Golden Couple

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

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

Give the Forest Run Facebook
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

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