My first trail run, a humbling affair

Enjoying a fantastic evening as dusk settles in the Free State during the Castle Lite trail league.

Enjoying a fantastic evening as dusk settles in the Free State during the Castle Lite trail league.

This morning when I walked into the office, I made a sincere attempt to hide the limp which I woke up with this morning. It was a reminder of the Pure Adventures Castle Lite Trail Run I did last night.

Now understand I am a mountain biker by heart, and running does not seem to come naturally to me. I was talked into this by a mate of mine and Tiaan, our editor, encouraged it since I was the only one who hadn’t joined the multi-sport fraternity.

I decided to do 2 of the 3 laps offered, which was already twice the distance I’ve tried to master the last couple of weeks; and that was done on the road, not over gravel roads between bushes and over rocky climbs, not to mention in the dark.

The one thing I’ve learned: when attempting a sport always get the right equipment, but as the light started to fade I realized that night trail running can not be done without a head light, which I forgot in my rush to be on time.

The first lap started with a bit of a rush as the 60 odd runners pushed for a place before going into the single track, something I can definitely relate to being a mountain biker. But I soon realized this was much tougher than I originally thought it would be.

As we went over our first rocky obstacle about 2km into the first lap my lungs was burning, my feet and calves were cramping, and walking seemed to be a very good idea. I learned that even in mountain biking walking is nothing to be ashamed of.

It was when a 12 year old girl all dressed in pink and a 60+ lady sped past me that I realized my walking might have turned into a slow forward stumble. As the pink blur disappeared between the bushes into the now almost complete darkness, I picked up the pace again.

Halfway through the race I met up with another runner, who prefers skydiving from running, but recons the sport helps with his complete fitness. Together we passed the midway point and started the second lap much slower, but somehow with much more ease.

I managed to complete the second lap with much less walking (definitely less stumbling) and even caught up with the 12 year old pink-dressed speed freak. It seemed that I was discovering the Comrades runner within me just as we finished, now in complete darkness.

My skydiving companion not only shared his headlight with me, but made sure he had a couple of cold ones on ice to enjoy after crossing the finish line.

My first trail run was a fantastic experience. Thanks to the guys from Pure Adventure who arranged a brilliant event and made sure that I will most probably be at the next one in August.

The Muddy Cyclist