These Are The Best Trail Runs And Ultramarathons You Can Do In South Africa
South Africans are pushing themselves further and faster than ever before, and they’re having fun doing it. The number of ultramarathon runners has doubled in the past three years, and the availability of smaller, niche trail runs on signature scenic hikes has increased dramatically. And it’s not just the ultrarunning numbers that have grown; the number of smaller trail races and series has also exploded – and for good reason. Give yourself a challenge that scares you a little: something that quickens your heartrate and makes your palms sweaty just thinking about it. Your reward is some of the best scenery in the country.
The Otter Trail. The “Grail of Trail” takes you along arguably one of the most picturesque hiking routes in the world, the Garden Route, and you’ll line up against some of the best trail athletes in the country. Normally the hike is done over five days, but the Run category requires you to the 42km in under 8 hours (and you’ll do a Prologue the day before to get a starting position), or give yourself 11 hours to finish the whole route with the Challenge option. theotter.co.za
The Wildrun franchise of races (Lesotho, Richtersveld and the Wild Coast) all offer three days of incredible scenery, worldbeating single-track and access to areas that even 4x4s have trouble getting to. If we had to pick (and it’s ridiculously tough to choose just one), then the Wild Coast is our favourite. But you’ll win with any of them. wildrun.com
Turn The Dial All The Way
If you fly over trails with the dexterity and stamina of a mountain goat, then you should attempt either distances of the Skyrun (65km or 100km) in the Witteberg Mountain Range in the Eastern Cape (skyrun.co.za) or the 100km route of the Ultra Trail Cape Town, which runs mostly on Table Mountain and has a insane cut-off time of 15 hours. There are also 20 and 60km options. ultratrailcapetown.com