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At the media launch of the Otter African Trail Run 2012

Wednesday night saw the media launch of the 2012 Otter Trail Run held at the 2 Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. With the predator’s exhibit as a backdrop, I couldn’t help myself thinking how fitting this slightly intimidating, yet thoroughly fascinating atmosphere was for Mark Collins to showcase the brainchild of his events company, Magnetic South.
The Otter Trail itself is unquestionably the most well-known hiking trail along the Garden Route of South Africa (from Storms River Mouth to Nature’s Valley) and is situated within the Tsitsikamma National Park, in the Eastern Cape. With bookings for this 5-day trail extending throughout the year to well over a year in advance, it is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent treasures along our eastern coastline. What a privilege then, to be able to run this same 42Km trail, that would otherwise be closed to running in the other 364 days of the year, in a single day through an event that the organisershave aptly dubbed “The Grail of Trail”
The route itself is an imposing beast that belies its standard marathon distance. For those not akin to the nuances of trail running I would foresee more than a few runners being lulled into a false expectation here and many times the comment was made that this is more akin to an ultra-marathon in toughness. With no fewer than 11 “significant” climbs and a total elevation gain of 2600 metres over the course, with 4 river crossings thrown in the mix, this truly is a challenge for any trail runner.

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Compiled by Roan Mackintosh from Roan Mackintosch on behalf of Go Trail magazine