#AboutTrail Episode 11: About the Spur Trail Series

Hear what five Spur Trail Series® runners have to say about the events and why it’s worth signing up and getting involved.            

Sure you can head over to the Spur Trail Series® website and find out the practical stuff, like where, when and how far, or you can watch the video and learn why and how the series came about and how to take part, but have you heard from Trail Series fanatics, competitors and newbies who have experienced the trails and events first hand?

Five Trail Series® runner’s share their experiences and help to give you a better idea of why this is such a fantastic, competitive and progressive series to take part in, regardless of your level of ability when it comes to trail running.

They’re super fun

Every single Trail Series® around the country shares one common feature – they are fun. Sure trail running has its tough moments, but ultimately the Trail Series® is a celebration of being outdoors, active and alive, and exploring and experiencing awesome trails on your doorstep. It’s about having fun, being social and sharing the beauty of nature with fellow runners. For Bryony Taberlet, “the vibe at the start and finish is always fun and exciting,” and similarly, fellow runner Kevin Daniel shares the sentiment.  “Last year I did the Paul Cluver and the Kleinmond shorter runs. Then I did a few longer runs and had a jol. The Kleinmond run was seriously tough with a semi gale force wind pumping, in fact the finish line blew away but Sean Falconer the MC still managed to keep people entertained. Seriously fun times, I am a big fan of the event,” says he said. For others, fun isn’t just about the people and the vibe, but also being able to sleep a little later on race day! “The late starts are great, the friendly crew and awesome vibe plus Sean Falconer and his superhero personality on the mic all make this a great morning or evening out,” says Perter J Moses, a regular at the events.

They allow you to progress as a trail runner

“I came across the Spur Trail Series® as a very newbie trail runner. I loved that you could enter the series and found it allowed me to progress,” says now experienced trail runner, Kerry Tyack. Kerry started out as a beginner and was thrilled to discover the two distances, the long and the short. “Having two distances is amazing. I think the short distance caters perfectly for the newbies like I was, and the long distance caters for anyone really, but still gives the more experienced runners a ‘run for their money’.” She has completed both the winter and summer series, and has watched her trail running slowly progress, as well as found a platform to share her love of the sport with friends. “I have taken along loads of different friends and introduced them to trail running through the series – that’s probably what the short series is most perfect for!” Lastly, she uses the series as a great way to train for longer, more difficult events. “It is also a great, safe platform to get some consistent training done – especially if you building up to a goal race.” Watch out Marloth Mountain Challenge – we think Kerry might be on her way!

They encourage you to explore surrounding areas

The Winter and Summer Spur Trail Series® take place in and around Cape Town and Johannesburg. This year also saw the introduction of an additional winter event in Port Elizabeth. Each different event makes use of trails either in or within an hour’s drive of the city. All pre-existing trails are selected with you, the runners in mind based on accessibility, grooming, the level of difficulty and technical factor. Some have beautiful views, while others have fun or challenging features. The best thing about the trails and routes used in the series, is that a lot of people don’t even know they exist, and thus the Trail Series® is a way to discover these new trails. “I love that there are a series of races in different venues, you really get to explore around Cape Town (and also nice that the summer and winter ones are slightly different),” says Bryony. For Kerry, it was all about getting out of her comfort zone, something it turned out she quite enjoyed! “It also got me to run in areas I wouldn’t normally run in.”

They’re challenging for everyone

Just because loads of newbies LOVE the Spur Trail Series® doesn’t mean that they’re only suited to first-timers. Whether you’re stepping foot onto trail for the first time, or are a competitive athlete looking for a win, the Trail Series® definitely has something to offer, between the long and short courses. “I was lucky to be introduced to the Summer Spur Trail Series® earlier this year. My first race was in Tygerberg, which is a beautiful, but tough little test for any runner. I found that to be the theme throughout the series of races, in both the summer and winter editions: beautiful scenery, but tough little trail routes that test your desire to reach the finish line with high spirits,” says regular to the Trail Series®, but experienced ultra-runner, Peter J Moses.

They’re super slick and well organised

The Spur Trail Series® started back in 2008 and had a total of 252 runners. In 2014 the total number of entrants and runners in the series came up to 15576 and has continued to grow. With that in mind, the crew and team at Wildrunner run a slick operation. From the start and entry process to prize giving, the crew know what to do, how to do and most importantly, how to keep a smile on their faces in the process. This level of energy and service results in happy customers AKA happy runners. “I found race entry online to be a painless and efficient procedure, even picking up the number on race day was quick and easy, with smiling crew members - a definite plus in my book. The start is great with different starting batches which makes it easier to slot into the open space early on in your run,” says Peter J Moses. For Bryony, it’s a well organised event from start to finish. “From the pre-race info via e-mail, the smooth registration (I never did on-the-day registration, so avoided the queues) to parking, which was well marked and managed at the event, etc, this is one supremely well organised day out.” 

Fun, testing routes

For competitive athlete Hayley Preen (and no stranger to the podium at the Spur Trail Series®), the varied routes and venues are her favourite feature about the series. “What I enjoyed about the Spur Trail Series® were the different and varied venues, my favourite being the Kirstenbosch venue.  The distances are shorter than normal trail races and are not as technical, but are still challenging trail races, so it is a great place to get into trail running. There is always good competition in the races, with fantastic prizes for each race and the overall series. I always enjoy running in these races,” she said. For PeterJ, “the variety of terrain, the different races on offer and the different choices of race distances makes it great for a group of friends to do the races together - even if some are not as capable on trail as others.”

So whether you’re tackling a personal goal, trying trail running out for the first time, looking for a social but active way to catch up with friends, or committed to finishing on the podium, the Spur Trail Series® really is for you. Search for a race closest to you and enter today!

Article written by Bryony Mc Cormick.