by Conrad

My family and I have been visiting my sister Carina and her husband Meyer at their farm Schalkwykskraal since the early nineties. I was a road runner—trail running was not yet mainstream—but enjoyed running on the dirt roads and climbing the koppies. When I switched to trail running around 2012 I saw the potential of the farm for hosting an event. 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 for the organising and the on-site preparations. With retirement 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 was chosen to fit in with the low of the farming work-load 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. Adjustments were made later, but ninety per cent of the routes were implemented as originally suggested.

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