A Wild Experience

A Wild Experience

The Wildcoast Wildrun® (WCWR) is so much more than ‘just’ a trail run, especially to the fortunate trail adventurers who have experienced the isolated beauty of the Transkei beaches, the lush green hues of the rolling hills and the inquisitive nature of the friendly locals during one of the six years the event has been going. Sometimes an internet search or magazine article isn’t enough to portray the effect an event like the WCWR has on people, so here are five personal stories from WCWR finishers about how their time running along the Eastern Cape coastline changed them.

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Highlight: 

“We discovered the pure bliss of trail running”

Jeremy and Tasha Botha, who will be running their fifth WCWR this year, came from a world of road running. Without knowing whether they’d like it or not, the two enthusiastically entered and ran their first event and have not stopped coming back since. “It opened our eyes to the wonderful world of running trail and has added new perspectives to our running, like meeting new people, not always chasing the clock, putting less pressure on ourselves and discovering the freedom and enjoyment of running in the "wild" so to speak,” they commented.

“I discovered my true passion”

Chantel Nienaber, the overall ladies record holder, used the WCWR as her very first competitive race. Dabbling in the fast paced world of being a pro trail runner was daunting, but using the WCWR as her break-out race was perfect, as not only did she discover her passion for racing, but her passion for travel, exploration and the freedom trail running gifts. “What makes this race unique is that you truly run wild and free, and ‘keeping the ocean to your right’ is about as much info you get, the rest is up to you. I loved every moment having to decide which path to take. Every day was exhilarating, running on unspoiled beaches, crossing some mighty rivers and sharing the experience with everyone else. At the end of the race I realised I wanted more and that trail running would give me a great opportunity to explore this wonderful country of ours.”

“I developed a love affair with the outdoors”

Camilla Howard took on the WCWR without having ever done anything like it before. Not only did she achieve an incredible physical feat, realising her ability extended far beyond what she thought she was capable of, she also discovered an entire world she wanted to explore further. “The Wildcoast Wildrun® was the my first real experience of the Transkei coast. My partner and I found ourselves on the more competitive event and needless to say we often found ourselves completely alone (save a few cows) on some of the most pristine and untouched coastline on earth. My love affair for our country's outdoors began here, inspiring me to trek the entire SA coastline. The Wildcoast remains my very favourite stretch of beach and it imprinted on our souls so much that we are moving there next year to set up walking tours.”

“I discovered me-time”

Sandra du Toit wasn’t a trail runner before she tackled the WCWR, and had no idea what to expect. Used to time on the tar surrounded by fellow runners, she certainly wasn’t expecting solitude, or more so, expecting to enjoy it. “I found the WCWR was a way to relax, to clear my mind and spend some quality time with myself. I actually started to look forward to those lone, empty stretches of beach, where there is nothing and no-one that demands my time,” she said.

“It changed my life”

Tracey Almirall took on the WCWR several years ago and for her it meant ticking off several ‘first-times’ off her list. It was her first stage race, her first trail run and her first time visiting the Transkei. Of course she was nervous, “I'd never been to the Wildcoast and my initial perception of the Transkei is rural, rough and unsafe,” she said, but her perceptions were quickly blown out of the water when she realised the natural beauty of the area. “The coastline stretches for kilometres of just the most beautiful beaches and headlands that will blow your mind with spectacular views - it's majestic.” Not only were her perceptions of the Transkei changed, she also feels the event changed the course of her life and steered her in the off-road, trail running, adventure racing direction she is now following. “The run itself changed my life, meeting like-minded people, going through the amount of emotions in three days that most people go through in a lifetime and experiencing top notch organisation. The WCWR woke up the trail runner within my soul and bonded me with the outdoors. I will never be the same.”

 

There is still time to enter this life-changing, three-day stage run that takes runners the 112km from Kei Mouth to Hole-in-the-Wall, simply visit the Wildrun® website for more information. 

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