Tuesday 14 November 2017

Lovely Ezemvelo Trail Run

This past Saturday I took part in the 21km distance at the Ezemvelo Trail Run. Located around 25km from Bronkhorstspruit, this is a superb property with lots of grassy, open space, small rolling hills with rocky tops. There are also some great cliffs and crags along the Grootspruit, a sweet river that flows into the nearby Wilge River.

This was a Wild Trails event and while I've heard the name of the reserve a number of times, I'd never been there before.

This entry was a sweet gift from Celliers. He entered me a few months back and it really was a treat to go there to run. He entered himself for the 10km, the longest run that he had done in at least 15 years (various knee injuries and surgeries).

At the start.
We were planning to camp there but a small chalet booking opened up two days before. It was nice to have the simplicity of staying within four walls. We did go take a look at the campsite, which is a really great space with lots of trees.

The 21km kicked off at 07h00 on the Saturday morning. This terrain is really runnable so I knew I was in for lots of running and not lots of hiking, which I had at Golden Gate Challenge.

The first 10km ticked over really quickly to the second waterpoint, where we then went into the rocky crags above Grootspruit.

Leaving WP2 behind and down below.
There was a lady behind me and a lady in front of me - so we got chatting as we walked. It wasn't running terrain for any of us.

The lady in front is an architect; the one behind a mining geologist with three children. With her oldest at five and her youngest at one, she has been out of running and training for five years. She started training again four months ago, has lost 15kg and is again participating in events. She is very thankful for her husband, who has taken on more child-care duties. What a great story!

The next 10 kays ticked over nicely and I enjoyed the scenery and sightings of antelope. Except for the rocky hilltops, the terrain is very non-technical and it makes for easy running.

At the finish, we chilled in the shade amidst other runners before retreating to our peaceful chalet for a shower, snacks, bird watching and a nap.

My dad is a very good bird spotter; I am not. But I'm trying. Here in Parys we have good birdlife, especially with fish eagles, Goliath herons, grey herons and long-crested eagles being my favourites - and the sweet crested barbets and brown-hooded kingfishers.

Sitting on the lawn at Ezemvelo with my binoculars and bird book (a pressie from my dad), I had the time to just watch the birds swirling around the tree. My top identification was that of a Diderick's Cuckoo. What a lovely bird! We also saw a delightful pin-tailed whydah and out in the field I'd seen a red-collared widowbird and a long-tailed widowbird (I saw these two the next day too). So now I have four birds that I have seen, identified and that I so far remember. Progress!

On Sunday morning we drove around the reserve and were treated to the sight of what we counted at around 280 eland! We have never seen that many eland in a herd - males, females and lots of young ones.

It was only a 2.5hr trip home.

Ezemvelo will definitely see us back again - it is a great spot for mountain biking too.

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