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2022 Newsletter #1

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Long Trails Addition

Trail Raid 100 Leg 1 – The Beauty and the Beast

This promises to be one of the most exhilarating trail running sections you will ever do.

From the start, at Tranquilitas, runners will literally dive into the Joubertspruit Valley until they reach the bottom at Rocky Drift Nature Reserve. When you get to the N4 you will feel like you are going back in time as you make your way through the old railway tunnel and onto the ancient steel bridge that crosses the Elands River.

The Zongororo river and mountain trails will take you into the railway ‘horseshoe’ loop, and you will exit the loop via another tunnel. From here you will traverse up the old Coach Road that was used by settlers to deliver post between Barberton and Lydenburg.

From the top of the escarpment, you will follow an isolated cement Jeep track into the Swartkoppies gorge. ‘Cement’ implies very steep. Once you’ve reached the bottom, you will cross the river into Sappi forestry areas. You will cross the river again below the waterfall, knowing that King Fisher Lodge with food and supporters is a mere 100 (vertical) meters away!

This leg will take longer than the average 25 km run... not only because of the scenery!

Trail Raid 160 Leg 1 – Into the void…

An easy and idyllic start in Kaapsehoop before the epic kicks in. You will make use of the escarpment to guide you with faraway views in all directions.

Expect some forestry roads, horse trails and tarred sections before and after you crossed the N4 at Ngodwana. From here the route navigates the Sappi forests on forestry roads. A waterpoint at Houtboshoek will be a crucial recharge point for the next 15 km | 1000m stretch until you reach the food station at Excalibur Lodge.

The next 25 kays will be easy on your legs, but the focus will be on navigating the hypnotic forestry roads with nightfall approaching quickly. There will not be no room for error. You will join the 100 kays route at the halfway mark. Shortly thereafter you will cross the Swartkoppies River below the waterfall, knowing that King Fisher Lodge with food and supporters is a mere 100 (vertical) meters away!

Trail Raid 100|160 Leg 2 – Night Shift

This 40 km leg will be the night shift for everybody. Navigation shouldn’t be too difficult if you stick to the farm, forestry and district roads all the way to the Dullies turn-off at 2000 meters ASL.

From Dullies there is only one way down using the old oxen wagon transport trail into the isolated Donkerhoek valley. Once in the valley, you will follow the Crocodile River downstream for about 10 kays until you get to Verlorenkloof Lodge where some much-needed food, your cache and possibly a couple of supporters will await you.

Trail Raid 100|160 Leg 3 – The Morning Glory, or Glorious Morning…?

You need to recharge before you start the final leg of this epic journey. Robins Kloof is the 'Barkley Marathon' of the Trail Raid – it spelled the end for many Raid Runners that underestimated this monstrous climb in the past.

Those that make it to the top might enjoy the early morning sunrise (or mist) hanging over the Kwena Basin as you make your way to World's End. Another tough descend awaits trail runners into Kareekraal Kloof at Highland Gate. From here it will be uphill through the kloof, all the way to the Highland Gate feeding station.

The home stretch will take the last bit of energy as you make your way to Holingsberg at 2100 meters ASL - the highest point on the race. From here it will be you and the undulating Highlands until you turn into Robsons and its labyrinth bush tunnels and Bush Chapel, knowing that the finish line is less than a kay away.

Profile & Elevation

100 Milers should expect a total elevation gain of nearly 5000 meters… some will do more if they miss-navigate a forestry turn-off or contour road.

The 100 kays runner will cover more than 3000 meters vertical. But not much more…


For a Fatmap flyover of each leg, click here:

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