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
"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
As the Karkloof trails are relatively nearby, Booth explains the
difference between the two and why people might be drawn to the Howick
"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.
3 March and Sunday, 4 March
EVENTS: 5km, 10km, 20km Trail Run on Saturday
Three Stage Enduro on Saturday
Marathon, 20km Half-Marathon, 10km Fun Ride on Sunday.
More information can be found at