Addo Elephant 82km Trail Run

Last weekend I indulged in 9 hours of semi-hedonistic euphoria. I guess non-runners would think I’m loony if I tried to explain them to why. I think only you trail running junkies will understand.
I guess the grin I had on my face for most of the 82km said it all – it felt so damn good to be doing REAL running again. This wasn’t boring, endless, mindless T*R, this was in the African bush, with the earth underfoot – sometimes single track, other times jeep track, we were sloshing through rivers, slogging up switchbacks, and running along the top of escarpments feeling like the world was at our feet.
That I was one of the front runners and lying 1st in the women was just a bonus – this was 82km of endorphin-filled euphoric running, and even through the fatigue, it felt like heaven.
Me propped up by a tree after crossing the finish line
It’s a week ago now, and I’m still running on a high. Maybe the elation I felt during the run was partly the result of two and a half months of trail deprivation, a bit like the sheer bliss of a hot shower after 11 icy days of no running water (see my post-Sani Pass blog ), or the delicious feeling of breaking a diet with rich chocolate cake. Maybe it was partly because I’d spent the last couple of months getting stuck into T*R and pounding the pavements, and trying to dress up road running with not-so-thrilling sessions of speed, hill repeats and time trials. Yawn.
But it was also the feeling I know I’ve been missing – of running free again: free of traffic and pollution, free of rules, free of any sort of limitation other than that within myself… and knowing that’s how I run is really up to me and my body.
That’s the beauty of trail running – there’s nothing between you and the environment around you; you are one with it. That’s REAL running.
Addo Elephant Trail Run is a must-do: it's brilliantly organised (thanks to Nadia & Estienne Arndt and the team at Extreme Marathons), and run through one of South Africa's lesser known but very beautiful national parks, the Addo Elephant National Park. 
Put this one on your list for 2013!

Results of the Addo Elephant 82km Trail Run:
1.    1.  Hylton Dunn  08:09:31 (2nd time winner)
2.    2.  Ake Fagereng  09:08:30
3.    3.  Linda Doke  09:10:42 (1st woman)
4.    4.   Mark Spengler  09:14:08

1.    1.  Linda Doke  09:10:42 (new record)
2.     2.  Erica Walker  10:00:56
3.    3.  Sally Martindale-Tucker  11:10:25

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