The annual SALOMON Featherbed Trail Run, presented by GU, once again graced the pristine trails of the eponymous Featherbed Nature Reserve today. Approximately 1000 off-road runners took part in a series of runs along the reserve above Knysna Heads, in the process shattering the route records.
The SALOMON Featherbed Trail Run, presented by GU, has without a doubt become one of the favourite sporting events at the annual Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. No other race quite matches up to it as far as scenery, natural grandeur, true grit and crowd-pleasing exhilaration go. If you don’t take my word for it, maybe the voices of a few thousand trail runners will convince you.
Imagine a ferry ride across the estuary at dawn, with a monster climb up the Knysna Heads, in turn followed by a tumultuous ridge descent onto the lagoon. Blast on to the flats, bombing across the rusted train bridge and over a finish line heaving with colour and energy.
Yup, it does not get much more exhilarating than this, except if you now imagine experiencing all this action three times in a single day. That is exactly how the SALOMON Featherbed Trail Run unfolds: a dawn run at 08h00; an afternoon run at 13h00 and a night run at 19h00.
The first run this morning saw a duel to near-death between Gauteng champion Thabang Elias Madiba and Stuart Marais from Stellenbosch, with the latter turning up the heat right from the word go. Incredible climbing legs and stamina made Marais unbeatable over the 15km Coelacanth Route, finishing in a time of 55min 33sec.
Carla van Huyssteen dominated the Women’s field as expected – finishing in 7th overall position with a time of 01h07min41sec.
Both athletes are entered into the BIG5 Challenge of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival and with their victories on the Salomon Featherbed Trail managed to hold onto the Yellow Jerseys that they are awarded after each stage of the competition.
Kudos goes to Magnetic South for once again presenting a world-class event with the assistance of two of South Africa’s key sporting brands – SALOMON and GU – it is sponsorship such as this that has seen the sport of trail running booming over the past ten years.
A very special mention must also go to the Featherbed Company, who once a year allow the organisers to present this exhilarating event within their pristine protected area. “It is a privilege for us to run here every year”, said Event Director Mark Collins, “and we pride ourselves on instilling an ethos of respect for nature in each of the runners at our event”.