Race Report: Emily Clarke – Wolkberg Trail Challenge

As I meandered through the evolving landscape from Nelspruit through Sabie, Blyde River, Hoedspruit and then up the Magoebaskloof to Stanford Lake College on Friday, I played through my race preparation and training and was filled with anxiety. From the peak of fear as I arrived at race briefing I talked myself down to acceptance that the race was going to 1) hurt 2) be fantastic training both physically and mentally 3) take me to stunning places and 4) give me an opportunity to engage with trail runners, who are by default fantastic people. All round win and my fear was exchanged for excitement. 

Day one was a brutal 40km fight with myself from the Canopy Tours up the Iron Crown… and every other mountain in Limpopo… in some ominous conditions. I settled into a steady rhythm and embraced the icy breeze and sheets of mist. The descents and single tracks lit a fire in me and the route flowed from the top of the Crown all the way back to Stanford Lake College and the finish line. 

As I rolled out of bed on day 2, I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to run another 25km. Needless to say, the sun was shining, and the organizers had mercy on us. The route was flat and fun with an abundance of aid stations and motivating spectators. 

Participating in the Wolkberg Challenge was an absolute privilege. It met and surpassed all my expectations, especially the first one! Many thanks to Steve, Marc and the crew for a flawless event and the opportunity to experience the diversity of the Magoebaskloof. Wow! I will definitely be back!

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