Posted by Pall Catt in Events, Interviews, Running, Trails on March 27, 2017
Having caught wind of an exciting new event on the trail running calendar, we decided to dig a little deeper and find out more about what we can expect. For this, we tracked down event organisers, Supertramp Events, for a little chat.
Trailrunner: Lets start with the genesis of this trail run. Talk us through where the idea came from and what this event is trying to achieve.
Supertramp: Well we have been coming to our little farm in Tonteldoos for 30 years and during this time have come to know and love the people, the landscape and the terrain. In some ways Tonteldoos is like Dullstroom’s more scruffy and rugged little brother. It’s only 20-odd kilometres from Dullstroom, but it’s got a real sense of remoteness about it. Although it’s at a slightly lower altitude than Dullstroom, which changes the scenery completely, it’s still nestled in the Steenkampsberge and provides a world of possibilities for any keen outdoor enthusiast. It’s hard to describe but once you roll into town (despite it being entirely possible that you might roll straight through the town without even knowing you were ever in it) you will know you’re in a place of magic.
It doesn’t feel right to be keeping this beauty all to ourselves and so we have decided to share it with everyone else, and what better way to do that than with an event that allows you to explore the area on foot and get really close to nature. We see trail running as a form of dance. It’s a celebration with and of the wilderness. An expression of the human condition and what it means to be truly alive. So in other words, through this event we are encouraging people to go dancing with nature.
Trailrunner: The event is on the morning of the Scottish Tonteldoos Highlands Festival. Is that intentional or was that just a coincidence?
Supertramp: The annual Tonteldoos Highlands Festival, which has been growing in stature over the recent years to an attendance of 6,000 people in 2016, provides the perfect springboard to launch this event, while also supplementing the festival with an added dynamic. We figured some people might want to enjoy an active morning before indulging in all the delicious food, drink and entertainment of the festival and this is the perfect opportunity then to kill two birds with one stone. The events complement each other very nicely and the trail run will start and finish at the festival grounds with all registered finishers getting free entry into the festival which will host over one hundred exhibitors including traditional, Celtic food and drink, live entertainment including traditional dancers, Celtic pipe bands, live rock bands, the real kilted mile and Scottish Highlands games.
Trailrunner: And what’s with the name? That’s quite a mouthful.
Supertramp: One of the most beautiful times of the year for the region is in March/April when the cosmos wildflowers are in full bloom. Entire fields can be awash with white and pink flowers and the roads are lined with them. It’s really quite spectacular and it was an added motivation to host the event during this season so we decided to give the event a cosmos theme. And then we just really like alliteration so we thought long and hard about words that start with a ‘C’ that had running connotations that could follow the word cosmos and so the name was born.
Trailrunner: And with regards to the route design, is it making use of existing trails in Tonteldoos or did trails have to be specifically built?
Supertramp: Well there is quite a network of hiking trails and footpaths across the region, but much of it traverses over private land with livestock fences and they don’t necessarily flow onto one another all that nicely to make a single continuous route. There is also a hiking route that some of the locals marked out but most of it is not really designed for running. So we had too look at what infrastructure was already in place, select what we thought were some of the best parts, and then try to link them together. So in all, it’s a mix of some farm tracks, rugged district roads, and purpose-built trails.
Trailrunner: And what distances are on offer?
Supertramp: We tried to cater to all levels of fitness and ability, appreciating that everyone enjoys nature in their own way. So for those who like to cover long distances with some degree of swiftness there is a 17km route which will take them into the mountains where their efforts will be rewarded with sweeping vistas, but then we also didn’t want to exclude runners who might like to spend less time out on the trail (being Easter weekend) and so for them there is a 10km flatter route, and lastly, for anybody else, including those who just want to have a morning walk, there is a 6km route.
Trailrunner: Sounds great. If anybody is interested in participating, where can they find more information and how can they go about entering the event?
Supertramp: We will be actively monitoring the event’s facebook page. We will be posting any necessary and relevant information on there over the upcoming weeks and we will try our best to answer any questions as promptly as possible. The link for that is https://www.facebook.com/events/1084705408342830/
Online entries are being run through entryninja. Entries are limited but there are still quite a few available. The link for entries is https://www.entryninja.com/events/event/15802-tonteldoos-cosmos-crusade