Local and international trail legends tackle the Grail of Trail
The evening of Thursday 4 September was the launch of the 2014 edition of the Otter Trail Run, the most prestigious one-day trail running event on the African continent. The launch, hosted at the Two Oceans aquarium in Cape Town, set the stage for what is widely referred to as “The Grail of Trail” taking place later this month.
The Otter takes place backdrop of the Tsitsikamma forest on South Africa’s most renowned hiking trail. Since it’s inception in 2009, the Otter has firmly established itself as a flagship event on the international trail running calendar, and the calibre of athletes who descend on the Tsitsikamma later this month reflect that.
The event is again headlined by trail running world champion and 2013 winner Ricky Lightfoot from the United Kingdom.
In addition, South African trail running legends like Ryan Sandes, Kane Riley, Landie Greyling and AJ Calitz will be tackling the run. In 2012, a unique concept was introduced to the Otter, in that the race alternates in direction every year, creating at East-West run (CLASSIC) and a West-East run (RETTO – ‘Otter’ spelled backwards). The 2014 Otter will see the second edition of the RETTO run being held.
Another exciting element introduced by race organisers this year is a bonus of R100,000 to any athlete who goes under the four-hour mark.
Race director Mark Collins elaborates:
“Each and every year, the records at Otter keep tumbling. We are seeing athletes pushing themselves to the peak of human performance. We would love to see a sub 4-hour Otter, something we previously though to be unthinkable, but our athletes keep surprising us!”
Ex-Protea Mark Boucher will be running the Otter this year in support of his Castle Lager Boucher Legacy Foundation, which raises funds for the prevention of Rhino Poaching. Boucher expressed his excitement at being a part of this year’s event:
“I heard about the Otter Trail Run and the thought of running it excited me. I have always been a runner and have a very competitive edge. I’m looking forward to the challenge and at the same time raising awareness around something that is very important to South Africa at the moment.”
Report by Kieren Jacobsen