It takes a very strong, confident trail runner to admit they are still a student. Fellow trail runners might see you as an expert when you have completed a few races. When they ask your advice, it would be easy to act like a know-it-all and rattle off a list of tips and tricks. But it takes a much better, bigger person to admit they are also just a student, just further along the same path.
When you close yourself off to learning, you stop living. Because we are all having the same life experience, each with our own mountains, valleys, whoops, cries and jumps for joy. And it is our duty to make sure everyone gets to the finish line. No one left behind.
It was with this student mindset that we welcomed our Trail Workshop Participants and presenters to the Kroonkamer at Fort Schanskop, Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria on a clear Saturday Morning.
As a trail runner you always have something to learn. Running is already such a complex sport, and if you add mountains and weather to that, it becomes the definition of adventure.
The Excited student
Our participants were full of excitement and eager to soak up all the knowledge from our team of presenters. A team of presenters who ended up learning as much as the attendees!
We created the Trail Workshop, not just to help teach. But also to learn. Every trail runner is on their own journey, with their own backpack full of adventures, experiences and advice to share. And sharing is what makes this day so much fun for everyone.
You enter a comfortable, fun mindset for a day. You suspend your idea of ‘I already know that’ and you open yourself up to a greater appreciation of the sport we all love.
How we help each other
The best part of Trail Running is the help you get from a complete stranger when you need it. Right there on top of the mountain. Half way through the race and miles from civilization, you meet humanity.
And it is this humanity that we shared with everyone. Everyone becomes equal once you stand on the startline. We were all reminded of our ‘Two legs, and two lungs’. And once you take off your shoes for the Flamingo test, you see that even the professionals are just ordinary people. People you can learn from. People who happen to run trail. Eager to share. Eager to bring you along to the top of the mountain.
Because that view is only worth it, if we can share it with others. When you hear that it is mostly mental you start to believe you could also do it.
Only if we can share it
With a few mobility principles under their belt, our heroes went into the rest of the day learning about strengthening the running machine. Working on the elements that add up to making them a stronger, faster, easier runner.
As the day went on, the wealth of knowledge expanded. With decades of experience, our racing experts unlocked their secrets to having a great time in the mountains. From ‘becoming’ the storm right up to ‘what to pack’ for the storm, our participants were absolutely glued to every word being said.
Each of them came to the workshop with their own goals and races. And thanks to our experts, a great deal of the uncertainty was simply evaporated. Like the steam from the pre-race coffee. Our participants got insider tips preparing them for their individual challenges making those lofty goals much more achievable and within reach. Healthy Trail Running can be indeed be Easy.
Working towards their own goals
After a great lunch we headed out for a practical session with the Coach. Articulating his years of wisdom to a group of eager trail runners, everyone was introduced to training principles bound to improve their results.
The day was capped off with a trail skills session. As you know in trail running, what goes up must fly down. Everyone was given the tools, both mental and physical to make sure the way up is much more fun, and the way down goes by even faster.
Our great sponsors
The lucky draw ensured more excitement on top of an already great day. A day such as this would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. GRB Physiotherapists, The Natural Runner, Tailwind Nutrition, the Clay Café @ Red Barn, Vivolicious, Clock Peaks Coffee, My Road Less Travelled and Rosemary Hill.
A community relies on one another, and everyone who contributed made this a day to remember.
Let the student teach the master
Sharing your knowledge to a group of trail runners is never easy. Each presenter is also someone with a day job, their own journey and their own backpack of experience. Even though Riaan, Drienie, Karen, Thabang, Clint, Fernando and Herman was on the presenter’s list, they were also students for a day. Bringing together such an open-minded group of people, makes the learning so much more fun.
Our participants enjoyed their wisdom, jokes and insight, whilst they were also there to participate. To learn and share. To make sure we see each other again. On top of the mountain. All smiles and full of life.