The changes were unpacked in a newsletter to the trail runners this week explaining that the new plan was largely driven by requests from runners for logistical convenience, and an ongoing drive to maximise the natural surroundings close to the Drakensberg mountains.
“Every year we listen and ask runners what we can do better, and it was a common concern from participants that they had to hurry back to Underberg to check out of their accommodation because the trail runs start early in the day,” explains Sani Spoors’ Pierre Horn.
“There was also a consistent request to start and finish at the same venue to enable runners to drive to the start and then not have to rely on a driver or a second or the use of a shuttle service,” he added.
The 2021 trail run will now start and finish at the Swartberg road bridge base on both days of both the Euro Steel Run The Rivers and the shorter Run The Rivers Lite races.
Horn said that the second stage would now stay in the area of the upper uMzimkhulu valley that runners have grown to enjoy on the first stage, and will now include new trails that take them up onto the escarpment to enjoy running towards the mountains.
He added that their new plan, which had been formulated after last year’s event coincidentally contributes to the broader plan in place for the FNB Drak Adventure Weekend events to be fully compliant with the COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
“The trail runs start early in the day to take advantage of the cooler weather conditions, which keeps these races separate from the paddlers and the mountain bikers,” said Horn.
“The added bonus this year is that the trail run will not be utilising the same tracks as the MTB riders on the specific day and all runners should be finished prior to the riders finishing the MTB and canoeing race, which will ensure we don’t have to worry about the 500 person limit on outside gatherings.”
Horn said the trail designers were excited to take the snowballing field of runners onto the new trails, many of which link the well-manicured Sani Spoors trails with new trails cut along cattle and eland paths on the surrounding hillsides.
The organisers confirmed this week that there were only 126 places left in the main Euro Steel Run The Rivers trail run available, as the Run the Rivers continues to have the biggest year-on-year growth of the three sporting events in Underberg that make up the FNB Drak Adventure Weekend.
The Euro Steel Run The Rivers trail run in partnership with FNB takes place in Underberg on 30 and 31 January 2021. More information can be found at www.drakadventure.co.za.
Euro Steel Run the Rivers in partnership with FNB Trail Run
Day 1: Saturday 30 January 2021 – 24km
Day 2: Sunday 31 January 2021 – 21km
R500 for both days.
Euro Steel Run the Rivers Lite in partnership with FNB Trail Run
Day 1: Saturday 30 January 2021 – 14km
Day 2: Sunday 31 January 2021 – 8km
R500 for both days.