So, thanks to Francis for the photos and guest race report.
It is often not one thing but a whole bunch of things that make it a good experience.
For most runs it is often about the people you travel with. In this case I knew I was sorted. Had a great group heading on a Winterton road trip.
A weekend away is always a treat. And if it is a weekend with friends and running it is better.
Trail runs are about experiences and seeing different parts of the country and experienecinng different environments. They normally have a theme about protecting something jn the area which is a stark reminder that nature is fragile and we all have a part to play.
Oxpecker was no different. It offered conservation by trying to re- introduce the oxpecker to the environment. Sometimes a reminder too to focus in the small stuff.
APart if the route was run along parts of berg in the bush cycle race paths. Especially day 1, I was thankful I was running and not cycling. We did the "berg" part of the race. Some nice running along mountain trails. Not too hard, and although there was a climb it was very manageable. On my side I was coming back to running from time off. I have been experimenting with heart rate training and working in a low heart rate zone. Tough route with lots of climbing then requires a lot of walking. So for me I was able to get a lot of running (albeit it slower) which was great.
The end of the race was great. From a very cold start -1 c, it quickly warmed up and we finished with time to spend an afternoon lying out in the sun.
Food and water points often set trail and road apart. For road runs the water points are grab a drink and go. However on trail runs a feast awaits- and here was no different. I must say there was something for everyone , even the banters amongst us. For the banters cheese and sausages were there, and for those of us not too fussed we had option of race food, oranges, date balls, raisins. And if we hadn't quite warmed up yet the stops also had sherry.
So an awesome spread- no one was due to go hungry.
Day 1 we were treated to an afternoon at Spionkop lodge while Raymond Herron had us enthralled listening to the battle of spionkop. Who knew that 3 people of future importance were there- general Louis Botha, Winston Churchill and Mahatma Ghandi! But to find out that no-one really own or lost the battle but yet it goes down in history for the most amount of lives lost on one acre squared, is a harsh reality of war. Even just for this afternoon the race would be worth it! The stories and sitting outside watching the sun go down is memorable.
Day 2 was another chilly start, but more in the "bush". Highlights were seeing Nguni cattle, running thought the aloes, along the Tugela.
To summarise it was a good weekend away with friends. I think a great entry level race for anyone new to multistage racing. The race village was good. We opted to stay in bergville rather than camp (for me this was the right decision- as it came with electric blankets and all). The second nights entertainment was good fun and a lot of laughs seeing people trying to win prizes especially "Arse Money" had us laughing.
The things I like
1) runnable routes- nice race for new to trial running.
2) a bit of history
3) some conservation
4) a weekend away with friends
Francis was very happy with the accommodation booking that she made at Bergville Caravan Park and Chalets.