Nice views, tough course and a little dusty.
The Gauteng Winter Trail Series Xtra Long course was a nice challenge after Comrades a few weeks ago. It was a 20 km long trail route weaving around the Hennops River North of Johannesburg. The route consisted of mostly single tack and some Jeep tracks too. There where a number of hills and a steep mountain track which forced me to do some walking.
The views throughout the race included the Pelindaba nuclear plant nestled in between the brown grassy hills, the Hennops river surrounded by trees and cutting through rocky areas, the hills surrounding the river covered in trees and golden brown grass. The only problem with trail running is that it is tough to look up and around while running, because you may step wrong and fall. But wow is trail running exciting as you run down steep hills jumping from rock to rock at speed, its definitely a rush. Another highlight of the route was a running across a fairly wiggly wooden bridge over the river. There was also a number of fence crossings and I saw a couple cows (not too exciting).
I packed a camelback with 2l of water which was enough for the race. There was also a water point half way during the race which had some sweets and bananas. The trail series fills up pretty quickly and is very popular, so book early and arrive early because the registration queue is pretty long. I’m glad I did the XL course because not that many people did it which resulted in less bunch ups or traffic than you usually get on the shorter routes.
I liked this race but was pretty stuffed when I finished. They also had a prize giving session afterwards where small prizes were given out to random participants. I must admit trail running is fairly tough and takes some fitness and strong ankles as the terrain is always changing. Trail shoes I recommend because normal shoes have soft soles so you’ll feel every rock you run over. The camel pack was good too and I might wear gloves next time because you always grabbing trees and rocks during the race. I would also wear something to prevent rocks and sand getting into your shoes. Here is the link to the trail series website - http://www.trailseries.co.za
And some official photos from the race: Find more photos like this on The Trail Series