Autumn: waiting on the platform in the dust of a departing Summer, anxiously peering down the tracks for the scheduled train of Winter. Bikini on body, beanie in hand. The Merrell Autumn Trail Night Series embraces this period of transition by easing us through the change from sweaty hot sports to shivering cold ones with good humoured races through the vineyards in the moonlight shadow of Table Mountain.
In its third year at Groot Constantia Wine Estate, the first of three in the series had a remarkable turnout on Wednesday night. Each race demands a different route and runners now get to enjoy some single forested track and dam walls through neighbouring Klein Constantia. A few were shocked at the new course, but only because they didn’t apply listening skills during the “don’t touch the fence” briefing. Although general consensus was that there is nothing klein about some of those short hills, it was enthusiastically agreed that this was the best designed trail so far.
The 5,5km and 8km trails take athletes on a loop marked with reflective tags that direct them back to Simon’s Restaurant where scrumptious burgers are devoured. Aquelle bottled water is given out to runners at the finishing table, flowing naturally into free wine tastings offered by Groot Constantia.
Black Diamond powers this and all Mountain Runner evening events. They are on hand to provide that essential item required to run around in the dark at prices significantly lighter than normal. Although who are we to put asunder some of those special race relationships forged by several footsteps sharing one lightbeam?
Once again Merrell gave their full support to this event, living out their ethos: Achieve. Never Settle. Hit the Trail. OUT. PERFORM. and encouraging all participants to do the same.
Words written by: Sarah Hearn