Have you ever wished to be able to run through wild areas, off the tar and gravel and onto game paths and untouched plains? To traverse the high vegetated dunes, move through virgin coastal forest or thornveld?
Then the iSimangaliso Trail Challenge is what you've been looking for.
The Park in partnership with KZN Trail Running says the deep connection that people have with nature and the yearning to interact at a closer level was the motivation behind this "classic Eco-Series event". Taking place in the school holidays and with plenty of spectator options, this is the perfect opportunity to escape the winter chills and have a family holiday in one of South Africa’s greatest natural treasures.
The iSimangaliso Trail Challenge takes place from 29 June – 1 July, from St Lucia’s Sugarloaf Campsite where the race village is set within earshot of hippos at the Lake St Lucia Estuary mouth.
From the outset, the event is about spectators and family involvement with the weekend starting off with a 6km ‘Full Moon’ leg-stretcher on the beach being open to all (we’ll help you mind the hippos!).
Two hardcore days of testing your mettle
The next two days are far more hardcore, testing the mettle of participants with the Saturday route discovering the southernmost section of iSimangaliso towards Maphelane.
Think pristine beaches, the Jolly Rubino shipwreck, dense coastal forest and miles of silent commune with nature.
Sunday’s route is quite different as runners track over the soaring vegetated dunes of the Park’s Eastern Shores section overlooking sea and lake – under the watchful eye of armed rangers as the area is populated with elephant, buffalo, leopard and much more.
A taste of nature
The event has been designed to bring participants into close contact with and offer a taste of some of the ecosystems in the World Heritage Site. If ever there was a reason to take up trail running, this is it!
There aren’t many places in the world where a trail run affords views like these.
Andrew Booth of KZN Trail Running says, “The iSimangaliso Trail Challenge is a challenge and experience, more than just a trail run. It opens up an opportunity to explore the park on foot like never before.”
“The best part about all of our iSimangaliso events is that you are supporting the conservation efforts of SA's first World Heritage Site. with a compulsory contribution towards the iSimangaliso Rare and Endangered Species Fund for the monitoring, reintroduction and management of these animals in our World Heritage Site.”
For more information and entries please visit isimangalisotrailchallenge.co.za
What you need to know about the iSimangaliso Trail Challenge:
Date: 29 June – 01 July 2018
Venue: Sugarloaf Campsite, Lake St Lucia Estuary, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Format: The event consists of 3 stages
Stage 1 (29 June 2018): Full moon beach run 6km (Open to spectators, family and friends not doing the full event)
Stage 2 (30 June 2018): Maphelane Loop 37km / 20km
Stage 3 (01 July 2018): Cape Vidal to Sugarloaf Campsite, Lake St Lucia Estuary 39km / 16km
*All stages start and finish at Sugarloaf Campsite where the race village is located, other than the third and final stage that starts at Cape Vidal.