Find out EVERYTHING you need to know about the Merrell Whale of Trail and then
some! Tune in this month for Part 2, and check out Part 1 from last month here!
O is for Outdoors
Trail running puts you in spectacular places, the De Hoop Nature Reserve, managed by Cape Nature, is one such special place. Whether you’re going for the top of the podium or simply to cross the finish line, make a point to look around you, appreciate the quality of the trails you’re running, soak in the views, talk to the wildlife, smell the fynbos. And on that note, don’t be a doos out there either. Don’t litter, go off the trail for selfies or do anything that would jeopardise the beautiful Reserve.
P is for Prize Giving and Prize Money
The Prize Giving dinner takes place on the evening of the race at the race village and is certainly not to be missed. MC Tatum will have you in hysterics, and it’s always a great time to acknowledge the elite athletes and all those involved in putting on an event of this natures. This year the top three men and women will be walking away with a combined prize purse of R100k, while one lucky finisher will win a lucky draw of R10k! Have a look at this article for a full prize money breakdown!
Q is for Quality
Mountain Runner Events (MRE) pride themselves for putting on high quality, runner-friendly events. For the team at MRE it’s less about getting rich fast, and more about creating authentic, wholesome trail events that not only challenge the individual, but invite them to explore and visit new places. If for some reason you think the quality could be better, be sure to chat to the race director and give your feedback. And if you think the quality was spot on, then also chat to the race director and give us a thumbs up on social media!
R is for Registration
Registration takes place on the Friday before the race at the Race Village at De Hoop Collection. It takes place before dinner and briefing, from 16h00 – 19h00. If you’re not staying at de Hoop and don’t make the registration on time, you can register on the morning of the run at Potberg Environmental Centre (where the race starts) from 06h00. Please inform the race organiser if this is the case, having him wait up for you to arrive makes for a bad first impression!
S is for Start line and transfers
The start is at Potberg Environmental Centre in Potberg Nature Reserve and is a 30km (gravel road) drive from the race village at De Hoop Collection. There are bus transfers from De Hoop Collection that are included in the entry fee and leave at 05h00 sharp. Don’t forget to take and drop off your tog bag with clothes and supplies for the finish line, or you’ll be mighty jealous of fellow trailers in their jackets and flipflops and the end! And don’t forget to set an alarm!
T is for Terrain and route
The Whale of Trail is really a spectacular trail as it offers such varying terrain. The first half takes trail runners through mountains and colourful vynbos and involves two decent climbs as well as some glorious downhill single-track running. The views from the top are spectacular, and stretch from the mountains to the sea, inland over the farmlands and the Breede River. Once you hit the coast, the terrain changes and becomes technical and stubborn. It undulates and cambers and steers you along a sheer cliff face. Luckily you’ll have a cool ocean breeze and whales cheering you on. Then you hit the dreaded beach section, before some blissful coastal single track to the finish. From rocky trails, to grassy single-track, technical paths, sandy beaches and cambered craziness – you’ll get a taste of everything.
U is for UV
It’s not on the mandatory check list, but it should be on yours. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen. For most it’s a plus six-hour day out there and you’re exposed not only to the sun, but other elements too. Pack a good sunscreen and reapply – often – to prevent major sunburn and dehydration!
V is for Vultures
The race takes off from Potberg Nature Reserve and steers runners directly into their first climb of the day. The combined fact that it’s early, a bit chilly and steep can make the climb feel rather long. If you want a distraction though, simply look up! Potberg Mountain is home to the last known colony of the endangered Cape Vultures, and if you’re lucky, they’ll be circling you silently from above. On that note, perhaps keep moving and don’t stop for too long – we want to see you at the finish!
W is for Water Tables and Check Points
There are five check points, two of which are water tables ,on the route. Water is available at or very near to each check point, and the two water tables have snacks, Nuun and water for restocking purposes. It is recommended that you take your own race nutrition, and not rely entirely on what the race provides. Don’t forget that the kind marshals and volunteers at the check points and water tables work hard to ensure you have everything you need, so throw them a high five, a smile or a greeting as you pass!
X is for X marks the spot
On that note, make sure your race number is visible, or if it’s under a jacket that it can be easily reached to show the marshals at check points. If you do not check in, you will be considered lost and the MRE team will have to send out a search party to look for you. How embarrassing and unnecessary. You will also be disqualified, so be sure you’ve been checked in by confirming with the marshal, and making sure he’s marked you off!
Y is for Yours to share
We want to hear about your run; the highlights, the low lights and everything in between. Absorb the experience and take plenty of pictures along the way so that you can savour the day for a long time to come. Be sure to share your pics on social media and help us out by tagging #WOT2018 or #WhaleofTrail so we can share in your amazing experience.
Z is for Zzzzzz – Don’t get caught zzzzzing
Due to the nature of the trail, and the conservation aspect of not allowing too many people to run it on the same day, Cape Nature and De Hoop Nature Reserve have put a cap on the number of runners at 150. So don’t get caught snoozing and enter before all the spots are taken up! Enter here to avoid disappointment!