It’s no wonder that trail running has become one of the most popular forms of exercise in the past few years. It’s an activity that really gets your heart racing, in an environment that offers stunning scenic views of the great outdoors.
You’ll find a variety of superb locations for both trail running and mountain biking in KwaZulu-Natal. Meticulously designed trails in the Drakensberg foothills combine a true physical challenge with a setting that will take your breath away.
Drakensberg MTB trails at Champagne Sports Resort
Whether you’re an experienced trail runner or a novice to the sport, there are a number of suitable trails at Champagne Sports Resort. 3km, 4km and 7km routes are situated within the estate and offer incredible views of the surrounding landscape. These trails are safe, secure and well maintained.
Cathkin Trails is a community driven project that brings trail running and mountain biking enthusiasts together to experience some incredible routes in the Central Berg. These trails are excellent for more experienced athletes looking for a greater physical challenge. There are 12km, 20km and 30km routes that meander through various estates around Champagne Castle and the Central Drakensberg Valley.
Many of these trails are suitable for teenagers, however please note that underage participants must be accompanied by an adult and must sign an indemnity form.
There is an entrance fee for all of the Cathkin Trails. This ranges from R50 per day or R200 for a week pass.
Is trail running the perfect sport?
It’s true that trail running and mountain biking have become popular sports… but why is this?
Trail running is more than simply exercise… it’s a physical activity that connects you to nature and provides a far greater challenge than hitting the treadmill ever could.
Physical benefits of trail running
If you compare trail running or mountain biking to similar activities in your gym, you’ll find that you use more muscles when you exercise outdoors. Even going for a run in your suburban neighbourhood can’t compare to the physical benefits of a rugged mountain trail.
Trail running and mountain biking uses a greater variety of muscles, which increases your endurance and the exercise value of the sports. You’re also less likely to be repetitively straining the same muscle groups because the terrain is varied… leading to fewer injuries. The challenge of uneven terrain also means that you burn more calories, so if your goal is to lose weight, then it’s a great choice of activity.
Mental benefits of trail running
It’s possible that the benefits of trail running to mental health are even greater than the physical ones.
Simply spending time in nature is proven to improve mental well-being. When combined with the endorphin boosting benefits of exercise, trail running can actually help to reduce anxiety.
Trail running is a form of physical meditation. It allows you to switch off the part of your brain that spirals into negativity, and simply enjoy the moment.
While you may wish that you could experience these benefits every time you exercise, it is good to know that KwaZulu-Natal’s best MTB trails and trail running routes are easily accessible. Just a couple of hours out of Durban, you’ll find yourself in the foothills of the Central Berg… where majestic mountain scenery provides the perfect backdrop to the ultimate physical challenge.