Tuesday, 30 April 2013
SA's best to take on the might of the JMC Extreme
The young sport of trail running comes
of age in South Africa in dramatic fashion when 300 of South
Africas elite trail runners meet on May 5th to do battle in the
spectacular natural settings of the Jonkershoek Valley Mountains near
Stellenbosch an area managed by Cape Nature.
In what promises to be a tough and
exciting contest, the Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge Extreme (JMC
Extreme) has drawn some of the best trail runners in the country to
tough it out for the ultimate prize of being selected for the first
ever national team in this young and growing sport.
The selected team will then take part
in the International Long Distance Trail Running Championships that
will be held in Poland on August 3.
In February, Athletics South Africa
(ASA) gave the nod for the first ever national trail running
championship event. Until now, trail running, which is held
largely in natural settings in nature reserves and greenbelts, has
been viewed as both an alternative-to and training aid for
traditional road and cross country runners, or simply as a way to
gain fitness in the outdoors.
Trail runners face not only the
challenges of their fellow competitors but also have to deal with
huge differences in terrain and weather. No trail running course is
ever the same.
Trail running is fast gaining traction
around the world as a sporting discipline in its own right.
The chairman of the ASA committee on
trail running, Altus Schreuder, said having the best trail runners in
the country coming to Jonkershoek will boost the sport in South
These runners will bring in their
sponsors and the marketing drive will be massive. It will lift the
profile of the sport, he said.
The responsibility of hosting the
inaugural national event (the South African Long Distance Trail
Running Championship) was awarded to Wildrunner, the specialist trail
running company that was a pioneer in establishing the sport in
South Africa when it began organising races in Cape Town &
Johannesburg in 2007. Wildrunner launched the Jonkershoek Mountain
Challenge in 2010, so this year will be the third Jonkershoek event
and the first Championship event.
Since those early days, Wildrunner has
organised over 120 trail running events in South Africa and Lesotho.
In 2012 alone, 12 000 runners took part in Wildrunner events.
There will be plenty for spectators
to experience at Jonkershoek, besides spectacular scenery, with the
trail running event divided into three races of different lengths,
involving 950 runners in total.
Of these three races, the flagship
event will be the 35km Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge Extreme route
from which the first ever national trail running team will be drawn.
Top runners taking part include:
AJ Calitz (1st 2012
PUFfeR winner & record holder, 1st 2013 Platteklip
Gorge Charity & record holder, 1st 2012 3 Peaks
Winner & record holder)
Landie Greyling (1st African X 2013, 1st 2013 Two Oceans Trail Run & Bay 2
Bay, 1st 100km Skyrun)
Annemien Ganzevoort (1st 2013 Bat Run, 1st 2013 Platteklip Gorge Charity run)
Kane Reilly (1st 2013
Silvermine Mountain XL, 2nd African X 2013 team)
Ben Brimble (1st 2013
African X Open Mens team)
Michael Bailey (1st 2013 African X Open Mens team)
Charl Souma (1st 2013
Bat Run, 3rd 2013 SA Ultra Champs)
Katya Soggot (1st 2012
3 Peaks & new record, 1st 2013 Silvermine Mountain
Iain and Susan Don Wauchaupe (2nd African X mixed team, current record holders for the Otter trail
The runners in this event will not only
have to compete against each other, they will also have to contend
with the rugged terrain of the Jonkershoek mountains over a 35km long
course that boasts a punishing vertical gain of 2064m and dramatic
variations of weather.
They will be required to be
self-sufficient and carry their own kit to sustain them over the JMC
Another 300 trail runners will take
part in the 21km Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge. These runners will
tackle a 1171m vertical height gain over a route that is mix of
mountain hiking trails and forest jeep tracks. They will also be
expected to carry some equipment to help them complete the race
The easier Jonkershoek Mountain Run
over 10 km offers 350 runners a gentler route on mountain bike trails
and jeep tracks.
The allure of trail running is that it
takes athletes to places of natural beauty and as a result,
environmental and conservation concerns are very much part of the
organisation of each race. Over the years Wildrunner has contributed
over R150 000 to a variety of conservation projects.
As part of this ethos there is a crew
of very fit sweepers who follow in the wake of the runners to
ensure that all the course markers and any stray litter is collected
after each event.
The managing director of Wildrunner,
Owen Middleton, said the first ever SA Long Distance Trail Running
Championships is a milestone in South African trail running and will
be a wonderful showcase for spectators to this exciting new sport. I
believe we potentially have some of the best trail runners in the
world over this distance and with the right structure, we can see
only positive outcomes from creating a passage to international
The Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge is
sponsored by Aca Joe, Red Bull & Mobii.
to bring either their Wildcard or R30 entry fee to get into the
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. There will be coffee, tea & a
selection of food available, as well as live results from the
Wildrunner will be tweeting live from
the Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge, so follow @wildrunnerza or #JMC
on Sunday for live race results!
* For more information call Wildrunner
at 021 821 9898 or visit the websitewww.jonkershoekmountainchallenge.co.za
STORY ENDS HERE