Comments from some of those who joined us in previous years

Hi Tatum

Thank you so very much for an exceptionally well organised event. You and your crew are a notch above the rest, with every little detail taken care of. I consider it an absolute privilege to have been afforded the opportunity to have been able to participate in the Merrell Whale of Trail and will definitely return next year.

Kind Regards

Louise Visser


Dear Tatum & Graham

I am safely back in Whk,  after the most wonderful adventure & experience  with the Whale of Trail team.

Trying to focus & catch up after a week away from the office, but  I find myself that my thoughts are wondering & slipping back to all images ( prentjies) I have in my heart and mind about the run  on Saturday.

And YES my body is aching, but every step was / is worth the new memories I have made.

Thank you so much for all the spoils & for making me feel like royalty,
thank you for the excitement you generated,
all the arrangements & logistics were perfect,

I felt part of the whale of trail team / family, my part was just to get to the finishing line.

Tatum your excitement when we crossed the finish line, was wonderful, you made such a fuss and I could just laugh.

on a personal note…my late husband was my biggest supporter, always along the route & proudly waiting at the finishing line, since his passing my races/ events are different / difficult to finish, the slogan together we do better, sums up my experience, so thank you, thank you, thank you, for being Tatum… my new main supporter.

My Whale of trail experience was MAJESTIC!

On the way back home I was still processing all my thoughts and  the entire experience, these 5 words sum up my experience in short,
Whale of a Trail


the personalised note to congratulate me with my successful finish is so special, baie dankie!

Please accept my sincere apology as I did not say goodbye, we had to leave earlier yesterday to catch the plane back home,

Blessing for the remainder of the year and all the items / events on your to do lists.

I trust we will meet / see again in the future, should you ever visit the Land of the Brave( Namibia), kindly contact me,

Kind regards
Ilsje du Plooy


Dear Tatum

Congratulations to you and Graham for an outstanding event yesterday. You have certainly to joined the top echelon of trail racing events in SA and have set the bar high for the future . It will be interesting to see what your next moves are to make a top event even better!

It was a privilege to be able to see SA’s best trail athletes in action and the W is likely to feature prominently on the calenders of our best athletes in future. And perhaps some of the best athletes in the world?

Sorry to miss out on the post-race fun, but needed to get back. Thanks for your positive energy and looking after me and for Graham’s guidance on the trail ( and also Rob and his partner who lifted me to Vaalkrans to enable me to see the leaders running along the coastal trail.

Here are copies of my published articles for your records. Heavy competition for space in today’s Weekend Argus so I was delighted that they published most of my copy. Pity about not using a photo but I will certainly find a time and place to get some  published – the light on the mountain ridge before CP 1 was perfect – will attach the Two I sent to the Argus.

All the best and hope to run with you along the trails sometime soon!





Dear Tatum & Graham

I cannot tell you how much this last weekend did me the world of good. I have a dazzling armoury of memories to help keep me inspired and uplifted.

Thank you so so much

Super big hug, Katya (Ladies winner 2015)

Hi Tatum and the rest of your team

Wow, amazing, incredible! What a weekend and what an event! I would do any of your events any time, any day again!!! And I would recommend any of your events to everybody!

Guys, I don’t even know where to start. Tatum, your enthusiasm & spirit (and that of your team) with probably next to nothing sleep, was really contagious. Thank you so much for that! The organizing was superb and everybody at all the aid stations was fantastic. Very friendly, very helpful and even very concerned if we didn’t look too good. The medics even helped me to fix my bladder (luckily my hydration pack and not my own!).

And guys, thanks for waiting for us that came in almost last. It was really nice to see you guys were still there and Tatum the hug from you meant a lot to all of us. The Friday & Saturday nights dinners were delicious!

There is actually so much to say, but it all comes down to THANK YOU

Hope to see your whole team very soon again:-).

Warm regards, Christa Ungerer

Dear Mountain Runner team

I was a supporter this past weekend at the Whale of Trail run. I just wanted to send my thanks and congratulations on staging an excellent event. Every detail was considered, planned and thoroughly executed. The thoughtfulness of the bus driver who allowed us to drive 4 toddlers to Koppie Alleen was greatly appreciated as it saved us subjecting a bus full of tired runners to their end-of-day exhaustion.
I was so impressed with the announcer at the finish who I hear was equally enthusiastic at the start and at the prize giving. She made each finisher feel like a winner and added a little something special.

The catering looked fantastic. Well done to that team for producing what appeared to be gourmet food in the bush.
I thought the kit bag idea was brilliant and saved supporters carting those extra supplies. I may snuggle into that cozy hoodie myself quite often.
Congratulations on a wonderful weekend and all praise to God for the stunning weather and creation.

Kind regards, Christine Gibbs

Tatum and team,

Well done guys on hosting an incredible event. I think that you can give yourselves a huge pat on the back for putting together one of the greatest trail running events in the world.

Will definitely be back next year.

Regards,Mark van Houten

Dear Tatum and Graham,
In the flurry of social media tweets and Facebook shares and likes, we often forget how to express our heartfelt thanks.

Clare and I would like to thank you both, and your entire team for a most wonderful experience. Whale of Trail is without a doubt the most beautiful and memorable trail I’ve run. To share it with my daughter makes it even more so.

Not only was your organisation and attention to detail superb, the catering and all the extra bits made our weekend comfortable and happy. As you know I was apprehensive about running an Ultra distance trail with a recent injury but after talking to you felt reassured that both Clare and I would be looked after in case things went wrong. Thank goodness I just forgot all about it whilst revelling in the beauty of the playfully magnificent whales and the views from the top of the mountains. I certainly have done myself no harm and feel I could run it all over again this weekend. Just for a laugh I’ve attached my Suunto Ambit’s recording of altitude vs heart rate below. Thanks goodness we listened to you and took that first half easy. What you said about the section after Noetsie is so true Graham, those hills hardly raised my average heart rate at all, and look what the excitement of the Indian Ocean and those whales did to it then!

Well, the beach running had a bit to do with as well I guess. The doctor in me just closed her eyes and said:

“Holy cow, don’t tell a cardiologist about this one!”

I am now suffering from a severe case of post trail blues, I keep searching for whales in the treetops of Johannesburg and have this urge to fill my lungs and scream: “This is so damn beautiful!!!!” Which Joburg of course is not.

I may just have to come back for more next year.

Kindest regards, Tanya Wörner and Clare Walker

Tats and Graham

A huge thank you for an incredible race.
We had the most awesome day. The conditions were perfect, a light breeze to keep us cool, sunshine to keep us comfortable and an array of whales to keep us entertained.
As much as you assured us you weren’t marking the route, you definitely made sure that at the right moment, we knew we were on the right trail. Thank you

The trail really encompassed so many great trail running elements; some good climbing in beautiful mountains with incredible vistas, single trail with easy footing to really open up, some good technical trail, some uber technical trail to really put you through your paces (long enough to question your sanity and actually look forward to running on a beach! but short enough to push through) with stunning coastal views and a challenging beach section (again, long enough to challenge but not too long to break you). I imagine this to be an incredibly unique combination of features, making this a very special run.

We are very grateful for the small touches that you put in to making this a fabulous event. The short and interesting wildlife talks on Friday night were perfect to get us into the mindset of really appreciating the beauty and uniqueness of the area we were running through.
Your positive energy was contagious and could be felt around the room on Friday and at the start on Saturday, a great distraction to the mounting nerves.
The food snacks at the water points were perfect for hitting the spot. And a platter of fresh fruit after a day of eating many energy bars was a site for sore eyes.

We felt very lucky and privileged to be a part of this special event. Thank you and your team for all the hard work.

Kind regards, Lisa and Trevor


Comments from 2014 inaugural event

Dear Tatum

Thank you very much for the big surprise with all the stationery, books  etc.  We are so glad and thankful.  We are really going to use it.  This is absolute a big bonus for the school.It is really highly appreciated by everyone.  Have a nice day.

Best wishes

Elize Strauss, Natassia du Toit and Mariaan Dunn

Laerskool Ouplaas

Hello Mountain Runner Team,
Thanks for an incredible race – beautiful trail and really well organised.
Thanks a million,
Georgina (Ayre)
You guys rocked an amazing event yesterday….. The Whale of Trail is going to become not only a bucket list run… But one you want to return to again and again. Super professionally done guys!! Not only did you cover all bases, your staff on and off the trails and at the finish showed passion, warmth and enthusiasm. Big tick. – Sonja Stafford-Northcote

Thanks to all the team from mountain runner for an awesome event!! You guys rock!! – Caitlin Lewis

Well Done Graham and Tatum
You guys put on a fantastic show piece and we look forward to seeing this event catapult into the iconic events list….Magical J – Stuart Doc Hutcheson

Hi Graham and Tatum,

Now that I am ” some what” recovered… many thanks for an awesome event..To be honest I savour it  more now,  than on Saturday evening !!.It was a very hard trail. Especially for a old codger like me.

I have done a few.. Otter / Retto, Aussenkehr, Odyssey, Wild Coast  and most local Cape runs  etc .. but I rate this by far the hardest.

Maybe an age thing, but the long sandy stretches were killingly laborious and slow for me  :(.. One really had to work so hard  at it .

Technically the rocks after CP 3 were also very demanding and required such concentration.So an amazing race… well organised ,lovely people managing the various points , wonderful food and  loved the music man ,and good value. [ The Merrell jacket is a absolute winner 🙂 Please thank all your  team and  of course the generous sponsors. Everyone’s  efforts on our behalf, as well as their attitude was appreciated by myself and , I am certain , by all the other participants.

One additional observation, which is not really your responsibility. The actual physical trail needs to have closer attention. So many timber supports are broken , or fallen down,  and waiting to catch a hiker or , in our case, runner. I know from my days in S ad R with the Mountain club [ CT section ]  there are cases in Canada ,and Germany, where hikers are suing the authorities for accidents. If more pedantic the sections to end  CP2 are quite overgrown . I don’t know how the top runners get through so quickly.  A bit of cutting back would make it much safer for the average hiker , as well as a trail runner. I don’t know how you would tell Cape Nature this…. but it is a genuine observation .

However , it was still a fabulous event and I am proud to be able to say I finished …….[ can’t really say I ran all the way 🙂

many thanks to you all.

My regards



Dear Tatum, Graham and the whale of Trail organising team,

Thank you… thank you… thank you.

I was not certain what I had expected from the inaugural Whale of Trail. Maybe a little of what we have come to expect from similar one day trail classics. What you guys gave us was something unique… something new and fresh (although that was not how I felt at the end). You guys looked after the little things so that we could enjoy the beauty of one of South Africa’s finest trails. Your excellent planning and organisation ensured we never wanted for anything. Sitting at the finish in a hypoglycaemic state , you found me a bean bag to rest on and a lunch pack full of just the right stuff to eat after a hard trail race. The beauty and intimacy of the entire event from start to finish venue made this a special race and one to share with good friends and running mates. What you achieved last Saturday was remarkable, because it set a standard of quality and value that exceeded many expectations not least my own.

Thank you



Hey Hobb!

Thank YOU again for a fantastic event. Truly, my friend, I think the Whale of Trail will become one of the have-to-do’s on the calendar – it already has all the ingredients necessary. You, Tweet and the team did a brilliant job – I can’t even begin to imagine what it takes to get an event like that off the ground so damn successfully the first time around! So, enormous congratulations to you guys, you excelled yourselves and can be very proud.

And yes, I most definitely soaked up the scenery during the race. One had to be very careful doing so, of course, particularly along the cliff edges around 30km or so, but *WOW* it was spectacular! That whole coastline is a piece of heaven, and it was a privilege to see it and be able to soak it up.

Prize money? You serious??Your race prizes have been hugely generous, and seriously great!Looking forward to hearing from ya, chat soon 

Lins x

Hey Tatum

Prize money?? Wow, cool!

Thanks again for the most awesome race, loved every moment (except our silly mistake)!

You guys rock.

Anyway, thanks again, what fun! See you next year without doing a substitution, haha!

See ya, Chad

Hey you

You are so great, and boy did I enjoy my weekend. Magic flashbacks of the run, which I loved! Happy legs and I paced it so that (other than the sand) I felt inspired the whole way.

Loved your passion and professionalism, and the spirit of it all. Thank you SO much.

I’m busy trying to find a weekend that suits Jo, Paul and Filippo, for us to wallow at Goukamma…

Didn’t know there was prize money to boot!! Gosh. Am a lucky, happy girl

Look forward to seeing you soon


Hi Tatum & Tweet

Seriously – I was so impressed not only with the organisation, but with the atmosphere that you created.  So warm, enthusiastic, and supportive – loved the cheering at the finish even though you had been up all night and cheered on most of the field already.Hope to run another one of your races again soon!

Warm wishes,India

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