[This was written by Fran Siebrits and published online by Wild Magazine http://www.wildcard.co.za, 2012]

Southern Africa has an incredible
diversity of natural landscapes, providing an abundance of beautiful
terrain to explore and enjoy on foot. Trail runner and adventure
photographer Jacques Marais has compiled the best trail running routes
in and around South Africa in Trail Runner’s Guide.

Trail Runner

With a foreword by SA’s very own top international trail runner Ryan Sandes, Trail Runner’s Guide
promises to be everything the novice and professional trail runner
could want in a guide book. Routes, facts and advice are all included in
this comprehensive guide, complete with stunning colour photographs to
lure you nearer.  

Not only are the 100 trails and events equipped with trail summary and
in-depth route information, there is also information on footwear,
training gear and insider tips from top trail running experts. The guide
book impresses further by suggesting a more holistic approach to trail
running. As part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, there is
information on nutrition, hydration, yoga, posture therapy and body
balancing for runners.  

The most impressive aspect of Trail Runner’s Guide has to be
its gradient profile and contoured route map for each trail. It’s best
not to look at the gradient profile for the notorious Otter African
Trail Run first though; it is so hilly that the profile looks more like a
heart monitor graph in a hospital than a morning of fun. 

In the working world, author Jacques Marais is an environmentalist and
trail run organiser, so it comes as no surprise that trail running is
his religion. “It is my head space, my therapy, my escape into a
parallel world fuelled by fresh air and endless horizons…” His passion
has led him to become a recognised adventure photographer and columnist.

Tempted to hit the trails? There’s not much to it. Buy the guide book,
choose your next weekend adventure and get that body onto a scenic trail
for some soul time in the fresh air. 

“You do not need a reason to run… Trail running remains one of the most
uncomplicated sports you can practise in the great outdoors.” – Trail Runner’s Guide

Trail Runner’s Guide (R250)
By Jacques Marais
Published by MapStudio