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2017 - The Year of South African Trail Running

2017 has definitely been one to remember for our community of trail runners in South Africa. From insane performances (too many to name) to Tuesday Trails gees to Ultra Trail Cape Town and Otter putting us on the map world-wide, it’s been one heck of a year.

Looking back, this year has cemented my values and answered quite a few questions that had been swirling in my head about trail running, competing internationally and the age old question of ‘why I run’…. So I came up with a few thoughts!

Community is everything.

After Otter I decided to have a nice long ‘off season’ of running with less structure and I finally made it to a Tuesday Trails. I arrived with beers in hand and curious to see what it was all about. I was blown away. The community is HUGE, the vibe is awesome and the experience left me on a total high…. Shortly after that it was time for UTCT and again, the week was a whirlwind of incredible people, high fives, big dreams and so much support and love – I’m not actually sure I have the words to describe it. Everyone rallied together with such gees while Stu and Nic and the rest of the team worked their butts off to make it a world class event! Spending loads of time with all of the international athletes further encouraged this thought… They loved us! They loved our trails, our openness, our friendly mountain vibe and they LOVED Tuesday Trails…. We’ve got it all!

Local is best.

This might sound contradictory as I’m set to head off to the Golden Trail Series next year and won’t be taking part in any local events apart from Otter! I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and it’s a huge dream that’s finally coming true, but I’m going to miss home for sure. I’ll be so sad to miss Hout Bay, Fishermans, Mnweni, UTD, Table Mountain Challenge, Bastille Day and so many other classic local races. If anything, getting ready to head overseas to compete has made me realize how much we have right here at home. It’s important to grow our own special community and not feel like we need to go overseas to ‘make it’. And what I feel is even more important is to role model this to up-and-coming talented athletes, the level of competition is growing and we need to make sure we don’t idealise international competition. We’ve got the best of the best right here at home.

So much of why I run is for and because of awesome people. There’s so much goodness, so many ideas and oh so much potential in our country and community. The people, mountain memories, banter and general life happiness is all down to the people.

We’ve proven our depth of talent, we have world class events, we have incredible mountains and trails like no other. Let’s use 2018 to celebrate how far we’ve come, build it and nurture our very own little piece of heavenly trail running!

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