01 Oct, 2013

AdventureLisa’s Forest Run, Mpumalanga, 9 March

AdventureLisa’s Forest Run, Mpumalanga, 9 March


Entries for the inaugural AdventureLisa Forest Run opened in mid-December and more than half of the 100 entry slots have already been filled. “I’ve kept the maximum entry number low because I love running events where I feel like I’m the only person out there,” says organiser Lisa De Speville. “As the field spreads, runners may find themselves running alone on pretty forest roads and trails, surrounded only by trees and the sound of their breathing. Total bliss!”


Forest Run will be held on a forest plantation near the town of Belfast in Mpumulanga. At 1900 metres above sea level, it’s a high altitude location, and the route is rolling, with gentle ascents and descents, and a total elevation gain of less than 1000 metres for the entire 62km course. “It’s a ‘friendly’ course, because there is no gnarly terrain underfoot and no nasties – like bone-jarring downhills or slow-slogging ups. Mid- to back-of-the-field runners will be on their feet for six to 12 hours,” says Lisa.


Over the past two months, she has received a number of questions from runners, and she answers them below.


I’ve never run more than 25km. Do you think I’d make it?

You’ve got two options. The first is to do the solo run, and you can walk parts of it. My guess is that the route can be run-walked in around 11 hours if you just keep moving. The less-intimidating alternative is to enter as a relay pair. The first runner will cover 35km and the second runner does 27km.


I’m a roadie and this is my first trail race. Do I need trail shoes?

You can do this race in your road shoes, but keep in mind that if it rains it could be quite sloshy and slippery, and road shoes don’t have the same traction as trail shoes. As far as the terrain goes, there is nothing on the route that will jab at the undersides of your feet.


Will there be a pre-race briefing?

Yes, on race day, you’ll need to check in and collect your race number between 5:30am and 6:40am, then I’ll do a quick race briefing. Make sure that you’ve read the race information page on the Forest Run website, because if you contravene these very basic requirements, you will unfortunately be banned from any future events that I organise.


I’d like to stay at Lakenvlei, but it is just me and my friend. How can we find other runners to fill an eight-sleeper chalet?

Give the Forest Run Facebook page a try (details below).


How long does it take to get to the race venue from Jo’burg?

It takes me 2.5 hours to drive to Belfast from Jo’burg (I’m near Gilloolies). The turn-off for Lakenvlei Lodge is 10km from Belfast, then there’s a 6km paved road leading down to the Lodge (the start).


Should I stay in Belfast, Dullstroom or at Lakenvlei Lodge?

The race venue, Lakenvlei Lodge, is convenient for race day, but coming through from Belfast, Dullstroom and other accommodation venues is easy, as Lakenvlei is situated between the two towns. Belfast is closer, but it doesn’t have many options for eating out, so Dullstroom would be a better option.


More info at or

Our Forest Journey


Modern Athlete will be represented at Forest Run by editor Michelle Carnegie and advertising executive Janice Pondicas, who will be tackling the route as a team.


Michelle Carnegie: Since the beginning of January I have added longer runs to my weekend training schedule, with my longest run so far being 26km. Part of my long run is on trails, which I absolutely love. I am focusing on speed sessions during the week as well as a weekly hill sessions. I am planning to run the Pick n Pay Half Marathon to ascertain my fitness level, and I am counting down the days to Forest Run! What fun it is going to be.


Janice Pondicas: In December I started doing gym and now incorporate a weight training session three times a week, as I need to improve my core and upper body strength, which is my greatest weakness. I have also started doing trail runs every Saturday and longer road runs of about 25km on a Sunday. My weekday runs consist of a lot of hill running, and I ran the Dis-Chem Half Marathon very comfortably. So far I am on track for Forest Run – just have to stay injury free!