6 WEEKS TO GO! Your training should be in full swing and if you don’t yet have all of your compulsory kit items you will hopefully have a shopping / begborrowsteal list of the stuff you still need. Before you know it you’ll be on your way to the magnificent Drakensberg for a weekend of tough, spectacular and altogether unforgettable trail running in Africa’s most formidable mountains!
The first question we are getting asked at the moment is whether the race is going ahead in light of the covid-19 restrictions. The answer, categorically, is YES! While the situation remains extremely fluid the prevailing restrictions allow us to go ahead with some limitations on participation numbers. We expect this to continue to be the case and in fact for restrictions to be eased in the coming weeks as (hopefully) the 3rd wave numbers start to drop. We will obviously keep everyone posted of any developments in this regard.
For those of you who are new to the Runtheberg experience, our popular Pre-Race Briefing emails provide an important source of race information and cover a wide range of topics such as race prep, travel & logistics, and the race weekend itself. In this first Pre-Race Briefing we touch on things that should help in these last few weeks before the race, hopefully giving you all enough time to plan, prepare and purchase as necessary. As always, should anybody have any questions not addressed in the briefings, we ask that you feel free to contact us at any time.
If you have entered online but not yet paid please be aware that your entry is not yet confirmed. To complete entries please just go into your entry online (the same way you entered in the first place using your ID number) and follow the Proceed to Payment instructions.
At this point we are balancing our capacity with the covid restrictions, and there are still entries available for both Challenge and Extreme races. Once entries are closed all unpaid entries fall away.
Check out our dedicated covid-19 refund policy here
2. Compulsory & Recommended Equipment
This is something we take very seriously at Runtheberg. Many of you will be aware of the disaster that occurred at a trail race in China this year, where we were tragically reminded of the consequences of inadequate or unenforced safety protocols. You will be running in real mountains, and as every experienced trail runner knows, they can be unpredictable and dangerous. Having the right gear or item of safety equipment at the right time could literally mean the difference between life and death. That space blanket or rain jacket that seems redundant when you’re packing or even on the bright sunlit morning of the race could just save your life when the weather turns fast on the mountain or you lose the trail and get lost or fall and injure yourself. There is a comprehensive weather-graded list of required equipment on our website. Please familiarise yourself with this list and ensure that you have everything that you may need. There will be random compulsory equipment kit checks at the Start and at various points on the trails. Anybody seen to be visibly not carrying any item of compulsory equipment at the start will not be permitted to start; similarly anybody visibly not carrying any item of compulsory equipment at any point on the course will be pulled off and not permitted to continue; similarly anybody found at the finish to not be carrying any item of compulsory equipment will be sanctioned in the race organiser’s discretion, which sanction may include disqualification.
Headphones: We have been fairly lenient with this in the past but in line with World Athletics rules and most of the big international trail events we are making it clear that the wearing of headphones at any point on the Runtheberg course is not permitted for safety reasons. Anybody seen by any race official to be using headphones on the course will be warned, and repeat offenders may be disqualified.
3. Race Hydration & Nutrition
Water Tables will be placed the same as always (see Maps & Profiles here ) BUT due to covid protocols they will not be the social smorgasboards that Runthebergers have enjoyed in the past. They will be basic water-drops. We will make sure that every runner has access to more than enough water along the route, so you need only carry a minimum of the compulsory amounts required (see above) or enough to get you to the next water table. But you will need to be self-sufficient as far as nutrition goes. Please make sure you have enough food to get you through your race, whether you’re a light snacker or a full feaster. Sweepers will be carrying some extra energy gels in case of emergencies, but if you run out of food up there it’s going to be a long day out.
Carry your own: In line with both covid-19 protocols and global trends towards environmental consciousness at trail events, Runtheberg is proudly a “Carry Your Own” event. What this means is that we will not have cups of any sort at the Water Tables. Runners will be required to carry their own portable / collapsible cups and/or flasks, bladders or other containers that they will be able to drink from and refill.
4. Runtheberg Community Shoe Drive
Most of you know this already but here is a reminder – together with some of the local running community leaders we will be collecting running shoes for the benefit of the development runners in the region. We all know how those old running shoes pile up in our cupboards, and these guys really do make good use of them. Please start putting those shoes aside now – trail shoes, road runners, cross-trainers, the lot – and don’t forget to bring them down with you on race weekend. We have also received many requests about old running clothing – the answer is easy, if you have any old running kit in any kind of reasonable form, bring it down! It will also get a new lease on life and be very appreciated by the runners down here.
If you haven’t booked your accommodation you had better get on it. Check out the Accommodation Page on our website for additional info
6. Training Tip #1
We are proud that the usual Runtheberg field of runners ranges from some of the most experienced and accomplished trail runners in the country to road runners who are completely new to the joys and demands of trail running. As such, some of you may know a lot of the training and race tips that we will be sharing from time to time, but hopefully some of you may find them useful. Here is Tip #1 – train with your hydration pack. As any trail runner who has run for more than a couple of hours with their pack knows, it really helps to have your back, neck and shoulders conditioned to the carry. This is even becoming a thing for road runners as more and more road events go green and require participants to be more self-sufficient and less reliant on those awful plastic sachets. We actually recommend that you estimate how much weight you will be carrying on race day, and add a couple of kilograms for training runs. It is also important to get comfortable with your pack in terms of sizing, strapping, zips and pockets, and the actual hydration refill system – you don’t want to be finding stuff out on race day!
7. Training Tip #2
Climbing! As expected with true mountain running, you should expect some nice climbing at Runtheberg. As such, the more that climbing is a big part of your race training program the better prepared you will be. Unfortunately many of us live in cities or in places where there are not a lot of natural climbing options, but as they say where there’s a will there’s a way. Stairs, either outdoors in naturally hilly suburbs like Westcliff in JHB, or in actual multi-storey buildings, are one way to work those quads. Another way would be to take advantage of one or more of the various step machines available at most gyms. But one way or another make it happen – you will be grateful come race day!
That’s it for now. Happy trail training!