Any fan of trail-running (or walking) will probably list the views, and challenges of navigating and judging the terrain as some of the reasons it trumps the monotony of road-running. Trail fans do not like monotony. The word ‘loop’ often mentioned on course descriptions is about as appealing as a wine-sales ban over the festive season…
That is why you’re in for a treat on our trails. We tested out the experience at the recent Human Right’s Day run we hosted with Raceday, and we’re proud to say that our runners found a great deal of variety out there.
The Raceday event had two options, a 5km and a 10km route. Curious as to the ‘no loops for the 10 kay’ proudly advertised, we opted to do the longer run and we’re glad we did.
The 10km was split into two completely separate 5km routes (so 5 kay fundis, you have a choice when you come and visit).
A pleasant surprise, unlike other trail runs, is that the start didn’t immediately take you up a 90 degree incline for the first kilometre, leaving you with thoughts of throwing away your shoes at the finish. Instead, the incline was gradual and steady. Perfect for a warmup. The first 5km route follows a MTB trail past vineyards and around a dam. You’ll have some fun running on wooden bridges, and over a couple of wooden banks. Thereafter, some switchbacks await, just to confuse you as to if you’re first, last or lost. (The route is very well sign-posted though). Make sure to keep some juice in the tank, as this first half is relatively ‘flat’ compared to the second half.
Onwards after 5km you will run downhill on the main tarred road to a bridge where you will start the second half. This well sign-posted course was laid out for running events and has a great variety of terrain. At times you’ll be running on compact, grassy single-track, at other times wild ‘no track’, hard, pebbly sections, some more switchbacks and a few evil climbs. Spectacular views await here, as we know that no wine-growing region is flat, and there’s a lot of hills this side of the farm. The mountains in the background are a subtle clue. Not to spoil the surprise, a ‘big daddy’ does await you towards the end as you pass an impressive couple of vineyard blocks, so keep those legs light for the long climb that could be called the Suikerbossie of Botrivier. As the saying goes ‘what goes up must come down’, so you do get a nice sweeping downhill into the last kilometre, but there is the tiniest, gradual incline as you come back onto the tarred section and around to the Tasting Room to finish.
We found the route was just a little shy of 10km, so if Strava stats are make and break for you, then loop around until you’re done.
It was a very rewarding run, we agree as we ‘hydrate’ at the tasting room and inhale a bacon & egg roll while admiring our medals and enjoying the witty commentary from the excellent organiser and MC, Japie.
Unbiased verdict: If you see a run organised with Wildekrans as the venue, DO IT! Otherwise, just rock up for your own self-guided adventure. Enquire at reception for the nominal permit cost, which is used to keep the trails maintained.