The Attakwas Trail Run – a tale of two races.

Danette Smith on her way to 1st place in the Attakwas Extreme Trail Run. Photo: Oakpics
Danette Smith on her way to 1st place in the Attakwas Extreme Trail Run. Photo: Oakpics

I never made it to the start line of the Attakwas Extreme Trail Run. But all was not lost! My day started with being locked up in the Bontebok Park campsite, losing one hour of travelling time. Despite 200 kilometers’ low flying, a GPS malfunction put the final nail in the coffin. Devastated, I put my brand new, fully stocked, Raidlight XP2 race pack back in the boot, lifted my chin and settled for the Attakwas Mini Trail Run.

Laced with adrenaline from my 200km high speed chase, I charged off to enjoy every meter of the 7.5km at my disposal. The last 5km joined the Extreme route, so all I had to do to share the vibe was to pretend that I was very tired. Luckily pretending was not required, as the first 3 kilometers involved some really steep climbs. The Attakwas Mini was a condensed version of the best trails the area had to offer. Tricky, loose descents, fantastic single track, flat and fast sections and some more climbing made the Mini a true taste of the real thing. The region is simply beautiful, with the highlights being the massive aloes and intimidating rock formations.

Ettiene Plaatjies and John April battling it out for 1st place. Photo: Oakpics
Ettiene Plaatjies and John April battling it out for 1st place. Photo: Oakpics

Any race is as hard as you race it, no matter the distance. In that regard the Attakwas Mini is perfect to push your heart rate to the max. It is just as good if you want to take it easy and enjoy a short stint of superb trail running, without killing yourself. To top it off, the race had serious cash prizes and La Capra wines for winners of the Attakwas Mini. Personally, my day ended well by getting my hands on that 1st prize.

As far as the Attakwas Extreme goes, after talking to Danette Smith, (female winner and 6th overall), as well as John April (2nd overall), I realised that I can only redeem my loss by returning next year, and for that matter every trail runner should diarise it. If you are familiar with stage 1 of the Dryland Traverse, this race is as challenging, but a bit more easy on the descents. Your knees won’t be shouting at you as much. The start (once again: which I missed) also allowed for a more gradual elevation. The heat, as was the case on this day, can be the real tester. The 32 degrees on this day demanded participants to dig deep. Nonetheless, it was simply astounding to see Ettienne Plaatjies repeat last year’s win in a time of 2 hours and 1 minute.

Getting my hands on that 1st prize for the Attakwas Mini Trail Run saved my day. Photo: Oakpics
Getting my hands on that 1st prize for the Attakwas Mini Trail Run saved my day. Photo: Oakpics

With all the right stuff in place like good MC’ing, nice music and a well timed agenda from the start till the podium ceremonies, everything happened with the necessary momentum. Dryland Event Management is fast becoming a leader in trail run events both in terms of the organizational level, as well as the vibe. Fair Cape adds massive value with their sponsorship and nutrition, as does 32GI. The waterpoints are stacked with goodies, even on the Mini. If you have never raced in this area, put it on your bucket list. The Attakwas mountain bike race, the Dryland Traverse and the Attakwas Extreme will add indelible memories to your life

For the Attakwas Extreme and Mini results, follow this link:
https://www.jumpertrax.com/1871/results

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