Day 1 saw us completing a circular route which involved some unbelievably steep climbs and descents along the rather technical 27km route. The views were absolutely awe-inspiring and the scenery spectacular.
Day 2 saw the athletes exploring parts of the park not accessible to the public and known fondly as ‘Little Serengeti.’ After cresting the first of many hills (okay, mountains!) to come, we were rewarded with wide expanses of open grassland teeming with herds of black wildebeest, red hartebeest, Burchell’s zebra, eland, baboons and other game. The well-stocked refreshment tables were a welcome relief for all the athletes as they wound their way along the 27km route.
Day 3 involved a 4am start in pitch darkness, requiring us all to run with headlamps. The lightening sky at dawn was surreal as we made our way up to the highest point on the route, just over halfway on the 17km route. The rising sun gave the whole area a warm glow and one felt extremely tiny in the vastness of it all. After admiring the impressive surroundings, the extreme descent back to the start for a celebratory champagne breakfast saw the end of what was a most incredible trail running experience for the whole group.
A race ‘village’ consisting of one-man tents was set up for athletes and a full catering service was provided as well, including a 24-hour snack and coffee bar. A team of physiotherapists was available after each day’s running, and after the rough beating our bodies took on the race course, almost every athlete made use of this superb service!
This trail run is one of the Wild Series events hosted by the Wildlands Conservation Trust, so part of the entry fee goes towards projects promoting the conservation of the endangered Bearded Vulture.