[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Oystercatcher hiking trail is famous for being one of the best in the world, with the BBC rating it as one of the “30 unforgettable hikes to do before you die.” Not only is TriSport’s Oystercatcher Trail Run a physically enjoyable event but the aim of the run is also to educate participants about South Africa’s fragile and beautiful environment. This annual trail run has become extremely popular and the event was already fully booked by April. Jarryd Dunn was the star of 2017’s race; this 21-year-old broke every day’s record – keep your eyes peeled for this name, there are big things on the cards for this young man!
This year TriSport and Retail Capital sponsored six youngsters from the JAG Foundation to take part in the 3-day event. The JAG Foundation inspires South Africa’s disadvantaged children to build a positive future for themselves, their families and their communities, by encouraging them to participate in various sport-related programmes. By instilling sporting values for life, they aim to create an environment for South Africa’s children to fulfil their dreams and thereby rebuild communities.
This year, the event stretched over two weekends with a 3-day option over the Heritage Day weekend and the 2-day option over the weekend of 30 September–1 October. The two runs are identical except for the 3-day event’s extra day that covers the 22 km from Gourits river mouth to the Gourikwa Nature Reserve. This route took athletes inland via the Ystervarkpunt lighthouse before running alongside the coast and enjoying the magnificent trails of one of South Africa’s top 5 hikes. At the end of the first day, Jarryd Dunn was in first position with a time of 1:39:34, with John Macartan in second place (1:45:23), and Juan Botsis a close third with a time of 1:45:40.
Day 2, which is also the most technical of the 3 days, covered a distance of 20 km – starting at the Gourits river mouth and ending at the Sandpiper Cottages and Sports Centre in Boggoms Bay. Although the day involved some technical sections over small, ankle-rolling boulders, the runners still took the time to shift their focus to the magnificent sea views offered by this world-renowned trail. Day two’s results mirrored the first day’s and Jarryd Dunn again took a comfortable first, with John Macartan in second and Juan Botsis in third place.
The final day of this race started at Dana Bay and runners made their way via Pinnacle Point to Mossel Bay along the St Blaize hiking trail. This area is world-famous as the home of the Point of Human Origins – an archaeological site with the earliest evidence of modern human behaviour. The event ended at the Big Blu restaurant at The Point in Mossel Bay. With a record-breaking performance (4:41:12) Jarryd Dunn took overall first position after 3 days and 58 km of running. John Macartan was second in an overall time of 5:08:45, with Juan Botsis finishing third with a time of 5:09:26.
This year’s Oystercatcher saw a lot of female entries, with more than 70% of the runners taking part being women. The competition between the ladies was fierce but in the end, Madre Marx finished first overall with a time of 6:11:19. Veteran runner, Helette Venter, finished in second place (6:24:56), with Hildegard Reyneke close on her heels with a time of 6:29:43.
Perfect weather conditions accompanied the Oystercatcher 2-day race and runners had an amazing time on the route. This event also finished at the Big Blu restaurant where runners took the opportunity to cool down in the natural tidal pools in front of the restaurant after their big finish. In the 2-day event, covering 36 km, the overall winner was Erik Bartmann, with Nikki Vryenhoek in second, and Ann-Maree Mostert in overall third place.
The Oystercatcher Trail Run is a great event for first-time multi-day runners, as this year’s event has proven yet again. With a lot of emphasis on having fun with your fellow runners and being able to enjoy the beautiful landscapes that the Garden Route has to offer, this event is a fantastic one to do with family and friends.
TriSport would like to thank Fred Orban and the Sandpiper Sports Centre, Retail Capital, First Ascent, Gourikwa Nature Reserve, Bos Ice Tea and Glenhoff Craft Beer for their support. The full list of results can be viewed on TriSport’s website and pictures of the event are posted on the TriSport SA Facebook page. Entries for next year’s event will open on 16 October; enter at trisport.co.za.