Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro Media Release

 No: howickmtb1801

07 Feb 2017

Embargo: None

   Written by: Nick Tatham

Trail running to beef up Howick MTB Classic

Howick - The Sappi Howick MTB Classic has added three trail running options to its schedule over the weekend of 3-4 March, responding to the explosion in popularity of the discipline throughout South Africa.

Having increased the event to a two day spectacle in 2016, organisers are keen to extend it further by including a 5km, 10km and 20km trail running option on Saturday morning before the Enduro takes place later in the day.

With trails that date back to 1986, the Howick Mountain Bike Club's network of trails through the Sappi Forests plantations lend themselves perfectly to trail running.

"It was quite an obvious choice for us to use the Howick trails for a trail run," KZN Trail Running's Andrew Booth said. "We met with the Howick MTB Club late last year and discussed whether we would be able to incorporate a trail run in the Sappi Howick MTB Classic program.

"The event and the trails are so well established that we knew it would be a great partnership and to have access to the Sappi Forests plantations makes it more appealing."

As the Karkloof trails are relatively nearby, Booth explains the difference between the two and why people might be drawn to the Howick trails.

"Karkloof's trail running trails, like the MTB track, are very fast flowing and might not take as much technical ability to negotiate.

"Howick's MTB track has always had the reputation of being quite gnarly and that is seen in their running trails. There are more hills and the routes are more technical with a bit of an edge to them.

"I find that there is more variety in the Howick trails," Booth added.

The three different options that are open to the runners will be appealing to novices as well as to more experienced runners. The 5km race will take runners through the farmland surrounding the Sappi Howick race base while the longer 10km and 20km options will head into the Sappi plantations and will be more testing for the participants.

Gavin Ryan, event organiser, felt that the incorporation of trail running was a great fit for the event.

"It was a really easy decision for us and with trail running's increasing popularity now was as good a time as any to introduce trail running to our event.

"Following the harvesting in the Sappi Shafton plantations, we had to rework the trails slightly and create a communication plan to keep riders and runners informed of closures. When we re-opened, we formally introduced trail running which does bring more people to the area," Ryan mentioned.

“Working with an institution like KZN Trail Running, we will hopefully be able to communicate more effectively with trail runners from all over the province, to make them aware of what we have to offer and to keep them informed of happenings on the trails”.

Saturday’s events will take place from 11 Karkloof, an accommodation establishment found along the Karkloof Road. This provides direct access to the heart of the trails, which is beneficial to the trail running event, while Sunday's Sappi Howick Classic race village will be at the traditional venue of Howick High School.

DATE: Saturday, 3 March and Sunday, 4 March
EVENTS: 5km, 10km, 20km Trail Run on Saturday
             Three Stage Enduro on Saturday
             40km Marathon, 20km Half-Marathon, 10km Fun Ride on Sunday.

More information can be found at or


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With trail running's popularity continuing to increase, organisers of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic have decided to incorporate three different trail running options at the 2018 edition of the event over the weekend of 3-4 March.   Jacques Marais/
Gameplan Media

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