Race Report: Michael Joubert – Drakensberg Northern Trail 2018

This weekend I did my first trail run in the Drakensberg. A long dream of mine after doing so many weekend hikes in the berg but have never run a trail there. The trail started at the Oliviershoek Pass close to the Sterkfontein Dam. From there we ran a 40km route with some 1600m of ascent. This trail run was as hard as it is beautiful.

It was raining almost the whole week and checking the weather predictions we saw luckily there was a bit of a gap in the weather for the Saturday of the race. The race started earlier with the wind still blowing strong and the mountains covered in mist.

As we set off for the race the ground was still wet and muddy and all the streams were overflowing. We ran most of the route with wet shoes. Every few minutes the thick mist will just clear up enough to see someone in front and the beautiful landscape that we ran in. I ran most of the way between 11th and 9th maybe starting a bit too fast without warming up properly and straining a bit. After some 6 kilometres in I started to run easily again and slowly starting to close the gap on the guys in front of me.

After the halfway mark the mist disappeared and we could see for miles, running on the ridgelines above the Sterkfontein Dam. At 10 kilometres to go the fatigue kicked in and I really started to struggle as I have never run this far before. Steadily making my way to the finish line I crossed it in 8th place in 4 hours and 45 minutes.

Although I felt broken afterwards I really want to come back and do it again. Thanks to my sponsors Team Nevarest, Keyhealth Medical Scheme, Toyota and First Ascent for making it possible to play in the mountains.