With one race left in for the Spur Cape Winter Trail Series, we’ve had no lack of action at the past two events. The weather at Tygerberg and Paarl Mountain Nature Reserves fooled many in to thinking spring had sprung, and there was definitely plenty of springy running out at both races.

Tygerberg Nature Reserve covers 388 hectares of land, and is the protected home of 562 different plant species. It is also a deceptively tough trail running venue! While some might have thought they were getting a hill, truth is there is more climbing on that route than at Paul Cluver and over 680m of elevation on the long course. We brought the Duiker loop back for Race 2 this year, which increased the single track and included two culverts which runners ducked below on the way out, and on their return. A steep, fun downhill took the long course runners home through pine trees. The short course does not get forgotten by that infamous hill, and has over 480m of climbing.

Raydon Balie took top spot on the long course, with Frederick Wagenvoorde second and Emmanuel Dlamini third. Of the women, Colleen de Oliveria was first, Linda Detering second and Melany Porter third.

Peter Shackelton was first in the short course, followed by Jethro Dunn in second, and Tino Adams in third. Monita Scullard was first lady in the short course, followed by Natasha Oosthuizen and Natalie Smit.

We had a race upset in the short course as Oliver Steward, Stephen Millard and Alec Botha all missed the course split and added an extra km then finished on the long course route. Even with the added km, they were still the top 3 juniors and in the top 4 overall, which gives you an idea of their speed, but due to them not finishing on the official route, they had to be disqualified.

All in all, a super day of racing, rounded off with plenty of spot prizes courtesy of Raidlight South Africa, PPFitness, The Trail Store, Mountain Dew and Capri-Sun. Then it was on to Race 3 in Paarl.

The Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is another gem nestled right inside suburbia and worth a visit to experience just how unique and diverse this space is. It was declared a reserve in 1977, and is famous for its large granite rock formations; the second largest granite rock formation in the world. The Paarl Taal Monument served as the venue for the race registration, start and finish. As the sun rose, those that were visiting for the first time were blown away by the panoramic views of Paarl stretched out below. And then it was time to be blown away by a race full of surprises!

From the start, both the long and short course threw down some steep climbs and stunning single track. The course offered a little of everything, with stairs, rocky outcrops, slippery tracks and shady forest. This is known as one of the fastest courses of the Series® and the speedsters gave it full gas.

In the long course, Raydon Balie secured his overall Series® win with Frederick Wagenvoorde and Emmanuel Dlamini once again chasing him home. Beth Hanson, a pocket rocket from the UK, once again rocked top spot on the women’s podium, finishing 5th overall 11 minutes ahead of Colleen de Oliveria. Catherine Priday completed the podium.

In the short course, the sharpest of the sharp end was made up of Nicholas Quenet, Tino Adams and Alec Botha all over the line in little more than 30 minutes. But the results of the women’s race got everyone up on their feet cheering. First was once again Monita Scullard, followed by Marisha Eygelaar. And then 10 year old winner of the PeeWee division, Shene du Plessis, was recalled to the podium as third “woman” overall. We suspect a future champ in the making here! Of course the crowd loved her.

The usual festive prize giving followed, with another creative Tweeter being rewarded for his mid-run selfie in the #MySpurTrailSeries campaign. R1000 in vouchers isn’t shabby on top of a beautiful morning of trail and happy vibes.

We’re down to one last race, and Kleinmond is our final destination. This week we race on a Saturday, with the XL course as a great option for those that are happy with their current 3 of 4 Series® results, or anyone looking for a great race with a bit more technical running, and a lot of finish line reward.

Entries for short, long and XL courses are available online. Full results of the series to date can be found here.

Thank you to our partners Spur Sports, Raidlight South Africa, Steenberg Vineyards, Peak Performance Fitness, Mountain Dew and Capri-Sun. We also could not put on these events without our gracious venue hosts. Thank you all.