your current team members and tell us a little bit more about their role Wes Crutcher (WC): I started running around 4 years ago, within the company? not long after my father died of a sudden heart attack at 46. Running fitted in with my busy work life and offered me the WC: It certainly isn’t! I have my long time business partner improved fitness I was after. Within a few years I became Paul Clarke making all my ideas and dreams become a bored with running the streets. Mile after mile of concrete reality. We have one of the best medical teams you will find just wasn’t doing it for me. Trail running for me is the perfect anywhere in the world, headed up by Brett Rocos. We have sport. Close to nature, simple, convenient and most of all an amazing team coming with us to cover our events, Martin exhilarating. Paldan for amazing stills, and Cosmo Cardozo on video. We also have the girls in the office, without whom we would GT: Beyond The Ultimate is a new venture for you. Tell us a struggle every day, Julie Sanders and Holly Emptage. little bit more of how you came up with the idea and what it was that inspired you to create what you have now. GT: Ok, let’s get more specific and talk about Peru and the 2012 Jungle Ultra. What were some of the major challenges WC: I completed an ultra-marathon at the tail end of 2010. you and your team faced in identifying the area in Peru where And whilst the experience was totally amazing it was in spite you will be staging your event? of the organisation instead of because of it. I was amazed at the lack of care and attention to detail this event had. I WC: Firstly we had to settle on Peru! We wanted The Jungle started to dream about what an ultra-race should be, how Ultra to be the best in every way, so we needed amazing it should feel, how it should challenge, but most of all how scenery, tough trails, lots of rivers, inclines and declines, competitors should be looked after. It wasn’t long before and most of all we needed primary rainforest, not secondary. I made my dreams a reality and came up with Beyond the After looking at Brazil, Africa and Asia we chose Peru as it Ultimate as an overall concept and then The Jungle Ultra, the offered everything we needed for the race and more. Once first race in 4 race series called the Ultimate Ultras. the decision was made we had to fly the team out to meet with Peruvian government officials, local mayors and dignitaries, GT: What are some of the main goals and objectives of ensuring we had their full support in what we were trying to Beyond The Ultimate, both as a company and the products do. We were amazed by their reaction, they were so blown you have? away with our idea they convinced us to finish the race to coincide with the annual fiesta, celebrating the formation of WC: Our goal is to provide our competitors tough races in Manu National Park! It was then down to our team to cut and some of the most amazing places around the world. These lay out 230km of trails through the rain forest and cloud forest races have been designed to not only be tough but to also ready for the race in 2012 August 2011

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GT: What would you say are some of the integral runner aspects to this event, and why have you made these factors so important? WC: Being a trail runner myself I was really keen on designing an ultra-race with as much opportunity to run as possible. Indeed the first stage, is a magical 40km journey from 9000ft up in the cloud forest down mountain trails and in to the Amazon. So even though this race is in the jungle we have maintained true trail running integrity, it may be the purest trail running experience you will ever complete! GT: If there is one thing that you want the runners to go away with once they’ve completed the Jungle Ultra, what would that be? WC: A desire to come back for more. GT: We understand that you have 3 other events in the planning. What is it that you would like to achieve from your product and how will they benefit the ultra-trail community?

Contact

WC: We wanted to provide a set of 4 amazing races, each in a different climate and terrain. By completing an ultra-race through ice, jungle, desert and mountains you can truly feel you have conquered everything our planet can throw at you. After all, why run one terrain when you can challenge yourself over 4?

R a c e D i r e c t o r – Wes Crutcher t: + 44 (0) 20 3239 9340 e: team@beyondtheultimate.co e: medical@beyondtheultimate.co Skype: beyondtheultimate Follow Us

GT: And lastly, where will we find Wes Crutcher come race day in Peru?

Facebook: Beyond The-Ultimate Tw i t t e r : U l t i m a t e U p d a t e s Yo u Tu b e : U l t i m a t e U l t r a Tu b e

WC: Right there at the start of course!

Postal address click

HERE for more

4 R e x e l C o u r t , F r a n k s Wa y, Poole, Dorset, BH12 3LN August 2011

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Athlete Profile

H

aving been born in Singapore to British parents, her father a British Army Colonel, Mimi’s earlier childhood was spent growing up in foreign lands including Germany and Normay. Returning to Britain when she was about nine years old, Edinburgh was the next port of call and through her school days, Mimi enjoyed various team sports including hockey, netball and rounders. She even boasts a House captaincy in her final year, winning the house cup. It was only in 1999 that Mimi however that developed her passion for running and would you believe it, because someone had told her that the best way to get thinner legs was to run. Having taught herself to run on a treadmill, Mimi then began running and competing in 10k and half marathon events. Some of earlier running experiences include joining a group of running friends from the gym to tackle the 10-mile long Cukoo Trail in East Sussex. “I had a momentary panic as this was firstly 7 miles more than I had done before and secondly

it had never occurred to me that people actually ran outside!” Mimi comments. “I took up the challenge and just loved it. What a marvellous feeling it was, it was like being given a pair of wings and being able to fly, the best feeling in the world.” Two years later, and with no real experience, her first ultra marathon beckoned, the Marathon Des Sables in Morocco (she explains what happened in that race in her Q+A that follows). “The rest they say is history” she jokes, and today Mimi is regarded as one of the top women’s ultra runners in Britain and indeed throughout the world with some impressive races under her belt including her overall wins at both the 6633 Extreme Ultra Marathon and Namib Desert Challenge. With her outlandishly bold idea’s for running, she continues to achieve great things and is an inspiration to everyone who knows her. In this exclusive interview, learn more about how Mimi approaches her running and how her goals drive her to succeed in everything she does.


Q+A

With Mimi Anderson

Mimi feeling the cold on day 3 off the 6633 Extreme Ultra Marathon

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Go Trail (GT): In a conversation we had with you recently you said that the longest distance you’d ever run was a half marathon before entering your first ultra, the Marathon Des Sables. Thinking back to that exact occasion, what do you think it was that drew you to ultra-trail running, and how did you get through that first one? Mimi Anderson (MA): I remember the occasion as if it was yesterday! I was doing weights at the gym when my running partner came up to me, handed me a magazine and said “I’ve found our next race” I smiled, took the magazine looked at what she had circled laughed and threw it onto the ground thinking WHAT planet did she live on! However, once home I researched the race and couldn’t think of a reason why I shouldn’t give it a go, simple as that!! During the race I was extremely ill, had to have 5 bags of IV on day 3 the day before the longest day, on the longest day I was forced to stop during the night and sleep (which wasn’t the plan) as everything I ate or drank came out both ends! However, I completed the race (racing under the team name of Tuff Muthers) and once back at the hotel at a further 5 bags of IV and strong antibiotics! When I got home I remember sitting with my feet up thinking “if I can do that feeling

that ill, what can I achieve feeling 100 percent?” the rest as they say is history!) GT: We assume that one of the major factors that assists and drives an ultradistance runner is their mental attitude. How would you describe the importance of your own mental preparation, and what would be some of the mental challenges you face in this process? MA: Mental preparation is extremely important, just as important as the training. As part of my mental preparation for any event I do a lot of research into the race, ask questions, look at photos, videos etc this gives me a picture in my mind of what to expect. I go through different situations that could happen during a race and how I’m going to cope with them. In a long race I never think of the total distance, if I had done this for my World Record (1,352 km) I wouldn’t have even put my trainers on! I take one day at a time and even break the day up into sections so it becomes one section at a time, makes it easier to cope with. Mentally the toughest challenge so far was my World Record, I had to run on average 110 km per day. On the penultimate day I woke up at 4.30am to start running as usual at 5am – my body was extremely swollen, everything ached, I was SO tired, my feet were HUGE and I

didn’t want to move. My first 4 hour stint of the morning was unbelievably painful and slow, I couldn’t get into a run and mentally I felt as if I was flat lining but I knew I had to keep going, I had to get this record. My mental preparation really helped me here as I had gone through exactly this situation in my mind before hand and by the time I started my 2nd 4 hour stint I was back to running and positive again. GT: When arriving at the start of an ultratrail race, let’s take the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon as an example, what are some of the first things that go through your mind and what is your ritual before day one? MA: I always worry, well worry is an understatement I go into more of a panic! Have I done enough training, am I fast enough, am I good enough, will I like my food choice, have I forgotten something, all the usual things that go through runners minds. I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve my goal of the race but I never tell anyone else what my goals are, it feels unlucky to do so! Outwardly I appear quite laid back and relaxed but inside I’m a bundle of nervous! The night before a race I never sleep well as I run the race in my mind over and over again waking up exhausted because of the miles my legs have run during the night!! continued overleaf…

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Q

A +

son

der n A i

im

M With

GT: Moving away from the mental aspect, how do you as a woman, and as a mother, cope with the physical demands of training and preparation for any of the events you participate in? MA: Juggling family life and training can get very complicated at times and sometimes training very much has to take a back seat as the family have to come first. My long runs and double sessions tend to be done during the week keeping the shortish runs for the weekend, this way there is less disruption to everyone else in the household!

MA: When I’m training for a multi-day even I do about 3 sessions a week with my pack, increasing the weight slowly so I get my body used to carrying the extra weight, I build the weight up to more than I will be carrying during the race which then makes my race pack seem so light when I start racing!! I also drag a tyre around the forest, this is a great for a strength and core work out and has worked well for me (I do get some funny looks though!) Training for the longer non-stop races is the hardest, anything over 160km, this means lots of back to back longish sessions which takes up a lot of time plus then trying to do everything that needs to be done at home! I am very lucky where I live as there are lots of different terrains to train on – even sand. When I trained for my Arctic race I went to the Alps for a long weekend, my husband skied and I went snowshoeing for the day, perfect.

Unfortunately there are some weeks when I don’t manage to get all my sessions in as something will happen and training has to go out the window, I used to get very stressed and worried when this happened thinking I must stick to my plan, now I’m far more relaxed and laid back!

GT: In the last issue of Go Trail, we discussed the importance of recovery. How do you structure your recovery and what are some of the more important aspects that you tend to adopt during a recovery period? MA: After a race I always have a sports massage booked, this is usually a few days after the event as I have to fly home. Depending on the length of the race I will take a certain time off running, for example a 160km race I won’t run for about a week – more if necessary, I have learnt to listen to my body! During my no running period I will have approx 3 days when I do not exercise at all, then return to the gym where I cross train. During this time I will also make sure I’m properly rehydrated and try and eat more as I have usually lost weight which isn’t good when I go back to training. When I’m ready to run again I will have a week of easy running before going back into my programme in preparation for the next race.

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Pi c t u re : Ow e n Mi d d l e t o n


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GT: If you can remember one major low point you experienced in any race around the world, what would that be and what have you learnt from it? MA: My major low point came during the Marathon des Sable. On the longest day after having had 5 bags of IV the night before I was really struggling coming up to the CP where we had planned to have something hot to eat. I could see the lights of the CP in the distance but they never seemed to get closer. I had dropped behind my two team mates at this stage and I remember having tears rolling down my face and really believing that I couldn’t possibly go on and complete the race – my energy levels were rock bottom and I just couldn’t focus on anything other than the negative. Maxine, one of my team mates came up to me, checked I was OK then said “just remember all the people at home who think you’re going to fail” and walked off. At that stage it would have been so easy to have given up – I had all the excuses, IV drips, illness dehydration, but something inside me clicked, I dug deeper than I have ever done in my life – all because I didn’t want to fail! GT: In most of the longer extreme races you’ve competed in, we’re sure there have been times where it’s been simply you, your pack and the trail ahead. How do you cope with the loneliness or do you think it’s the point of being on your own that drives you onward? MA: I don’t mind the loneliness, which is amazing considering I’m someone who never stops talking!!! There is something quite magical about being out in the middle of nowhere on your own,

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no distractions, no noise and the beauty of your surroundings I have actually never felt lonely (in the Arctic I spent 90% of the race on my own and loved it) It’s a great time for sorting things out in your head, I have written many a book during my “alone time” - they always sound fantastic whilst I’m out on the trail! I also do a lot of singing! I actually prefer to run by myself, I find I’m more focused and driven on what I’m trying to achieve. GT: If someone had to find your race pack at the start of a major event and take a peek inside, what would they find, apart from the pink running jacket of course? MA: My race does as it happens have a lot of pink inside! Sadly I haven’t yet managed to find a good PINK running backpack! I have managed to get my pack weight down to 6.5kg (before water) so don’t have a lot of room for extras! My luxury item is always my PINK camera, I won’t go anywhere without it. Inside my very basic medical kit you will find my glorious PINK penknife (which all the men love to borrow!) an extra pair of PINK socks. The heaviest item in my pack is my food, I take the absolute minimum 2,000 which I seem to be able to survive on, my special treat for the end of each day is a bag of Twigglets which I don’t think you get over in South Africa – delicious! Sachets of coffee essential, great for bartering with! I take the lightest thermarest sleeping mat (which is virtually PINK) and PHD sleeping bag – again the lightest and a long sleeved top in case it gets cold. I also have my PINK ipod but that doesn’t count as it’s on my arm!!! I do sometimes sneak in a PINK bikini top which is very useful while in camp and of course my sparkly slipslops! (quite girly!)


GT: Ok, so let’s talk about the Double Badwater Marathon attempt you’ll be doing later this year. Anyone who knows the Badwater Marathon knows the extreme “melt-the-soles-of-yourshoes” heat of the Badwater Basin and the 135 miles distance of the “normal” race, but you’ll be climbing Mt Whitney after you cross the halfway mark (the finish line for most) and then running all the way back to the start. Is there a past event or scenario you’ve had in your running career that you can use to help you prepare for this, or will this be a one of a kind endeavour? MA: I suppose the closest scenario was when I did Back to Back Comrades in 2009 when I ran to the start of the race the afternoon before then ran back with all the other runners. The difference with Badwater is I will be doing the race first which has to be completed in under 48 hours in temperatures of 130 degrees – similar to running in an oven! I will run through three mountain ranges. I want to do my best in the actual race so there will be no hanging about once that gun goes off! The hardest part of the race will be leaving enough energy to be able to climb the mountain which is 4,499m high and this part is also very dependent on the weather which as you know in the mountains can change at any time. At the moment there is still snow at the top so it will be very interesting going from extreme heat to cold! Not only do I have do my best during the actual race, but I have also discovered that there are two American ladies going for the Badwater ladies record, which is 129 plus hours, so I will have to race the return journey as well – my aim for the return journey is approx 128 hours or less!

The distance of 470km I know I can do, the difficulty with this race is the heat factor which is why each runner has to have a crew to look after them. Because I’m doing the Double crossing I have 6 crew and two cars to look after me, they will meet me every 1.6km to give me more to drink and spray me down to keep my body from overheating, I run they do the rest! I have a schedule which I will try to keep to but as everyone knows in races anything can happen and we will have to deal with the situations and re-evaluate the schedule – everything is adaptable! My aim is to beat the current female record and become the first British female to complete the Double. GT: Finally and we ask everyone this question, if you could do one beneficial thing through your running what would that be and why? MA: I suffered for over 15 years with anorexia and during that time I lost my self-confidence and self worth. My running has given me all that back and a lot more besides, I have pushed the boundaries beyond what other people consider normal and have been inspired by other people who have made me dig deeper, strive to be better and believe in myself. If through my running I can inspire and help just one person to believe in themselves and show them that anything is possible, if you just give it a go, then that would be FANTASTIC. Never say you can’t do something always ask yourself the question “why can’t I do that”?

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Go Trail Exclusive


By: Lauri Van Horten VP and co-founder International Skyrunning Federation

I N T E R N A T I O N A L SKYRUNNING FEDERATION


Are you tough enough?

Competitors at start of the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado, USA August 2011

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When GoTrail editor James Hallett asked us to write an article for their South African readers we were more than excited to share the story of Skyrunning and starting looking at the map to check where the altitude lies. Just 1,000m is all it takes – there must be a gold mine of locations out there! “Skyrunning” has been around for some time. Hundreds, even thousands of years ago mountains were negotiated out of necessity: war, religious persecution, hunting, smuggling, or just out of plain old curiosity. The concept of running up and down mountains for fun is much newer however – take the Ben Nevis Race in Scotland which goes back to 1903 for example, or the Pikes Peak Marathon, Colorado, which in 1954 began as a bet between smokers. The idea of creating a sports discipline however, was the brainchild of Italian mountaineer Marino Giacometti who, with a handful of fellow climbers, pioneered races on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa in the Alps in the early ‘90’s. Just months later, with the support of an important sportswear brand, skyrunning took off across the world’s mountain ranges stretching from the Himalayas to the Rockies, from Mount Kenya to the Mexican volcanoes. After all, the term skyrunning, as the name suggests, is where earth and sky meet. The best mountain runners across the world were hand-picked to form an international team. Soon, famous mountain records were pulverized and new ones set. Ascents became hours instead of days and the maximum human vertical speed estimated by physiologists to be 1,800 metres per hour – was surpassed. (Urban Zemmer, 1,000m in 33’16”, 2010). A new athlete, the skyrunner was born.

The need for a federation Participants and events grew and, in 1995 the Federation for Sport at Altitude was founded to address the need for rules to govern the sport and generally manage this fast-growing discipline which today counts some 200 races worldwide with around 30,000 participants from 54 countries. In Italy alone, birthplace of the sport, approximately 80 skyrunning associations exist and there are more than 100 affiliated races on the national calendar. Right from day one, the FSA involved physiologists, psychologists and biomechanics. Unique studies were carried out on 165 athletes over many years, both in the field (at high altitude) and in the laboratory in collaboration with eminent universities in various countries. Skyrunning has been the subject of numerous medical conventions and scientific publications. Not only did the research give credibility to a sport that many defined as “crazy”, but it was key to understanding human performance at August 2011

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altitude and the development of the sport. These studies led to the development of a number of other sports projects, namely Mountain Fitness® and Vertical Running. With a view to eventual IOC recognition, the FSA was transformed in 2008 into the International Skyrunning Federation whose statutes are based on the Olympic Charter. Today, there are 20 member countries. The mission of the ISF is the “direction, regulation, promotion, development and furtherance of skyrunning and similar multisport activities on a world-wide basis” and, why not, to pave the way

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for the first “Outdoor Olympics”! After all, many outdoor sports share the same mission and the same arena – the mountains.

So why a federation you ask? Skyrunning, surely, is a symbol of freedom, running up there in the clouds? Anyone can lace up their trainers and head for the hills, but what if you want to test yourself against others, to compete, to know the exact distance of a course and how long it takes others to run it? Add maybe some


aid stations along the way, a cheering crowd along the course, a friendly blog or website with all the information before and professional results after. Sharing photos, videos. Welcome to the world of organised sport, sponsors et al. This is where a federation makes sense. A race certified by the federation is a guarantee of quality, of given standards, rules designed to safeguard the runners, prize money and much more. It means that if something goes badly wrong, the organiser can look to the federation for backing and assistance. In many races across the world entrants sign away

their rights and the organizers’ responsibilities with a simple waiver. In Europe now, a skyrunning card means free insurance for example. Runners entering ISF races however, don’t have to have a membership card. Membership of any recognized mountain or trail running association is required for the more extreme races, like the SkyMarathon® (marathons at 4,000m altitude or more). Choosing a recognized ISF race means peace of mind, that the course has been certified, that the rules are enforced, that a proper briefing will take place and that race officials or ISF referees and judges will be there to ensure fair play – all round.

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Promotion is another key asset. Not only are the races promoted internationally through the website, press and TV, but also the winners often become stars. Top ranked athletes enjoy free accommodation and sometimes travel subsidies, by right. For some, it’s a chance to travel to exotic countries and, unquestionably, breathtaking locations! To travel to those spectacular locations a national skyrunning association can choose a team, even just two runners, to represent their country in international events (and usually receive subsidies). A national skyrunning circuit is another option. Getting together three or four races of varying lengths and climbs is not so difficult and support and experience is always at hand. Skyrunning is becoming increasingly popular. Thirty thousand runners from 54 countries enjoyed the thrill of competing in an official race last year. Sharing the same course with great champions like Kilian Jornet represent a moment of glory for everyone.

Are you tough enough? Like other endurance sports, training is fundamental. Top athletes can run up to 30,000m vertical metres a month – that’s four times the height of Everest! Of course this isn’t for everyone so don’t worry, skyrunning races are split into different parameters. August 2011

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Competitor at Kima negotiates a rocky decent August 2011

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Why not start with a Vertical Kilometer® - 1,000m uphill over a maximum 5km distance - within the reach of most runners with a bit of hill climbing in their legs. Other categories include the SkyRace® between 20 to 30 km long and with more than 1,300m vertical climb. Many trail races with some altitude fit into this category, the most popular. Probably the SkyMarathon® is the most inspiring – a traditional 26 miler but with a 4,000m vertical twist! The Ultra SkyMarathon® is a recent introduction mixing distance and altitude. All skyrunning races are concluded within a matter of hours – time limits take care of that. Survival is not our business. Ready to give a Sky a try? If you live in a city how do you get your training in? Just look for the vertical. The stairs of city landmarks offer a perfect training ground. You can even take the lift back down. Skyscraper racing is another ISF project but that’s another story!

High altitude, high performance What about mountain sickness you ask? Good question. Running up and down a mountain with your own legs is natural and will not induce mountain sickness. Acclimatization is only necessary if you plan to stay at altitude for some days. In Tibet, where the world’s highest marathon was run on a 5,200m loop on level ground, several weeks of acclimatization were necessary. (Incidentally all the runners finished in under four hours). The FSA researchers concluded that there are no contra-indications in running at altitude although performance levels are reduced at higher elevations. Getting back down to earth, skyrunning is not just about pushing your own limits but the limits of human performance at altitude, like tens of thousands of skyrunners have found out for themselves. So why not join them and aim sky high? August 2011

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Kilian Jornet tops out on one of the peaks at Kima August 2011

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Through the lens

By: J茅r么me Lollier >

Conquering the Australian

Outback


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The African Experience THE

UN

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n one of o ur issues e arlier this y introduced ear, we Alex Flynn Meters, one a n d 1 0 mans missio Million n to raise aw for Parkins areness on’s Disea se world-w 26th of Se ide. On the ptember, in association Trail maga with Go zine, Alex will be em “The Africa b a rking on nE trip along th xperience”, a one we ek road e coastline of South Afr ica.

His objectiv e: To run at some of the most iconic Sou th African landmarks along the way, all in a n effort to help his ca use. August 2011

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This epic journey wil l begin in Durban wit the city of h a run alo n g the famo beachfron us Durban t promena de. We th South to th en head e coastal v illage of Pe run at the 2 n n ington to 20ha Umd oni Park, o Africa’s o ne of South ldest priv ate cons Then it’s ervancies. off to the eastern C he’ll visit th a pe where e unmista kable rock of Hole-I formation n-The-Wa ll and th of the W e people ildcoast. F rom there continuing we’ll be onward to Nature Re th e T s it s ik serve as A lex is set to amma in the 201 compete 1 Otter Afr ican Trail gruelling e Run. This vent will b e his main to contrib challenge ute to his 10 Million campaign Meters goal of w h ich you c more abou an read t in our Ap ril issue. And finall y it’s off to Cape T culminate own to the trip w it h a run a beach at long the Tableview , the awe Table Mou -inspiring ntain as h is backdro p.


The infamous Otter Trail

R

x e l A h un wit * Monday 26th of September * Beachfront promenade, Durban at 3:30pm

* Sunday 2nd of October *

Tableview beach, Cape Town at 12:00pm For more details please contact James via email: james@gotrail.co.za or keep your eyes on Go Trail NEWS For more information on Alex Flynn and 10 Million Meters head to http://www.alexflynn.co.uk

Is proudly sponsored by:

magnetic south productions ™

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Go explore

Trail running the

islands By: Yan de Maoussem


W

hen you first thinks of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, one can usually imagine the long white beaches, the crystal clear sea, the 5-star hotels dotted along the expansive coastline, tall sugar cane fields waving in the sea breeze and the French flair of the people who live there. But there’s more to Mauritius than just meets the eye. In recent years, the people of Mauritius have proudly been promoting their wildlife and protected national parks to the thousands of visitors who flock there (no pun intended) each year. Some of these areas under conservation include Black River Gorge in the West, Ferney’s Valley in the East and Aigrette Island, all falling under the management of Mauritian Wild Life. One man has made it his life’s work to assist Mauritius in promoting these pristine reserves through the sport of trail running. His name is Yan de Maoussem and we caught up with him recently to hear more about how he continues to get himself involved in promoting this growing sport on the island.

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“Trail Running in Mauritius breaks down all the race barriers that could exist on the Island�

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Go Trail (GT): Tell us a little more about your younger days growing up and how you became involved in running.

With Yan de Maroussem

Yan de Maroussem (YM): I am native of Mauritius, my ancestors came to the island some 200 years ago during the French occupation. As a young boy I grew up on the island and when I had finished school I moved to South Africa where I spent 5 amazing years studying in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. My girlfriend at the time had a very sport-orientated family, Mike the father having run more then 10 Comrades Marathons. It wasn’t long before I had quit smoking, bought myself a pair of running shoes and “joined” the family trend. Since then (1994) running has simply been apart of my life. GT: What were some of the experiences you had in those early days and what was it that got into trail running in the first place. YM: In 1995 I had the chance to run the London Marathon, which was a great experience. I then toured Europe where I did some great treks in the Alps and I think it was there that I discovered the beauty of the outdoors. I spent 4 years in France from 1999 to 2003 in Savoie by a lake, at the foot of some beautiful mountains and scenery. Some would say it was cliché but I guess you could say that I discovered my love for trail running there. When I came back to live on the island in 2003 I knew that I was going to have something to do with the outdoors! GT: When you returned to Mauritius, what did you do to follow that passion? YM: Not long after my return I decided to start my new job! I began setting up Yanature Adventure to show something new to Mauritius. I became a mountain guide and started my new challenge with so much passion that the Tour Operators, Hotels Managers and Owners of private properties were keen to work with me and helped me to promote my new business. Yanature is my identity. Over the years Yanature has become a reference in Hiking, Trekking and Trail Running activities on the island and indeed in other parts of the Indian Ocean.

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GT: Ok, so you began with mountain guiding. Was this a natural progression into trail running, or did trail running come as a separate part of the dream? YM: In 2004 I organised the first trail running event on the island and was very impressed to see more than 80 people turning up! It was so friendly and fun, with some of the participants discovering nature for the first time, others chatting along the way, some even raced! The vibe was so good that I realised that this event would become the birth of trail running on the island. GT: After the success of that first event, what came next and where is trail running in Mauritius today? YM: Yanature became very active in organising trail running events on the island and two years ago we decided to set up a NGO called Rando Trail & Nature (RTN) to which I was elected as the President. RTN promotes trail running on the Island and the region. We have at this date 140 members who are very active. RTN has set up the Trail Running League by getting together the different organisers of trail running events over the island. We have a total of 12 races during the year with some short, long and ultra long distances and races spread over the calendar year. One of the more popular of the events is the Royal Raid with a total of 600 runners, almost 60% coming from overseas, mostly from Reunion Island. GT: We believe that you’re quite involved in the Dodo Trail, which was held on the 30th of August 2011

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July. Can you tell us a little bit more about the concept of this event and what it does for Mauritius? YM: Before I begin with that, I’d like to tell you a little bit more about a new concept that I’ve come up with recently. It’s called the Indian Ocean Trail Tour (IOTT). The objective of this is to promote trail running in the region whereby we select one race from each of the three sister islands, Reunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues. It’s a way of introducing and promoting the three trail communities. Each organiser promotes the other 2 events as well, and the winners from each event get invited to compete in the other two. The Dodo Trail event is one of these races. The Dodo Trail is run through forested areas that are home to many of Mauritius’s engendered birds. Every runner can choose “to run for” an endangered Mauritian bird and thus help the local NGO Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) in its continuous work to save these birds from extinction. Each “bird adopter” raises money to help support the MWF in its objectives of protecting their habitats. GT: If you had to sum up the spirit of trail running in Mauritius in one sentence, what would that sentence be? YM: Trail Running in Mauritius breaks down all the race barriers that could exist on the Island, with as many athletes as many different races, cultures, religions, ages, etc.... everyone training and running ‘hands in hands’ all with the same passion of the outdoor endurance sports!


For more information on the Dodo Trail: http://www.dodo-trail.com It seems that trail running continues to see a tremendous growth, not only in Mauritius but indeed the Indian Ocean islands in general. If you’d like more information on trail running in Mauritius or would like to contact Yan for your next trip to the island, please check out Yanature: http://www.yanature.com Some interesting reference websites// Mauritian Wildlife Foundation: http://www.mauritian-wildlife.org Royal Raid: http://www.royalraid.com Rando Trail and Nature: http://www.randotrail.mu

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Event profile


By: Cas Van Aardenne


Described by many as “one of the most beautiful races in the country”, the Old Fisherman’s Trail Challenge recently took place on some of the most spectacular trails the mountainous Cape Peninsular has to offer. This 22km trail challenge, started in 2004 by Richard Sutton and Ken Finlay, follows what they say is the old path that fishermen used to walk between Hout Bay - the once small fishing village nestled between the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean - and the Kalk Bay harbour in years gone by. This they did whenever the weather in Hout Bay was too poor for fishing. Now an annual event, it alternates its race direction between Hout Bay and Fishoek, taking runners across the Silvermine National Reserve and over the Kalk Bay and Constantiaberg Mountains, thus providing a stern test no matter which direction is tackled. Billed as a Trail Challenge, it is slightly different to many other trail events on offer in the Cape. The reason being that not only do all competitors need to be self-sufficient, but the entire route is unmarked and competitors need to navigate themselves from start to finish using a route booklet provided at the pre-race briefing. Many competitors will confess a pre-race scouting is essential to ensure the correct track can be found in inclement weather, which was somewhat the case in 2011. Along the route runners are also required to “clip in” using their “Race Passport “ at the numerous Passport Controls (PC) scattered along the route, collecting a hefty 10 minute penalty if an incomplete passport is handed in at the finish. This along with the extensive list of mandatory kit that runner’s are required to carry with them all adds August 2011

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to the “challenge” undertaken by competitors. However, the comprehensive pre-race briefing and route booklet help to ensure competitors can stay on the right track and arrive safely off the mountain. The 2011 Route (“The Down Run”) This year the race started in Hout Bay and is referred to by many as the ”down run”. Thich is somewhat debatable considering the skyward bound profile within the first 6km, and the fact that the race starts and ends at sea level, however, it earned its name because the majority of the 22kms is in fact downhill. The start this year was slightly changed and took place further down the Hout Bay beach to avoid the environmental hazard that is the Disa River - the beleaguered river that flows into the bay. This meant the challenge, very slightly shortened, started immediately with a soft and cambered 1km beach run into a strong headwind.


From there participants joined Chapman’s Peak Drive for a brief jaunt before turning off to head up the Blackburn Ravine trail, and this is where the race gets interesting. Over 600 metres of vertical ascent must be tackled in the first 6km to summit Blackburn Ravine and to arrive at the first PC of the day. This is a back-breaking and relentless climb, but for those with the time or inclination for an appreciation stop, the view back over the bay, with the ever-vigilant Sentinel, is always truly special.

paying attention they are easy to miss. After a short stretch on undulating jeep track, another steep ascent was tackled before participants arrived at the top of Kalkbaaiberg - the brim of the renowned “Amphitheatre” and the final summit of the day. Still engulfed in mist, this was where many a runner went astray - even those who have done the race before managed to deviate from the route and voices could be heard echoing from all directions.

Once at the top, the mist not only blotted out the distracting beauty of the landscape, but also added an extra dimension to the challenge in terms of navigation. Runners had to negotiate a rocky path and jeep track down to Silvermine Dam, where an electronic check point awaited. The route then wound its way down the fast and technical Silvermine river path and board walks to the next PC before heading across Ou Kaapse Weg and on to the second half of the course. Runners had to be alert at all times for the PCs, which were simply little card punches dangling from a tree and marked by bunting. If you’re not

From there the trail plunged steeply down through ”Echo valley” on one of the sandiest, rockiest, and most slippery trails around, testing one’s co-ordination and ankle agility to the max. After descending approx. 400 vertical metres, the trail ended abruptly at Boyes Drive. All that remained was a 2km dash along the tar road to Fish Hoek Beach and a final 1km of energy-sapping beach running before crossing the finish line at the Fish Hoek Surf Club.

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with Claire Ashworth,

Race Director

Cas Van Aardenne (CVA): How did you become the organiser of the event, how did you hear of the route etc? Claire Ashworth (CA): Richard Sutton – my brother started it a couple of years after he started the Hout Bay Trail Challenge, he then left to go to the UK and asked if I would take over the running of this event and the HBTC – at that stage they were a lot smaller than they are currently and I didn’t know what exactly I was getting myself into. 8 years later this event has grown hugely, even though the number of runners in the event hasn’t changed, just due to the popularity of the event and the interest in it.

CVA: What do you think makes the event so popular and creates a spirit of the event? CA: The route – it is very scenic and I feel it is also the adventure/challenge of the event. It is a selfsufficient event which makes it different from other trail races. The runners - the majority are all out there to have a good day out on the mountain and really do add to the spirit of the event. We have great sponsors like New Balance who supply us with great technical shirts and hats for the runners, which people love. CVA Why do you not mark the route? CA: The idea behind the race is for it to be a challenge, hence we do not mark the route and self navigation is required, with the help of a map that is supplied to each participant with a very detailed route description. We try and make it a bit more exciting by not letting people have the route or know where all the PC points are. In years to come we will be looking at making changes to the route in order to try and keep it exciting and more of a challenge. August 2011 | 62

CVA: Describe some of the challenges the runners will face CA: Reading! Navigating their way across the mountain when they have not read their route map nor attended the race briefing. Many people get lost, but that too is part of the challenge, and many people see it as that. In the past I used to get a lot of complaints about why the route is not marked but as the years have gone by people have come to see the race as a challenge and not expect it to be marked. Then there’s the weather - if it is overcast or pouring with rain it can be very disorientating, yet here are some that love it when it is overcast. Another challenge some find is having to carry all the equipment I make mandatory. The equipment is there for the runners own safety – not mine and it adds to the adventure. But carrying one’s own first aid kit really proved worthwhile in this year’s event as we had a guy fall on the Silvermine River walk and split his knee open. His bandage and others’ were put to good use until the medic arrived on the scene and we got him off the mountain.

And the lastly, actually getting to the race. This is always an issue for me and the runners as we are limited to 250 runners by SANPARKS/TMNP. I try and make the entry system as fair as possible but no matter what system one uses I have come to realize there are always going to be unhappy people. The reasons behind the entry system I use is this: I invite the past winners back to keep the competition alive. And with that I have some wildcard entries which I use to invite top athletes (Like Allen Benn) to enter that would otherwise end up at the bottom of the waiting list and take 2 years to get a spot. The waiting list is to allow novices to


I’ve always loved Fisherman’s. Its a special race for me as I’ve won it 6 times now and really love the route. It never feels the same as it’s run in 2 directions and I also never run on the route in the year so I never get bored of it. …. Michelle Lombardi ..Winner 2011

enter. Past participants are always great to have back as they are the ones that spread the word to others and have made the event what it is todaythanks to them, but I can’t only offer places to all the past participants otherwise we would get very few new faces coming through, so I give the past participants preferential entry, by allowing them to enter first. CVA: What efforts has the race organisation done over the years to preserve the trail and parts of the mountain used for the race? Does the race get involved with any charities? CA: Sports4u has always collected donations from runners for TMNP path Maintenance and I then put the money into specific TMNP projects. Over the years we have assisted in improving signage in the Silvermine area, path maintenance of Blackburn Ravine when we first started, Llandudno Ravine and Suther Peak hand holds. This year’s money will be used for Suther Peak path maintenance, which is a big project. The path from Suther Peak down to the dunes above Sandy Bay was never really a path but with the increase in trail running this has now become a path and we are in the process of formalising and building a proper path.

Hout Bay Trail Challenge is supporting 2 educational based charities – Journey Trails and BrightStart and I hope to do the same with OFTC next year. CVA: Does the event get support from National Parks and do you work with them at all? CA: TMNP supports my events fully. Every year I submit an environmental management plan to TMNP for scrutiny, without that they will not issue me a permit, which I pay for. I am in constant communication with the parks and make sure we get their permission for everything, even if it is to have a coffee vendor at the half way point. Then there is the city of CT that one has to work with as well. All events are required to fill in an events form. This form covers things like traffic issues, health and safety, and environmental issues (branding). In the past we never had traffic officers at the Ou Kaapse Weg crossing, but the City of CT insisted that they were present, this is for the protection of both runners and vehicles using the road. CVA: Why is there a cap on entries? Has any environmental impact assessment been done? August 2011

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CA: The cap on numbers is both for safety and for protection of the mountain. I have not done any environmental study – due to lack of funding but would like to do one as soon as I get the funds, but I have seen what trail runners have done to Suther Peak path and can say that we do unfortunately have an impact to a certain degree. Trail running was started to get off the road and away from the crowds that do road running, so that is another reason why we keep the numbers down. We mustn’t forget that generally you don’t get 250 hikers hiking across the mountain. Hikers tend to hike in small groups, hence they are not seen as a problem. Cyclists, horse riders, and dog walkers are restricted to where they can go due to the impact they have not only on the mountain but also on other users of the mountain. Trail runners need to be aware of this and realise that if we continue running in very large social groups we will also have restrictions put on us. As much as we all feel the mountain is free, it is not. Someone built the paths we run on, someone maintains the paths and that someone is SANParks. We need to respect this, which most trail runners don’t. CVA: Where do you see the event and trail running in 10 years time CA: If you asked me 10 years ago if I would be running this kind of event I would have said no. I hope to see OFTC still on the trail calendar and being enjoyed as much then as it is now. I would like to bring back some of the adventure with the event by changing the route every year slightly to keep things exciting. With some of the best names in trail running on the beach start line, and with clouds and mist looming on the mountains ahead, this year’s event proved once again to have all the ingredients of what trail running encompasses, and reinforced why The Old Fisherman’s Trail Challenge is on many a trail running enthusiast’s bucket list. August 2011

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In the men’s race the three leaders of Ryan Sandes, Nicholas Rapanga (both Salomon Racing Athletes) and Allan Benn took an unbelievable 40mins to reach the top of Blackburn Ravine. After this point the lead changed hands numerous times as the trail wound its way to the second half of the course, but it was Sandes who made the most use of his technical downhill skills on the final descent and emerged first out of the mist onto Boyes Drive. Sandes then held on to record his first Fisherman’s Trail Challenge title in a new record time of 1hr 39min, albeit on a slightly shorter course. Benn and Rapanga (2nd and 3rd respectively) both seemed to have come unstuck in the misty and slippery course conditions. While in the women’s race Katya Saggot lead from the gun but with mist clouding most of the second part of the course she missed a crucial path leading up to the final summit just below Kalkbaaiberg. This allowed the ever present Michelle Lombardi (Salomon Racing) to romp home to an impressive 6th Fisherman’s title in 1hr58mins. Saggot fortunately realised her mistake and recovered to finish in second ahead of Robyn Ferrar. Overall, of the 221 competitors that started the event, 216 successfully crossed the finish line. By the look on the faces of the final few finishers, as well as the variety of stories being told about the wet and misty conditions, this year’s race delivered a huge sense of accomplishment to all those that completed this challenge. And we now all eagerly await next year’s “Up run”…that is if we can obtain an entry when they open around February next year!!!


Being only 22km, I have always considered the Fisherman’s Trail Challenge to be too short for me, but it must be one of the most beautiful trail races in the country. Thanks to everyone for your support and well done to all the other runners out there today - you guys rocked!� Ryan Sandes 2011 .. Winner 2011

Ryan Sandes emerging from the mist on his way to victory

August 2011

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Go Trail Magazine August 2011  

In the August 2011 issue of Go Trail magazine, we take you to the coastline of the Eastern Cape of South Africa to check out how two trail...

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