The Munga Trail – A 400km Distraction

37 days to the start of the 2016  Grand to Grand Ultra

Running and completing a 250km multi-stage desert race is a tough challenge, even for serious runners. Over and above the physical challenge, events of this nature are also very tough mentally. Much can go wrong, with very guarantees for success at the start of a race.

I’m busy preparing for my eighth desert race, and getting closer to my goal of completing ten of these races, and at least one race on all seven continents. Only Europe and Australasia remain after the Grand to Grand Ultra in the United States.

It is important, however, to only focus on the next race, and not get distracted by potential future races and running challenges. One race at a time…

But I have to confess, something is distracting me, and it is called The Munga Trail!

munga 2

This new 400km non-stop trail race will be held for the first time from 19-24 April 2017 in the Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. Starting at Lakenvlei Forest Lodge near Belfast, runners will have 120 hours to complete the distance before finishing in the Blyderiver Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world.

Runners will navigate district roads, forestry roads, jeep track, single track, some virgin veld and approximately 5 000m elevation gain, and have access to five race villages (70-80km apart) and ten water points (20-30km apart).

I have followed news coverage about The Munga Trail since its launch on 28 July 2016, and last night attended an information session at the Irene Running Club in Pretoria where race organiser, Eric Vermeulen, shared some interesting perspectives with various runners.

I am intrigued by the overall race concept, and the intensive planning and preparations which will be required to complete the race. It is one thing to run 250km in five days, but an extra 150km on tired legs will be a serious physical and mental challenge. Very few runners in South Africa have experience in completing multi-stage or non-stop races which are longer than 250km.

But it can be done, and as Erik outlined in his presentation, you only need to run a marathon every 12 hours or two marathons a day for five days. Simple!

My immediate goal is to complete the Grand to Grand Ultra which starts in just over a month. It will be tough race over 273km and also involves a canyon, a very big one! As much as I shouldn’t be thinking about The Munga Trial until after the Grand to Grand Ultra, it will be on my mind, and provide me with interesting food for thought about my running challenges for 2017.

My planned retirement from extreme running events in the next two to three years will probably be delayed for a while longer as a result of The Munga Trail distraction…

The countdown to the Grand to Grand Ultra continues…


I’m using my participation in the Grand to Grand Ultra to raise public awareness about NTDs, highlight the work of the END Fund, and mobilise $10 000 in support of the END Fund’s work in Africa.

I invite you to support my fundraising campaign and encourage others to do the same.

Follow updates on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, fundraising page, and via the END Fund’s various online platforms.

Together, we can END NTDs!

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