Sunrise Monster

By : Stephan Morkel

The run actually began because I always run alone and early in the morning and also because my focus is more on trail running, multi sport and adventure running (AR), than on road running.

I did most of my runs in the sugarcane, plantations and agricultural areas around Empangeni and got to know these areas very well.

As always I keep away from big roads and choose rather to run on smaller paths and single track.

Because I run in the early mornings before work, I looked for a route which had lots of hills giving maximum effort on the legs, but which was still close enough to town to fit into the short time before work.

I began to string these hills together by way of smaller paths and the result was a very challenging route of about 17km, which was long but which could be shortened at any time facilitating a quick return into town.

The route had a number of short, steep hills with a range of different surfaces which made it very good training for trail running. The last hill also has a real ‘sting in the tail’.

I ran the route a number of times with a friend from Richards Bay and one morning as we reached the top of the hill we had named ‘Nemesis, we were privy to the most spectacular sunrise.

The air was clear and clean and we could clearly see the sea and the mouth of the Mhlathuze River.

This made me think about a race of the same name, which I ran a few times during my student years in Pretoria. The race of 32km was at that time one of those with the most elevation gain over the distance and was hosted by the Magnolia Dell Athletic Club.

I seldom took part in any of UAC’s runs or races but thought it might be a good idea to share the route with you, so we ran a shortened version one Saturday morning, leaving out the sting in the tail.

I still regularly run and MTB the route – two fast laps really work one’s legs and chases the heart rate to new heights