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Media Release: Local runners gear up for Addo 50mile Trail Run

10 March 2011

The trails runs are both gruelling and incredibly scenic, taking runners through some of the wildest and most picturesque parts of the Addo Elephant National Park’s Zuurberg and Kabouga areas.

Michael Hendricks, Klaas Oliphant and Michael Mnyugula will be tackling the 25mile course while John Stokwe and Vuyisile Benzi will be attempting the 50mile trail run. The local runners all hail from the Moses Mabida and Aquapark townships in Kirkwood, near to the Park’s Kabouga gate.

South African National Parks (SANParks) has sponsored entry fees and running shirts for the runners while the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees has donated their running shoes and shorts.

 A total of 107 runners have registered for the 25mile trail run while 45 have registered for the 50mile trail run ahead of Saturday’s event.

The trail runs, now in their seventh year, have also attracted international interest with Mirjana Pellizzer from Croatia competing in the 50mile trail run and Kay Vogelhubert from Germany competing in the 25mile run.

Hylton Dunn, who won the 50Mile run in 2009 and placed second in the 2010 run, is back again. This year, Dunn will be competing against Dirk Cloete who has won the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon for two years running.  Will Robinson, last year’s 50mile run winner, will also be taking part.

The trail runs kick off at six am at The Lookout in Kirkwood, with the 25mile run ending at the Zuurberg Mountain Inn and the 50mile run ending at the Park’s main restcamp.

Runners will not have to dodge any of the Park’s famed elephants or lions but will be running through areas where wildlife such as ostrich, kudu, red hartebeest, mountain zebra and bushbuck occur.

Over the years, the trail runs have only seen one incident of a contestant physically encountering a wild animal when Leo Rust was ‘run over’ by an ostrich in the 2008 trail run. The encounter left both parties a little stunned but free of injury and Rust went on to finish the memorable trail run in men’s third place.

The trail runs expose the contestants to a varied, rugged terrain and three of the Park’s five biomes: thicket, fynbos and forest. Runners must negotiate steep inclines, stream crossings, rocky surfaces, grassy plateaus and descents into valleys.

The trail runs are expected to cause little disturbance to regular Park visitors.

Issued by:    
South African National Parks

Megan Taplin, Regional Communications Manager, Addo Elephant * Camdeboo * Karoo * Mountain Zebra National Parks, Tel: 083 6508649 or (042) 233 8609, E-mail: