FOR lovers of the outdoors; nature enthusiasts, hikers and trail runners alike; this one’s for you.On January 27 the Gilboa Challenge, organised by Howick-based KZN Trail Running, takes place at Bushwillow Park in the magnificent Karkloof Conservancy, just 20 minutes from Howick.There are three distances (4km, 10km and 15km) on offer and all three explore some of the most stunning natural, unspoilt areas that the Karkloof has to offer. It’s not called a challenge for nothing; the 10km and 15km courses tackle the somewhat technical climb to the top of Mount Gilboa whilst the 4km course will meander around its base and is less strenuous. The trails up and down Mount Gilboa are simply breath-taking — the dense indigenous forest, watered by pristine mountain streams, is home to very special local animal and bird life that participants might be lucky enough to see. And emerging from the forest canopy and summiting Mt Gilboa (at 1768m, the highest point in the Karkloof range) at the end of the main climb, one feels on top of the world and the sense of accomplishment is tangible.Bushwillow Park is also the venue for the well-renowned Wild Series Three Cranes Challenge, which takes place a month later from the February 22 to February 24. A partnership between KZN Trail Running and Wildtrust, this two-to-three-day staged trail run has daily distances ranging from 23km to 40km and represents a more serious undertaking. The Gilboa Challenge routes overlap with those of the Wild Series Three Cranes Challenge, and so serves as a great preview and a fantastic training exercise for those with the bigger goal in mind.Both events will feature fantastic food and drink, top quality trail gear and expert advice, KidZones, and awesome lucky draw prizes.Pre-entries for the Gilboa Challenge close at noon on Friday, January 25 via www.kzntrailrunning.co.za (on-the-day entries will be available) and Wild Series Three Cranes Challenge entries are available on www.wildseries.co.za (pre-entry only). — Supplied.