Race Info No 1

Together with Salomon and SANParks, Magnetic South welcomes you to the GRAIL of TRAIL – RETTO 2018!

GOLDEN TRAIL SERIES.. AN AMBITIOUS NEW SERIES WITH A GOLDEN START LIST!

As you certainly know by now – the OTTER was chosen to be the Final Event of the 2018 Golden Trail Series – brought to you by Salomon. The Golden Trail Series is proud to announce the list of incredible athletes confirmed to take part in the series that’s already being hailed as a groundbreaking success and a revolution in the world of elite trail running.. read more

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT YOURSELF INTO?

If you didn’t know it by now, you have entered one of the most challenging marathon distance Trail Runs around. For those of you who have done an Otter/Retto Run/Challenge before you will have a good idea of what to expect although, be warned, the Otter hates complacency.  For those of you who are doing an Otter Run for the first time however, you may be in for a surprise.

Feedback we receive from previous participants indicates that the majority of runners, even the seasoned trail runners, do find this event harder than anticipated. This is especially true for those who are not accustomed to trail running. As it is, this route is on the upper end of the scale in terms of technical difficulty and the numerous climbs also make it comparable with the bigger mountain runs of the world in terms of altitude gained per meter traversed. Bottom line; you need to prepare for the Otter as you would for any of the world’s iconic endurance events and you further need to tailor your training to prepare you to face the challenges of technical running and steep ascents and descents.

We do not get any gratification out of punting the Otter Run or Challenge as the toughest or most extreme event ever, it is not. For a start, it is a good deal shorter in distance and duration than the ultras and technically the course cannot be compared to the wild-country trekking sections traversed in proper adventure races. What the Otter Run has proved itself to be however, is a real and brutal test of true trail running ability for the marathon distance and the balanced nature of the route is the reason why it is widely regarded as the marathon distance yardstick by top trail runners.

HOW DOES THE RETTO DIFFER FROM THE CLASSIC EDITION?
Although the two races essentially follow the same trail, the Otter Trail, the course for the Retto differs from that of the Classic Edition in a number of ways and some theorise that it makes the challenges posed by the two races completely different, even to the extent of suiting athletes with different strengths.

  • Firstly, the start to the Retto is much faster and on open trail and runners begin by running directly into the glare of the sunrise.
  • Then the swim across the Bloukrans River is done in the first quarter of the event and not in the last like it is on the Classic.
  • The climbs on the Retto are longer but with gentler gradients whilst the descents are steeper.

Finally and most significantly, one of the most technical sections of the trail is near the end and has to be negotiated on fatigued legs.

RACE RULES AND COMPULSORY EQUIPMENT

You need to familiarize yourself with the race rules and particularly with the list of compulsory equipment required for the main race. The list of compulsory equipment you will have to carry on the actual race is determined by the Weather Alert Level. Five Weather Alert Levels are defined three of which (I-III) dictate a differing list of compulsory gear. Your compulsory gear will be checked at the Compulsory Gear Check at Registration and you will be accredited for participation up to a certain Weather Alert Level. If you do not have the gear for a specific Weather Alert Level you will not be able to participate should the event be staged under that Weather Alert Level.

The List of compulsory gear is available on the Otter website.

DATES TO DIARISE:

THE CHALLENGE

Wednesday 17 October 2018

•    10h00 to 16h00 Registration – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp
•    10H30 to 16h30 Prologue
•    17h30 Race Briefing  – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp

Thursday 18 October 2018

•    04h30 Breakfast  – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp ( pre-bookings only )
•    05h00 Vehicle transfer to Start from  Storms River Mouth Rest Camp to Natures Valley, De Vasselot Campsite ( no charge )
•    05h45 Briefing at Start of Race – Natures Valley, De Vasselot Campsite
•    06h00-06h30 Race Start – Natures Valley
•    11h30 First Runners expected to finish – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp
•    17h30 Medal Cut Off (11 hours from the last start)
•    18h00 Dinner – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, The Cattle Baron Restaurant
•    20h00 Prize Giving Ceremony – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp

THE RUN

Friday 19 October 2018

•    10h00 to 16h00 Registration – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp
•    10H30 to 16h30 Prologue
•    17h30 Race Briefing – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp

Saturday 20 October 2018

•    05h30 Breakfast – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp ( pre-bookings only )
•    06h00 Vehicle transfer to Start from  Storms River Mouth Rest Camp to Natures Valley, De Vasselot Campsite ( no charge )
•    06h45 Briefing at Start of Race – Natures Valley, De Vasselot Campsite
•    07h00-07h30 Race Start – Natures Valley
•    10h45 First Runners expected to finish – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp
•    15h00 Medal Cut Off (8 hours from last start)
•    18h00 Dinner – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, The Cattle Baron Restaurant
•    20h00 Prize Giving Ceremony – Storms River Mouth Rest Camp

COMPETITOR LOGISTICS & ACCOMMODATION                                 
Our base of operations including; Registration, The Prologue Run, Briefings, Finish Line and the After Race Dinners will be located at the Storms River Campsite in Tsitsikamma Section of the GRNP on the Eastern side of the Park for this year’s Retto Edition of Otter.

PLEASE NOTE: !!! Unlike in previous years we will NOT facilitate accommodation bookings through the OTTER online shop.  In order to keep accommodation costs as low as possible it will be best for you to book your accommodation directly with the park.
SANParks have block booked all units in the park exclusively for Otter participants for a limited period,from 3 -17 April 2018. Thereafter all accommodation will be available to the public – so make sure you secure your booking during the first week of April!
To book accommodation in the park, please contact Hesron or Natasha at the SANParks Office directly on +27 42 281 1607.

Your conservation fee is included in your entry fee for the 2 event days. All Otter participants do not have to pay the conservation fee when they book accommodation. If any family or friends are joining you (on the day or overnight), their conservation fees are for your own account.

MEALS
Pre-race Dinner.
 Please book directly with the park restaurant, The Cattle Baron (+27) 42 281 1190 / (+27) 62 351 7768
Pre-Race Breakfast. There will be a  Pre-Race breakfast in the morning of the race. Pre-bookings via The Otter Shop
Award Ceremony Dinner. The award ceremony dinner will be held at the Central Race Hub in Storms River Mouth Rest Camp.  The dinner for athletes is part of your entry fee and does not have to be booked! However if you wish to bring a partner to dinner, you would need to pre-book. Limited tickets available via The Otter Shop

SHUTTLES AND TRANSPORT
Note that the organisation provides transport from the Storms River Camp Site to the start of the races at Natures Valley. You are welcome to travel in your own vehicles to the start of the race but must make your own arrangements for your vehicle to be picked up.

VOLUNTEERS
If any of your friends or family are not Marathon distance runners but still want to be part of the OTTER African Trail Run and the Golden Series, they now have the chance to do so. Volunteers can put their name down for one of the few volunteer positions and they will get the chance not only to mingle among the world’s best trail runners – they will also be part of one of the world’s finest Event teams. Depending on interest, fitness level and skill sets they can apply for a field position or be part of the HQ/Registration team.

Volunteer candidates are required to apply using an online application form. The application process will remain open with the first round of selections taking place in April for the event taking place in October.Apply here.

SALOMON RACE SHIRTS
If you have not bought a Salomon Race Shirt while completing your Retto entry, you can now buy a shirt via the Otter online shop ( limited stock available ).
Race Shirts may be purchased to wear instead of the Race Bib. Race Shirts will be personalised with your race number. If you wear a rain jacket (or similar) over the race shirt the Race Bibmust be worn on the outside.

WEATHER ALERT LEVELS
The Weather Alert Level under which the race will be run is determined by the race Safety Officer on the evening prior to the race. The determined Weather Alert Level is announced at race briefing. Note that a Weather Alert Level IV will result in a course change and Weather Alert Level V will result in a cancellation of the event. Note that the team making the decisions on the Weather Alert Levels is amongst the most experienced outdoor athletes in the country and are familiar with the local conditions in the Tsitsikamma. These decisions will only be taken in the interest of your safety.

EVENT CANCELLATION

Should the event be cancelled due to a Weather Alert Level V or due to an imminent wild fire danger or any other factor that affects the safety of participants there will be no refunding of entry fees.
Full Event Cancellation policy can be found here

ILLEGAL TRESPASSING ON THE OTTER TRAIL

Please understand that the Otter Trail is an operating Wilderness Trail and that only twelve permitted hikers are allowed to start the five day hiking trail per day. As such trail running on the trail outside of the organised event is not possible. SANParks identified illegal trespassing on the Otter Trail as the biggest threat to the continuation of the Otter Run or any kind of trail running within the park. We have had no reports of this happening and have agreed to assist in communicating the parks policies on this matter to our participants. We will have no hesitation in reporting to them anyone who selfishly compromises the goodwill trail running has garnered from our National Parks.

You are in for the run of your life!! Despite its many brutal challenges, running The Otter is absolutely awesome! The Retto poses a few challenges – only a few people in the world have the ability and inclination to even attempt such a challenge. You are one of them and we can’t wait to see you in the Tsitsikamma in October.

Take care and enjoy some solid base training during autumn!
Your OTTER team