by Conrad

My family and I regularly visited my sister Carina and her husband Meyer at their farm Schalkwykskraal since the early nineties. I had been a runner from the early eighties and trained on the farm. I ran on my own but considered the terrain and views a must-share. The thought of organising a trail run occurred to me. This remained just a thought for many years because I was resident in Mpumalanga, about 800km from the farm, and did not have the time. With retirement—and with it the prospect of having more free time—coming closer the thought became a possibility and only then did I mention my wish to Meyer and Carina. About three years later, in December 2019, we took the “let’s do it” decision and set the date of the inaugural run for 1 May 2021. This time of year fits in best with the farming cycle.

I had in my head a 20km and a 40km route, making use of Schalkwykskraal, Oviston Nature Reserve, and the farm Gelykfontein. I wanted the runners to get close to the water, to view the dam from the top of the koppies, and to go through the kloof (gorge) in Gelykfontein. Meyer knows the three properties well and it didn’t take him long to plot out suggestions for the two routes on Google Earth.

Having obtained permission from Gelykfontein’s owners Schalk and Christa van der Walt to take the route through their farm, and from Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency for including Oviston Nature Reserve, the scene was set for the inaugural event of 2021.

Assisting with the organisation are my wife Penny, Meyer and Carina from Schalkwykskraal, Marené van der Walt from Gelykfontein, Oviston Nature Reserve management, and volunteers who help with venue set-up and race day activities. I am thankful to those who supply lucky draw prizes and those who deliver catering and medical services. No cash sponsorship is currently received.

And of course the athletes. To have you visit and sharing with you that what I love, our sport trail running, gives me joy. I hope we can do this together for many years.

Removing route markers the day after the 2021 race
photo: Matthew Frewin