Matroosberg Private Nature reserve is one of those unique places that should be on your list of places to see. Situated only 35kms outside the beautiful town of Ceres and 160km from Cape Town CBD.
There are plenty activities on offer, hiking, trail running, mountain biking, quad biking, fishing and 4x4ing. In winter when the snow arrives, with great skiing and winter wonderland appeal.
The reserve stands at 1100m above sea level and the peak of the Mountain lies at 2249m above sea level, and offers a fairly untouched landscape.
The good folk at running the cape, being trail and mountain running purists saw the opportunity to have a race here and so the Matroosberg Trail Challenge was born.
Now in its 3rd year the Matroosberg Challenge whether it be the 37km, 24km or 14km trail run holds nothing back. Luckily this year the weather was good infact rather a little warm. Considering the amount of races on this weekend 170 committed trail runners arrived to face what the mighty Matroosberg had on offer. An indication of this being a true trail runners race was the quality of runners that arrived, Aj Calitz probably one of SA’s best Skyrunning and Mountain running aficionados, Christiaan Greyling coming off a great string of results, Ben Brimble winner of the Puffer run 2014, Landie Greyling undoubtedly one of SA’s top female trail runners and Katya Soggot also coming off a string of great results to name but a few.
The main race being the 37km Skyrun forming part of the South African Skyrunning series, the 37km beast of a run was tamed by Aj Calitz for the 2nd year in a row. With Landie Greyling taking top spot in the women’s race.
The 24km saw a straight up and down run, with technical running and hard climbing William Leslie taking the mens race win and Katya Soggot claiming 1st female.
The 14km fast and furious but still solid trail run saw Sibongile Tshikitsha run home in 1st place and Riette Janse van Rensburg winning the women’s 14km.
Although the run is not far from Cape Town it does offer a unique challenge in the form of altitude especially in the 24 and 37km distances.
It also gives participants an excuse to stay in one of the most scenic parts of South Africa and provides a good income to the local area. Great accommodation can be found at Matroosberg Reserve itself (Picture above of the ski hut at Matroosberg), nearby cherry farm Klondyke or in Ceres at one of the many wonderful B&Bs or even the quaint Prince Alfreds Hamlet only an extra 9kms from Ceres.
All in all an amazing event and like Running the Capes other race the Trail du Mont Rochelle this one is a must for anyone who considers themselves a serious trail runner. Keep an eye on Running the Capes Facebook page or Outpost Running's page for some pictures of the race.
See you on the trails!
@MichaelGombart on twitter