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We Trail Run “Because its there”

We Trail Run “Because its there”

Trail running

Bearded men, flat peaks, the banting diet with all the gear and no idea. There would not be such a sport as trail running without these wonderful characteristics. You don’t see many runners finishing a race without ticking at least one of these categories. I think the question many outsiders struggle with is why do we all love this sport so much and what on earth gets us motivated to run for hours over the toughest terrain around? Well as a young bearded man I’ve enter many races and have interacted with many of these trail running characteristics and I’ve found that we all seem to come back for something different each time. Lets take a closer look at what secrets the trail hides that hooks us vulnerable wanderers so tight in its grip.

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Strange looking bearded man…

The land of marmalade skies…

Trail runners are not completely insane, we would not enter a 50km race with thousands of meters of ascent if at the top we weren’t blown away by the majestic, mind blowing views. Not only are these views an opportunity to take the next best picture to show everyone what they are missing out on, but they seem to attach themselves to the soul like a messy scrapbook. If we didn’t stumble upon hidden single tracks that take you through fairy gardens where you soon wonder when you’ll see tinkerbell hopping over rippling streams or if we weren’t dawned on by a sudden ghostly shade in the misty forest where any glimpse of the sun signals a way home, then trail runners would not put themselves through what others see as pure torture.

 

Marmalade skies

Marmalade skies

The free range chicken…

With the stress of life and our busy schedules for me trail running is my escape, where you can just be a kid again and run free. The freedom and challenge of navigating tricky descents where you just let your feet go and hope that they hop from rock to rock like a mountain goat. Going for a run with no map and just exploring with nothing planned, no start, no end, just the pure bliss of simply running for hours with no concept of time. That is the beauty of trail running. Simplicity at it’s best.

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The rolling hills of Karkloof

Dressed to impress!!

 I don’t know about you but getting ready for a race is as exciting as Christmas morning for a kid. It’s an inspiring feeling putting on all the crisp new gear you’ve saved for so long and looking like you know exactly what you doing. I’m 100% sure that at the start of each race I look like I could win simply due to all the awesome gear I have on. However, is it all necessary? Personally without it I would mentally struggle to finish because again the right gear creates that excitement and confidence that gives the illusion that finishing is not impossible.
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Three Cranes Challenge, one of my favourite races.

Racing snakes…
The best thing with trail running is that everyone can finish a race, you don’t have to be “Kilian Jornet” to get your finishers medal.. you really can just hike, take pictures and still finish with a sense of accomplishment. Many times trying to descend like a fish eagle I’ve come really short and had to walk a race just to finish, those become your best races. This is what makes trail running so different from road, it’s not always about getting PB’s, from the guy coming 1st to the one coming last, we all come in beaming with enlightenment whether it was our best or worst race. Then everyone, winner or loser, will enjoy an ice cold fruit juice afterwards together. 
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Karkloof Falls

Rolling in it…
Is trail running a sport only for people with money? Well for me I have made a life choice to cut out spending R500 on a night out and spend it rather on a race or a weekend away camping. Instead of staying in 5 star hotels, get a tent and experience nature properly. 
In my opinion trail running has become too commercial and people are taking away the rustic beauty of the sport. It’s not about your hotel, shoes, watch or any other gadgets.  Trail running for me is about just getting lost in the mountains exploring not only the wonders of the hills and rolling landscapes but being able to explore who you are. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and Wi-fi zones and testing yourself mentally and physically. It allows you to meet the crazy people who share the same passion and spent the R2k entry fee to run in mountains together with others like themselves where they could have run alone any other day in those mountains for R50. However, there wouldn’t be trail running without the medals or pictures. Everyone I know who has attempted the majestic activity of trail running have fallen in love with it or have fallen victim to trying it again. Go out.. find a mountain and climb it!
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The clouds ‘rolling in’

One of my favourite quotes and inspiration.
“The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, ‘What is the use of climbing Mount Everest ?’ and my answer must at once be, ‘It is no use’. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.”
“George Leigh Mallory”
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“Because it’s There”

 

Michael Baker

If I could I would live in the mountains... I'm a sports enthusiast who is up for any challenge. Entering races and going to random places to run completes me. Young, passionate, bearded and with a decent set of legs there is no mountain to tall...

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About The Author

If I could I would live in the mountains... I'm a sports enthusiast who is up for any challenge. Entering races and going to random places to run completes me. Young, passionate, bearded and with a decent set of legs there is no mountain to tall...

1 Comment

  1. Breath taking read… reminds me of 3 cranes.
    Lovely stuff bud!!

    Reply

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