July 7, 2019.

Another nugget of gold for the South Africa adventure memory bank with some awesome trail running buddies- what a great crew. 🥰

 My first stage trail running race.

The Kruger2Canyon Challenge 2019 , where the highveld meets the lowveld, on the Limpopo Mpumalanga border.

Phonix Capture cc – Professional Photography and Videography thanks heaps for the snaps.

Day 1: 43km. I’m not one for numbers, but it was solid bundu bashing with 2800m elevation gain, involving two big arse climbs. We graced the Blyde River Canyon, forests boasting 200 species of flora and fauna, great single trail, grassy meandering paths, and some wide tracks now and again to give the mind the occasional rest. Up hill down dale, all day long.

“HEY BELLA!!!! What are you doing you crazy f🤬🤬king kiwi!’ were the loud words of my equally crazy mate Ruan as he passed me on the downhill.. at such speed he actually was a blur. If he was wearing green I would have thought it was a tree hurling expletives as it hurtled past. Unfortunately I didn’t make the sub-8 hour mark for his beer shout. 🙈 You know it’s a tough track when it takes a good part of 9.5 hours to reach the finish line. Ran a beaut 20km block of it with two lekker okes I met on the trail, Neil and JD. We chatted about everything from rock n roll to the size of Ian Thorpe’s feet. “Hey Bella, our running mate Jimmy is a lot like you…. he talks non stop too when we run.” 🙄

A couple of beers and a potjie pot dinner later, we were all set for Day 2.

 Day 2: 28km. You know you’re in for a good day when you get briefed about what to do if you come across The Big Four of leopard, elephant, cheetah, rhino, or the ‘usual’ of zebra, giraffe, etc in the Blue Canyon Conservancy. And when you see poo 7 times the size of horse poo, you know you’re sharing turf with rhino. With Day 1 still in our system, it was a tentative start for the feet and muscles at 6.30am. But what a cool three hour trot it was, and after a couple of kilometres the rhythm was found. Never saw any actual game, but I’m sure they were watching from afar scratching their heads saying to each other “What are those silly people running from, we’re over here!”

In fact, tree roots are the biggest threat in trail running. Yoh, when you hit them at speed you kiss the dirt hard eh. Eish….

What a weekend, thanks heaps KZN Trail Running, what a wonderful community. 👣