Monties more than just a mountain run

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In September, serious trail runners will line up yet again for the Old Mutual Wild Series Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge in the Royal Natal Park in KwaZulu-Natal.

One of the country’s must-do trail runs, the popular “Monties” sees participants tackle a grueling climb to the top of the Amphitheatre, reaching the high point at 3 100m above sea level, before heading back to the finish at Mahai Campsite along the same route. It’s brutal, yet beautiful.

One runner who knows what it takes to conquer the 50 km route is Nontuthuko Mashimane. “Monties is tough… but tough is what makes it so great,” she says.

“Last year was the experience of a lifetime for me. Running through rugged, stunning scenery was such a treat. The route to Mahai Valley and towards the escarpment, the climb up the chain ladder and tackling the Gully was all part of the great adventure that is Mont-Aux-Sources.”

Mashimane is no stranger to endurance running, and in the past year she has been actively involved with the #GOGREEN campaign.

A waste management and anti-littering partnership between Old Mutual, Wildlands and POLYCO, the campaign entails setting up large, clearly marked ‘Throw Zones’ along the routes of events like the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Comrades Marathon.

Runners are encouraged to dump their plastic waste in the ‘Throw Zones’. The waste is then sorted and baled. Multi-layered plastic is upcycled and turned into desks for schools in need across South Africa. The ‘More than Yourself’ platform helps to raise awareness and additional funds to promote this initiative.

#GOGREEN helps runners to play their part in reducing litter at races and encourages them to become environmentally conscious. It ties in perfectly with the Wild Series’ broader aim of conserving our natural surroundings for future generations.

“The Wild Series’ commitment to conservation makes these endurance events unique in South Africa,” says Old Mutual’s Chief Marketing Officer, Vuyo Lee. “By entering the Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge, for example, you contribute directly towards the Maloti-Drakensburg Vulture Project that works towards conserving the bearded vulture.”

“Every time you enter a Wild Series event, you are actively contributing to essential conservation projects in South Africa and in so doing enabling positive futures. By partnering with Wild Series on #GOGREEN, we can now support conservation and also provide a service through the upcycling of waste into much-needed school desks.”

Runners like Mashimane value this aspect of the Old Mutual Wild Series. “It’s such an educational adventure,” she says. “Monties and the other Wild Series events are more than just races, they are life-changing experiences. The conservation projects are amazing and to be able to run in restricted areas rarely accessed and seen by the public is extraordinary and humbling. It makes you really appreciate our beautiful country and everything it has to offer.”

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