Races under 40km seldom feature very seriously, if at all, on my annual events calendar. But with the Otter African Trail Run looming, I decided a little speed work was in order. Enter the 2019 edition of the 2 day Run the Berg Trail Race!
The Extreme version of the race consists of two days of 25km each, the first being more mountainous and the second more flowing "hills and dales" type running. For those looking for something shorter there is also the Challenge version, with less distance per day but traversing similar terrain.
I typically prefer day one's mountain run, with its long climb out from the Cavern and some fun singletrack descents, but this year saw me suffering a little after a bout of illness in the week leading up. Fortunately, an afternoon river swim and ice-cream seemed to revive me for day 2, and I was able to increase my slight lead over the closely-following competition. I and good friends, Karine Bezuidenhout and Tracy Zunckel finally filled the ladies podium in an exact replication of our 2017 results!
But what stood out to me most at this year's Run the Berg was the perfect execution of a well-organised event and a passionate race organiser who congratulated each runner as they crossed the finish line. With so many trail runs to choose from these days, it's small things like this that can make your run special. With its great combination of different trails and also a fun post-run vibe at All Out Adventures, I'd recommend Run the Berg to anyone looking to experience a small dose of mountain running for the first time.
Big thank you to Warren King for a fun event and Karine and Tracy for challenging me to make my speed sessions proper! And to all the cool runners, supporters and photographers that I chatted to afterwards - you guys make races worth all the effort! Now looking forward to giving Otter my best shot in two weeks’ time... See some of you there! 🙂