Trail runners get welcome surprise

2017-12-05 06:00
PHOTO: suppliedOrganisers of the Stihl Sharks Trail Adventure have opted to reverse the 9km and 18km trail running routes to make them more runner-friendly.

PHOTO: suppliedOrganisers of the Stihl Sharks Trail Adventure have opted to reverse the 9km and 18km trail running routes to make them more runner-friendly.

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THE loyal supporters of the popular Stihl Sharks Trail Adventure trail runs through the Summerveld Estate at Shongweni are in for a pleasant surprise when the 2017 edition of the family orientated fun day takes place on Sunday December 3.

Offering a 9km and a 18km choice, course designers have followed the same changes made to the MTB races by reversing the trail running routes to make them more athlete friendly.

That eliminates the steeper climb back to the finish and instead returns the runners to the Summerveld Estate on a more gradual ascent.

“The 9km trail shadows the 10km MTB route and is aimed at getting new people involved in trail running so we try not to do too much technical running,” says route director Andrew van Rensberg.

“Much of that route is just below the Summerveld racecourse so it is close to the start-finish venue, so if anyone does have a problem and they want to bail they are not too far away.”

The 18km trail run has become very popular with regular trail runners as it takes them down into the Shongweni valley and to some spectacular view points.

Van Rensberg confirmed that the 18km route has also been reversed this year.

“This route goes down to the waterfall and then back up again, with some really nice single track sections that the 20km MTB guys will go on as well.

“With the trail runs starting from 6.30am the 9km and 18km runners will be off the course by the time the mountain bikers get onto the routes, much of which is shared between the two disciplines.

“We have more flexibility with the trail runs and we actually take them over the waterfall, whereas the mountain bikers cross about 10 metres upstream,” says Van Rensberg.

“That will be the highlight of the 18km trail run for sure, being able to stop and peer over the edge of the waterfall.

“By reversing the 18km route you get a totally different experience. You get much better views of Shongweni Dam on the way down. After the waterfall there is about eight kilometres of gradual climbing along the single track back to the finish.”

Entry for the various events is now open via the Roag website www.roag.co.za

The 2017 Stihl Sharks Trail Adventure takes place at Summerveld Estate in Shongweni on Sunday December 3.

Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za and more information can be found at www.sharkstrailadventure.co.za

- Supplied

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