Waiting for a sign to enter the 2018 Gauteng Summer Trail Series®? ☝️Here it is! Online entries close 12 noon on Wednesday 17 October
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#GSTS2018 kicks off this Sunday with what has become known as ONE WEEK until Gauteng Summer Trail Series® online entries close! Are you in for the Hennops Beast on 21 October? Entry link in bio. Coming in hot 🔥 this series will be a celebration of summer like no other! #GSTS2018 #Unleashyourwildstride @raidlightza @steenberg_farm @jaybirdsport The Marloth race report is up! Link in bio 📸 @marksampsonct #goaboveandbeyond @bos_sport @jaybirdsport @raidlightza @steenberg_farm Monday... huh. We are in the process of editing, sorting and loading your Marloth 2018 images to our MCS website and Facebook page. Hang in there, these shots are a cure for the #mondayblues .
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📸 @alanvangysen That's a wrap for 2018. With sincere thanks to title sponsor @bos_sport and presenting sponsor @jaybirdsport as well as @raidlightza and @steenberg_farm and the brilliant volunteers and crew. See you rock lovers again in 2019. Keep it real #MCS2018 #goaboveandbeyond When you just make cut off #hero #goaboveandbeyond #finishlinetears #MMC2018 11:58:12 You did it Eben 🔥 Hand carved falcons for each finisher in the MMC Ultra Series @bos_sport @jaybirdsport @raidlightza @steenberg_farm #goaboveandbeyond And the #MMC2018 55km women's champs! #goaboveandbeyond Your #MMC2018 55km men's champs! #goaboveandbeyond We go further together. Team work for this crew. 55km done, 50 minutes until cut off #MMC2018 #goaboveandbeyond The face of an ultra runner tells so many stories. Last of the 55km runners coming in just over 11 hours since they left this line #MMC2018 #goaboveandbeyond Camille Oliante rounds out the women's 55km podium today 🔥 #MMC2018 #goaboveandbeyond

What can I expect?

The common thread with trail running is that it’s about the journey and not the destination. Venues range from wine farms to mountain ridges and remote wilderness locations, with something for all tastes and abilities. Trail running has a seriously competitive form, of which we have only just started to see what is possible, but for the majority of runners it’s all about getting off the road, away from traffic and enjoying the surroundings.

There are a few major differences in a trail race that you need to bear in mind:

1. Terrain and total ascent/descent have a huge impact on the time it takes to complete a trail race. Unlike road running, constant pace is more often than not impossible. Throw in a few sharp climbs and rough terrain and you add hours to your time. Experience and checking previous winning times will give you a good idea of how long you can expect your race to take.

2. Trail running race norm, due to the very nature of the venues you run in, require you to be self-sufficient. Water tables are a bonus and are not to be expected. This means that you may often be carrying at least a liter of water on you, plus other safety items such as a wind breaker, cellphone and first aid kit (depending on what event).

3. Hiking is as much to trail running as waves are to surfing. Hiking can be as fast as running with half the effort on steep terrain, so you can expect to walk from time to time, once again adding to your time taken. 

Wildrunner have established their own Wildrunner Trail Grading' system (WTG). This grading system was established to help new trail runners make informed decisions about which races might best suit their ability. For other events that don't use this WTG, try to find out as much as you can from other runners and the race organizer as to the aspects mentioned above. 

So you’ve tried it out and the bug has bitten - what next? Well then, in much the same way as road running, you can work your way through the races as far as you want to go. Trail running distances in South Africa range from 4km up to 100 milers (Addo 100 miler) and multi-day races like the Wildcoast and Richtersveld Wildrun®,  and the mammoth 250km, 7 day Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon. The trail running calendar in South Africa has exploded in the last few years. Every month there are now dozens of races to choose from, long or short. On the international scene, there are more events than you would believe. Some of the famous favourites: Mauritius Royal Raid 80 & 35km, the 160km UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc) and the 163km Le Grand Raid Reunion to name but the tip of the iceberg.

Also check out the Mountain Challenge Series that consists of three big mountain runs in the Western Cape as the next step on your trail running yourney.

If you are in Cape Town there are a number of trail running group options that help with training and advice. The CRAG group (Cape Runners Against Gravity www.crag.org.za) are the longest-standing trail running group in the Cape and run religiously throughout the year on a Wednesday evening after work. The VOB Running club (www.vob.co.za) have formed a trail running group that runs on weekends. Celtic Harriers (www.celticharriers.co.za) have trail runs during the week and on weekends.