The inaugural Glencairn Trail Run welcomed just under 200 runners. The majority of entrants arrived on Friday evening for registration, where they enjoyed a dinner prepared by the local Underberg Primary School and a light hearted presentation of what awaited them in the next two days to come. Runners were each given a four man tent with a comfortable mattress and an unbeatable backdrop of the Sani Pass Valley. Although, the weather gods tried their best to dampen the spirits with an afternoon thunder shower, the team morale remained high as everyone took cover in the chill zone and enjoyed a Notties Brewery Draught or a warm cup of tea as the storm rolled past. Most runners grabbed an early night in preparation for what lay ahead apart from a small crowd that found the bar stools a bit too comfy.
Runners woke to a very warm Saturday morning with temperatures which later reached close to 35 degrees. Blown into the start gate with strong winds, the Lamb and Ram rubbed shoulders as they started out their 12km and 21km adventures together. The water tables were a big hit as most of the runners were clearly struggling from the mean headwinds and hot temperatures. Two runners who didn’t show any struggle were stage and overall race winners Andrew Houston and Abby Solms who blitzed the rest of the mens and ladies fields respectively. Some of the highlights of the day were stunning views of the Drakensberg, flowing pine single track and the bush tunnels along the edge of the Polela River. The crowd favourite for both participants and spectators however, was the 130m floating bridge across Lake Glencairn which caught a few people out with an unintentional but welcome swim in the midday heat.
Having most of the runners in before noon meant that there was a lot of time to chill out and make the most of what was on offer. A number of runners who remembered their passports went up to the top of sani pass and had a drink at the highest pub in Africa, while others took part in a yoga class or put their feet up in the chill zone and caught up with mates. For those who hadn’t run hard enough there was a game of ultimate frisbee. The afternoon activities were followed by the Subaru Happy Hour which left everyone in good spirits for the Day 2 race briefing and a delicious dinner. Those with energy remaining found their way to chill zone where there was a festive atmosphere.
Day 2 was the perfect antidote to the scorching heat of Day 1. Runners woke to a chilly misty morning. Perfect running conditions! Apart from cooler conditions, the day 2 route also offered some relief for the legs being slightly shorter with a more gradual gradient and less climbing. Regarding the breath taking scenery – it was more of the same. The distance for the Lamb and Ram Run were 8km and 16km respectively. Judging by the happy faces crossing the finish line the shorter day was appreciated by the runners, who moved swiftly on to a well-earned early lunch followed by prize giving.
All in all it was a weekend of many ups and downs, twists and turns, forest single track, greener pastures, mountainous grass lands, meandering rivers, new friends, old friends and time to take pause and take in the beauty of the Southern Berg.
With their sights on next year, the Glencairn crew are already planning for 2017. Next year’s dates will fall on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of October 2017 and promises to build on a successful 2016 event. Entries procedures will follow soon.