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TRAIL Mail #29: Friday 31 July 2020

Win a TRAIL digital subscription.
Carla sets new LEJOG record in UK.
Vote about socially distanced events.

In this issue (click the category to save scrolling):

  1. From the Editors. Win subscriptions. My plummeting VO2 Max.
  2. Photo of the week. Poetry in Motion on Mont Rochelle.
  3. News. World record, local FKTs, and Nontu goes beyond for school children!
  4. Funny. If the world was a wish-granting factory, we'd want this.
  5. Trail Poll. Just how ready are you for races to come back?
  6. Calendar. List your event on our free online calendar. More virtual events.
  7. Gear. Want protection, want cushioning? Check out the Brooks Caldera 4 trail shoe.
  8. Competition. Win Polar Grit X and First Ascent gear worth R15,000. Enter today!
  9. TRAIL digital. Back issues on special. Read issue 36 on multiple devices.


Win a TRAIL subscription.

Grateful. Why? Lots of reasons, but a big one is that I can run again. A dropped kitchen knife severed my big toe's main tendon on 31 March and made lockdown even more restrictive. I'm back on track. Recently I walked 2km barefoot on tar, and ran about 300m. I don't need to tell you how good it feels to run again after an injury, do I?

If you haven't downloaded the latest issue of TRAIL yet, do our non-reader survey before 10am on Monday and you could win a four-issue digital subscription. Winner announced on Twitter at 2pm on Monday.

Last thing: we're at work on issue 37, out at the end of September, so please send us your photos and stories. And if you're looking for a commercial boost for your product, service, or event, reply to this email to discuss your best options.

Enjoy this newsletter, and your weekend. Happy trails!

Deon Braun, TRAIL publisher


Did you watch your VO2 max plummet during hard lockdown? I did! It was so discouraging after reaching a new fitness peak... But now, with many speed and hill sessions under my belt, I have reclaimed my VO2 max. Credit to all those Coach Neville training articles I've read over the years!

Have you found your trail mojo? Did it never leave in the first place? If you've achieved something you didn't think was possible, then maybe your experience will inspire others. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Heloise Hunter, TRAIL associate editor

We loved seeing your photos on Monday's Trail Trophy Facebook thread.

In our favourite this week, Samantha Holtzhausen experiences “poetry in motion” after a difficult time at work as a cardiorespiratory physiotherapist. Sam and her husband Jamie ran loops around the beautiful Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve. 

Read about her and four other trail running, COVID-fighting heroes in TRAIL 36!

Her photo may appear in a future TRAIL issue – and so could yours.

Share your lockdown trail running #TrailTrophies on Facebook and Twitter at any time. Use that hashtag and #trailmagpix on Instagram and Twitter when you tag us. Or email us. Be sure to tell us a bit about your run for the caption. (Please note: event photographer images aren't printed.)

Prefer words? Write a letter instead. Your opinions, life-changing experiences, happy and sad memories, and reflections on our sport are waiting to be shared with the community. If your letter is published, you'll receive a pair of run-specific Feetures socks.

photo Andrea Molinaro

New LEJOG record

Carla Molinaro has set a new Land's End to John O’Groats FKT. She spent exactly 12 days, 30 minutes, and 14 seconds covering 874 miles (1,406km). She broke the previous women's record of 12d11h6min7s (set by Sharon Gayter in 2019) by 10 hours 35 minutes and 53 seconds. 

Carla is a British road and trail runner who spent decades living in Johannesburg. She completed the run on 28 July and said: "That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life, but battling the brutal winds and rain for 24 hours, and trying to stay awake all night made finishing this morning bloody worth it!"

Land's End to John O' Groats is the route along the length of Great Britain's southwest and northeast points. The Wikipedia page is yet to be updated with Carla's achievement.

Reilly sits on top

TRAIL 21 cover athlete Kane Reilly is currently sitting on top of two Cape Town leaderboards. He set the 30km Golden Segment route with Meg Mackenzie on 9 July, and their shared time of 3h35min is still quicker than the four challengers who have run it since. Will you be the one to dominate that 30km across Table Mountain, and be whisked away to the Golden Trail Finale at the Azores Trail Run? You have until 1 October...

In the Gone2Gone 21km FKT across Table Mountain, Kane and Hayley Preen set new best times on Wednesday 29 July. The new men's time to beat is 1h31min11s, and the new women's FKT is 1h45min28s. Hayley was knocked off top spot by Toni McCann 18 July, but is now the only woman in the top 10 overall.

Go Beyond For a Child success!

Nontuthuko Mgabhi has continued her fundraising efforts to support the learners at Khiphinkunzi Primary School and their families.

"To date, we have been able to raise R58,253 through our Backabuddy campaign from your donations.

"The funds assisted us in acquiring essential masks for the primary school students and purchasing of food parcels which were distributed per child for their families.

"The epidemic continues to stifle the community as many have been without work, and the growing concerns of the children’s safety and many families livelihoods, still remain as our priority.

"We are still trying to assist through our Go Beyond For A Child initiative by providing more food parcels and eventually completing the Khiphinkunzi School extension."

You can still donate!

There had better be a mattress at the bottom of Westcliff Steps!

Comment on the original post on Facebook.

Socially distanced trail running events with small fields and/or staggered starts in the coming months... How safe/confident would you be to do them in our current pandemic reality?

Tell us in our polls on Facebook or Twitter.

There are several active virtual events on our web calendar. Join in before it's too late!

Look out for trail events later in the year when you scroll to the bottom of our web calendar. A highlight is the Heaven and Hell Mountain Marathon (23-24 September) in Rhodes, EC. There are 5km, 8km, 14km, 22km, 44km, and 88km routes. Pure, brutal wilderness mountain run in the isolated southern Drakensberg. Only two people have ever finished the 44km. The new 88km has 7,510m of vert! It's organised by TRAIL 31 cover athlete Hylton Dunn.

If you organise an event that is a virtual one, or will be legal to host safely under current COVID-19 restrictions, please tell us if and when it is happening. We want to list you in our coming issue.

Since there will be few events to report on in our next issue 37 (on sale in the last week of September), we will be focusing mostly on your FKTs and adventures. Please email Heloise details of your independent solo adventures. You can send images once she's confirmed she's keen to feature your story. Yes, you could be in our next issue.

HAVE YOU ENTERED YET? The new Polar Grit X is an uncompromising combination of rugged and durable design, top training features, and the ultimate training platform. It retails for R8,995.

To enter, visit the competition page and scroll down to click on the widget below the image of three Polar Grit X units. It might take a few seconds for the widget to load, so don't scroll too fast or you'll miss it! Points are earned for each platform or entry method you successfully complete.

Gain three points this week by retweeting this post.

We're doing this competition a little differently, to reward the real fans of Polar (and the magazine!). At 9am every Tuesday, there will be a new entry option on the competition page. It will yield three points for that week. After that, it will drop to one point. So you gather more points by entering in the initial week for each option.

When you refresh the competition page, the app will show you how many entries you have accumulated, and which entries were successful.

You're not in the draw until you enter. Why not do that right now?

ISSUE 36 SURVEY: We're delighted to collaborate with top local brand First Ascent. They're sponsoring our first reader survey of 2020 and will reward two readers with a combined R6,000 in gear.

But the bigger picture is that their survey will help us improve your reading experience for the next issue.

Bottom line: You'll need to read TRAIL 36 and let us know what you liked and didn't like through our reader survey. The link is only in the magazine, so look out for it on page 5.

Miss previous issues of TRAIL? You can get all our back issues for the low price of R30 each, on the Zinio website or through the TRAIL app for Android or Apple.

Our 36th issue is our first all-digital issue. We hope you love its 188 pages of trail running inspiration, with a complete redesign to improve readability on both small and large screens. You'll find that the depth of articles has increased too. We plan to further improve the depth and scope of articles in issue 37 and beyond.

You can purchase TRAIL 36 worldwide through Amazon, App Store, Google Play, Zinio, and Magzter.

*If you buy through the App Store or Google Play, note that subscriptions are forward-based. This means that if you sign up today, your first issue will be the next edition, not the current one. It's not what we'd like, but that is how their system works.

Solution: Please first purchase issue 36 as a standalone issue, and subscribe for issues 37 and later separately.

If you want print back copies of issues 1 to 35, please email us for pricing.



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