One man’s passion for the Klipspringer Hiking Trail in the Augrabies Falls National Park and his love for running saw the birth of a brand new challenge.
The first ever edition of the Klipspringer Challenge, set to take place this May, combines this three day hiking trail, a pair of running shoes and the park’s spectacular scenery in a single day event.
Race organiser Warren King says that the Klipspringer Hiking Trail was one of his first real hikes. Since then, he has returned countless times and realised that the trail would make the perfect run. For him, it is also the perfect opportunity to share this beautiful, remote and undiscovered part of the world with a wider audience.
“What makes the race different from other trail running events is that it is not only mountain orientated,” says King. “This is an opportunity to run in the spectacular Kalahari Desert in a different format.”
The hiking trail itself is rated as difficult, so athletes should not expect an easy run from the 21km and 40km races. However, athletes will have the entire day to complete the event, so those not serious about keeping to time can truly appreciate their surroundings.
The trail is naturally split into three main sections and provides a balance between tough technical running, boulder hopping and faster sections. The trail starts by exposing runners to Kalahari conditions along the top of the gorge before the start of a steep descent down to the river. It is here where the sandy riverbed and boulder hopping along the mighty Orange River could take its toll on energy levels. This is also the perfect spot for cooling down before heading for the home stretch. The last section of the race is less challenging and will showcase the park’s otherworldly moon landscapes and the famous Swart Rante.
Don’t let the thought of a tough challenge deter you. King says that the race is accessible to runners of all experience levels, including strong newcomers. All participants will be required to carry some provisions and equipment, including at least 2l of water from the start of the race.
The race is set to take place on 1 May 2016 and entries close when capacity is reached. Visit www.klipspringerchallenge.co.za for further entry information.
Written by René de Klerk – SANParks Times Reporter
Content courtesy of SANParks Times: www.sanparkstimes.co.za