"

Over training is over rated, rest better so that you can train even more" - Nick Yster Bester


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Num-Num Trail Challenge Report



Wow, wow, wow! Brutal, brutal, brutal...but so very special! That is the only way I can describe the Num-Num Trail Challenge.




We all knew we were in for a hard run on a very tough course, but I think all the first time runners got more than they expected. This is definitely the most difficult course I have ever run. Maybe not the most difficult race as it is not that long, but the most testing trail for sure.







I can honestly not classify this race yet. By that I mean I am not sure exactly what I got out of it. Yes, the experience and some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. However, from a running and training perspective I’m not 100% sure yet. Maybe my brain is still processing it. To write a full report is nearly impossible as there was just so much to see and experience along the route. This trail is very special indeed.







I took many photos and posted a public link to that at the bottom of this post. I ran and felt that I could never switch off my camera or put it away. Around every corner there was something special to see or climb over or under or through...incredible!





By the time we reached some runnable trails my legs were already too tired to run. Recovery as I always experience on trails was very short lived as the next challenge would come soon. Then there would be another amazing waterfall and the pain would be forgotten.






I felt part of a special group of people doing something amazing. It was not just another race, it was an amazing experience. I now understand why they make this 36.5km (23 mile) hiking route a 5 day trip. Some of the climbs are never ending and very steep. The climb up to the second checkpoint certainly tested me mentally and physically. Every aspect of trail running was thrown at us from start to finish. The less experienced trail runners certainly had a hard time out there.





Then there were the ladders and bridges…some a bit more sturdy than others. All adding to the great experience on this trail. The saying “Africa is not for sissies” kept popping into my head. This was some hardcore stuff.





The waterfalls and views certainly made the effort worthwhile. Every time I hit a low and felt like death, some view, waterfall or other magnificent wonder from nature would be there to lift me up again. Standing at the bottom of a waterfall, knowing I had to now climb to the top of it, was exciting but also very humbling.



This was a fantastic experience and I thank everyone that made it possible. The Num-Num Trail Challenge will become one of the “must do” trail races in South Africa. If you haven’t experienced this, you haven’t experienced trail running yet. I was tested in every possible way on this run.


I love the medal! Hand made by a local artist. Very special, but also small to remind me it's not about the medal...

Next year…mmm…I’m negotiating with my wife J

29 comments:

Kovas Palubinskas said...

What an amazing variety of challenges - really an amazing looking race. Congrats on a well-earned medal!

Jill said...

Looks like you and I both got our toughest trail races ever checked off this past weekend (okay, mine was the weekend before :)....but mine didn't have stairs (though I wish it did in some parts - ha). What a gorgeous course and an amazing adventure you accomplished. There is nothing you can do, Johann - nothing! Congratulations on finishing one tough beast...and that medal would have to rank of there as one of the most special - not for size, but for it's amazing beauty! Well done, sir!

ajh said...

Is it a fairly new race? Is that why you haven't done it before? Are there so many good races it is hard to choose? Of course distance must figure into it too. Sorry for all the questions. Great pictures as always.

abbi said...

Looks and sounds like a very interesting and tough days...gorgeous views!

Mike said...

Wow, that looks more like an adventure race, with the climbing and such. You are hardcore Johann.

misszippy said...

Wow--spectacular shots and I'm sure they don't do it all justice! What an accomplishment and experience for you. And if you are saying it was the toughest ever, then I can only imagine how difficult it was! Well done!

Liz said...

How do you manage to take so many photos while running?! It looks amazing, and I love that medal - beautiful.

On the Right Track said...

wow!!! I too am alsways amazed at how many photos people can take while theya re running...My favorite photo is the one with you and the "thumbs up" sign...perfect!

What an adventure you tackled, and the medal is one of the coolest ones I've ever seen!! such a beautiful part of the country!

Michael said...

That sounds incredibly difficult!! I can't even imagine. Really sounds more like a really insanely difficult hike than a race I suppose, but the pics are just beautiful! Congrats on getting out there and finishing it!! Wow!

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

I have got to get to South Africa! Awesome Johann. You guys have the best trail races.

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

Wow, must have been a powerful experience if you're still processing it! Definitely a beautiful course - maybe next year Annette will join you :)

Lauren said...

Simply amazing! Love the medal too. I have run some awesome trail races, but I don't think any of them stand up to Num-Num. You may see me in South Africa yet!

ps. you're wife is beautiful!

Char said...

'Africa is not for sissies' - I love it! Maybe they should use that phrase on the race site next year. It certainly sounds and looks like an incredible experience.

HappyTrails said...

Spectacular views as always Johann. That is quite a challenging race - savor all that sensory overload for a while, as you earned it! Like the medal too :)

Kate said...

Oh, wow, your pictures are amazing! I can only imagine what an experience it was! Congratulations on finishing, and from Daily Mile it sounds like recovery is going well. :) Can't wait to hear more detail about this race and check out the rest of your pictures. Not for sissies indeed!

Molly said...

what an epic race! I can see why you're still processing the experience, that is truly one to remember. Congrats!!

Robin said...

Yowza...looks incredible. Congrats on getting through that! Thanks for sharing the pics! Awesome.

Teamarcia said...

I cant begin to imagine running such a difficult race! Well done! The pics are amazing and the medal spectacular.

B.o.B. said...

Omigosh how amazing and beautiful! Congrats on your race. It looks awesome (and hard!).

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

I would love the varied terrain and the waterfalls, but I might have been tempted to quit and jump in the water. Well done!

Theia said...

Those pics are beautiful!!!

Giorgio said...

Congrats on finishing! Great challenge race which really gave you the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular landscape. Nice photos of the two beautiful wooden bridges.

As soon as I visit Stefano I'll send him your regards from South Africa ... I'll probably see him on Friday, 13th.
As you know, last Sunday Stefano gave me the International Running Flag of friendship. Next Saturday I will be honoured to run a 10km race with the Flag.

Paul said...

Amazing. Photos look like the southwest U.S.

What an obstacle course!

Laura said...

You run the most amazing races!

A-Pi (Peter) said...

Spectacular race and report!

Karien said...

Not for sissies, indeed! What a magnificent course.

Anette said...

Very proud of you my love! You are amazing!

Alma said...

Wow! Those are the most amazing race photos ever! I want to do this one - how many races have LADDERS as part of the course?! Lovely!

Thomas Bussiere said...

I would like to do this some day. Sounds like a great course and a huge congrats on finishing. Love the medal - Hand made makes it that more special with all the memories of the race. Nice job.