Mafutas Run

By : Anthony Holmes and Jan Badenhorst

According to Anthony Holmes

I don't know who christened "Mafutas" and when this happened but I can remember my first exposure to the mountain. It was in early 1995 when I first began running long distances with an aim to participate in Comrades.

A few of us set off for a 28km out and back training run on the gravel road at the bottom of Union Street out to the farm compound, through the Addison's Farm, Chrystal Holdings, onto the tar road to Nseleni and down to the Nseleni River. I recall that Jan and Janice Badenhorst were present along with Vince Brown and some others. It was my first run over 21km and I was a bit worried whether or not I could make the distance. Jan and Vince had put Coke and water out on the route the day before but I had not had any prior exposure to the course. It all went well at first (while the legs were fresh and the course was a novelty) and I did not notice the loooonnng downhill to the present dam site on Redinger's farm. It was only when we had turned at the Nseleni River to make our way back along the same route to Empangeni that I first realized where exactly we had come from because looming large in the February shimmer was this monster of a hill. When someone pointed out where the road was heading I nearly had a thrombosis and I let everyone know exactly how I felt about having to run up the hill after already having completed about 20km. I think that "mafuta" means "fat one" in Zulu which is appropriate because it is one fat bastard of a hill. But sitting here in Australia, I sure miss her!


According to Jan Badenhorst

In January 1994 Magistrate Tony Hoffert, Vince Brown, Janice and Jan Badenhorst set out for a training run from Empangeni via Union Street over the railway line, past the compound at Addison farm. With the aim of running to the grid over the Khulu River at Bells farm and back. They never got there. In the January Zululand humidity, Tony fell behind and at the fork to Addison farm. He was so hot that he hid his head in the sugar cane with his feet sticking out in the road so that passing cars could see him, to pick him up. The rest of the group later turned into the farm house on the left before the Grid (Today Redinger farm) and hitched a lift back with the Farmer. When they got home, Tony had already got a lift back. Later that year, in the cooler March weather, Vince and Jan again tackled the course and this time on the way back Vince named the hill "Mafutas", to him meaning "big fat one"


Mafutas today

The Redinger dam later flooded the grid and today athletes have to run over the dam wall resulting in a longer, Mafutas hill. (+- 2 km) The Umhlathuze athletic club runs the Mafutas training run a couple of times each year as a trainer for comrades. The route is 28 km. Clockwise it would be from Addison Park, past the clinic out to the airport and all the way on the tar road to the dam. Then over the dam wall up the now more difficult Mafutas hill, past the compound into Union Street and back. Such is the reputation and difficulty of this run that when the club did the run in February 2006, almost half of the participants did not complete the run. Though the biggest reason was unfitness and the heat and humidity on the day.


The Crocodiles look forward to you joining them on future Mafutas training runs.