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The opening race of the Trail Series® Super League 2023, in partnership with WWF South Africa, didn’t disappoint.  But there was definitely a collective sigh of relief when the sun dipped down behind Table Mountain’s Nursery Buttress, and cast its long shadow over Kirstenbosch Gardens and the TSSL race village  - and wow what an evening it made for this exclusive race around these most treasured gardens and surrounding mountain estate.  

Billed as a sunset run meant that those fast enough could race without a supporting light to shine the way, but those making the most of it needed a Petzl headlamp or similar to catch the reflective trail markers guiding the way forward! Running through the gardens in the dying light, under huge tree ferns and towering forest canopies is a truly rewarding experience.

Katjiri defends 

As the gates closed to the public, the XL runners were first out of the blocks on their relatively short 14km.  A trio of elites made up of defending 2022 Super League Champion Wano Katjiri, Iain Peterkin and Joshua Blackshaw quickly set a blistering pace.  At the 10km mark Katjiri had a 15 second lead on Peterkin, with Blackshaw following on not far behind.  The final loop wasn’t enough for Peterkin to catch Katjiri, who romped home in 1:04:35 - 37 seconds clear of second place Peterkin.  The course record still stands, set by Llewellyn Groeneveld of 1:01:37 in 2022.

The ladies race in the XL was won by Emily Djock in 1:19:57, which also saw her break into the top 10 AND better her time from 2022 by just under 3 minutes!  Second place was Mila Gendenhuys in 1:20:44.  The course record of 1:16:23 set by Leanda du Bruyn in 2020 still stands.

Notable top 20 performances in the XL League categories included a 1:15:52 5th place overall finish for Veteran athlete Pete Calitz; and a 1:23:00 16th place overall time for Master athlete Trevor Jacobs.

Keeling owns the show

Brandon Keeling was simply on fire in the 10km long course race, totally dominating his competition with a 43:42 winning time and over a five minute margin on second and third.  Keeling’s consistency is remarkable, with just 21 seconds being the difference between his 2022 time of 43:21 and his winning time this year.  Siviwe Nkombi’s course record of 39:38, set in 2020, still remains untouched.

The battle for second, third and fourth was a 27 second affair however, with Warren Black stealing the second step from Wilson Finley by a relatively comfortable 23 seconds, and leaving Gus Farara just 4 seconds off making the podium.

Joanne Golding ruled the ladies race with a 13th overall and a winning time of 55:36.  In second place was Renee Cheary in 59:42.

Notable top 20 performances in the Long League categories included a 52:34 7th place finish overall for Veteran athlete Daniel Jubert.

A junior rules the roost

Junior athlete James Lyster (pictured) claimed his first win in the Super League 5.2km short course, in a time of 26:06; a mere 8 seconds ahead of second place Ashraf Moosa. This is the second year in a row that Moosa has had to accept second place, despite improving his time by over a minute and twenty seconds from 2022 to 2023!.  Minimee category (11-14yrs) athlete Zackery Day claimed the last step on the podium by a mere 4 seconds from fellow minimee CG Volschenk, finishing in 27:45 and 27:49 respectively.  

Morgan Volkmann won the ladies race in 32:08 and notable top 20 performances in the Short League categories included a top 10 finish for Peewee category runners (6-10yrs) Griffin Volkmann with a 29:38 (7th) and Oliver Tait 29:58 (10th).  Also breaking into the top 20 were Master athletes Shabeer Ebrahim with a 30:23 (11th) and Gordon Spenceley in 32:31 (15th).

Race results: TSSL23 Race 1 Kirstenbosch Results

Next up, Ida’s Valley

After pioneering the Ida’s Valley Nature Area’s first trail race in 2022, we are returning to this very special area for the second TSSL race in 2023.  

On offer is a 7.6km short, 13.5km long and a 21.5km XL race course.

For details and to enter: Race 2 Ida's Valley info and entry

A huge thank you to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for hosting us again, and to our partners WWF South Africa, Elemental Outdoor, Keep Moving Socks, Steenberg, Petzl, Bluewater Africa and Finish Time for their continuing support. 

Please like, follow & share the stories & fantastic photos on our social media pages with the hashtag #TSSL23

Kirstenbosch delivers!

What an spectacular balmy summers evening to kick start the six race Trail Series® Super League in 2022!  

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens always delivers, and to have the privilege of racing through this national treasure is simply goose bump stuff.  The three race distances were 5.2km short, 9.5km long and a 14.2km XL - all concluding with a snaking route right through the heart of Kirstenbosch.

With the COVID fog of the last two years slowly beginning to clear, it was so awesome to have a capacity field again, to feel the buzz and to see and chat to so many familiar faces in our trail running community.  The heart of 15 years of short course trail running is pumping again!

As usual the front end was a fast and furious one, with Llewellyn Groeneveld (XL), Brandon Keeling (Long) and Mikaeel Moolla (Short) setting the pace in their respective distances.  Llewellyn's winning time of 1:01:37 set a new bar, breaking the course record set in 2020 by Michael Davidson (1:06:44) by over 6 minutes. Siviwe Nkombi's Long course record of 39:38 set in 2020 still stands, as does Anele Bams Short course record of 23:57.

Emily Djock (XL), Caro Jordaan (Long) & Elise Groeneveld (Short) won their respective ladies races.  Elise set a new blistering hot ladies record on the 5.2km route, being the first to go under 30min, finishing in 29:26.  This is three minutes faster than the previous ladies course record!

William Inggs not only took third overall, but absolutely owned the 'Minimee' category (11-14yrs) with over a six minute lead on his nearest rival.

Rupert Good won the 6-10yr olds 'Peewee' category, coming 13th overall.

Congrats to all the finishers for completing race 1 of 6!  For full results click here For photos click here

Next up in the TSSL is a brand new area and route at Ida's Valley Nature Area near Stellenbosch.  The date Sat 26th Feb.  For all race info and to enter: www.trailseries.co.za/idas-valley-nature-area

Keep abreast of the news by following the Trail Series Facebook page or Wildrunner Instagram


Two out of two Cape Summer Trail Series® races have brought a little drizzle to our drought – can we go full on down pour for the next two? We’re guessing the entire trail community would be stoked to jump in to a puddle or two.

Tuesday 30 January was another magic evening at Kirstenbosch Gardens. Both the short and long course events sold out beforehand, and the Trail Series® Facebook page became a bit like the stock exchange with some mad last minute trading of subs. The crowd poured in from 5pm, and enjoyed a pre-race snack or cup of coffee as the pros went about their warm up routines.

The A batch in the long course kicked off with their usual pre-race banter. Jono Black and Dylan Stevenson were off the blocks at high speed. Dylan pulled Jono up the climbs on this rollercoaster of a route, and Jono regained ground on the flats and downhill sections as the two friends fought it out. The course took runners through a section of the hallowed gardens, and then straight up towards the contour path with plenty of single track and mountain stair action to keep all on their toes. In the end, Stevenson finished just 20 seconds ahead of Black in a time of 41:46. Stephen Millard wasn’t far behind as he closed the men’s podium in a time of 43:19. Katja Soggot enjoyed a huge win in a time of 48:14, followed by Megan Skowno in 54:02 and Julie Huckle in 55:52. The last of the runners in the long course came off the mountain an hour later, well after dark, and for many their first taste of night running.

In the short course, youth dominated in a big way as Tom Byron (16 years) took the win ahead of Jethro Dunn (14), followed by Clayton Booysen (35). The top three times were 28:53, 29:03 and 29:49 respectively. On a course that delivers very little “flat” these finish times indicate a lot of budding talent in SA trail. Even the Peewee division (10 years and under) chewed this course up post-bedtime. They aren’t as cute as they look on the start line folks, the kids are MEAN out there! Cullen Clarke (10 years) finished in 32:17 with 8 year old Nicholas Etherton chasing him in a time of 32:30. In the women’s race, Rosslee Guess finished in 33:05 with Jada Linstroom in 34:04 and Tanya Posthumus just 2 seconds after her.

The magic of night running held the full field of runners in its usual grip, and the crowed eventually filtered out full of smiles and trail stoke after prize giving and lucky draws were done.  

Next up is the picturesque sunset run at Meerendal on 7 February. For all those who missed the Kirstenbosch experience, and those wishing for more night running adventure, please enter online before the day to guarantee your spot. This course runs predominantly on the perfectly manicured mountain bike single track of Meerendal. A playful, undulating course that offers a solid dose of pure fun. Remember that headlamps are compulsory.

With thanks to the great brands and businesses that add so much to each event; Raidlight, Peak Performance Fitness, Steenberg, Mountain Dew and WWF.

A selection of images is on our website, with many more on the Trail Series® Facebook page. So like, tag, share and update your profile pic or wow the family whatsapp group! Full results are here.  

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens created the perfect backdrop to host just over 1,000 runners on Tuesday, at race 3 of the Spur Cape Summer Trail Series®. With an electric atmosphere in the air, the first of the races set off at 19h00, with several top South African trail runners storming out of the blocks as the sun set behind Table Mountain.

In the 10km long course Championship, a new face to the Spur Trail Series® scene, Justin Fritz, took everyone by surprise as he blitzed the course and sprinted across the finish line almost four minutes ahead of the competition. He managed to break the 40 minute barrier and crossed the line in 39:56, looking fresh and ready for more. A few minutes later, a cluster of runners rushed home in short stride with Raydon Balie, Rory Scheffer, Nicholas Rupanga and Jarryd Dunn all crossing the line with less than 20 seconds separating them. Balie claimed second position with his time of 42:34 and third place went to Scheffer with a time of 43:40.

In the ladies long course race, Hayley Preen once again proved her class as she took her second win of the Series in a time of 48:41. She looks set to claim her first Championship title in a month’s time at the final race of the Series, at Oak Valley. In second place, Kate Mapham also impressed, beating the recently recovered Katya Soggot to the line in a time of 50:37 - Soggot taking third position in 52:53.

Short course battle shapes up
The 5.8km short course Challenge made for some exciting racing as it culminated in a sprint finish between Andre Afrika and Stefan Oosthuizen. Afrika managed to pip Oosthuizen to the post with a time of 25:11, in a repeat of race 1’s results. In third place, Dawood Goeieman moved up one spot from race 1 with a time of 26:52 - only seconds ahead of Daniel Arendse and Robert Shaff. The racing between these top five runners always makes for an exciting finish and we can’t wait to see what happens at the final race of the Series at Oak Valley.

Linda Detering started in the second batch, chasing all the way, and managed to make up enough time on Tina-Marie Meyer to claim first place. Her time of 30:01 meant Meyer had to settle for second position with a time of 31:41. Polly Else claimed the last spot on the podium, coming home third in a time of 32:33. 

It was a fine way to continue the Spur Trail Series® after the disappointment of having to cancel the second race of the Series due to wildfires and a wonderful way to celebrate Wildrunner’s 200th event on the trails. We look forward to many more and to seeing everyone at the final race of the Series on 28 February at Oak Valley. If you don’t have your entry for this race yet, enter now and book your spot on the start line!

A big thanks to all the runners and our fantastic sponsors - Spur Steak Ranches, BOS Sport, Protea Hotels and La Sportiva SA.

Click here for the full results and here for more photos.