It’s become known as the (cheerful adjective) Merrell Race with that (unprintable adjective) Hill. A set of proper trail runs in Joburg that wind through the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens and up into the surrounding rocky hills of Roodepoort.
This year’s Merrell Spring Run is on Saturday 27th August, presented by Action Gear.
With so many runners having conquered the original 6km and 12km challenges in the past few years, the organisers have designed a new 20km route to challenge the fit and fantastic. This explores more of the adjacent municipal land to the east and Hobby Park trails to the west and overall offers a powerful workout combination of fast flowing tracks and technically testing sections.
Fiercely competed or enjoyed at a more leisurely pace, all runners pass by the cascading waterfall and cliffs home to a breeding pair of majestic Verreaux’s Eagles. Not for nothing have these Gardens been voted the best place to get back to nature in Gauteng for 9 years in a row.
Kids are not left out of the action. If not tired out on the jumping castle, there is a 2km loop on the shady walkways and magical trails laid out just for them to gallop or trot around, accompanied by colourful marshalls.
Having heeded the call for an earlier start and taking advantage of the lengthening days as we hurtle on into Summer, registration opens at 6am (with obligatory coffee freshly brewed by Coffee Cafè) with the first race starting at 7am. If you are not in a rush, pack a picnic for afterwards and embrace the Springtime sunshine on the lawns, or book a table at Eagle’s Fare restaurant situated alongside the little stream and amidst the lush foliage.
For some midweek light-hearted fun, or as a warm-up, pack a head torch with your trainers and head on over to the vibey Delta Café on Wednesday 24th August to join the crazy colourful pack of runners blazing light and laughter through Delta Park in the dark evening on 5km and 8km trails.
The Merrell Night Run events, powered by Black Diamond, are known around the country as a superbly organised mix of merrymakers and racing snakes. In Joburg the well-marked and marshalled routes along with the great venue, finishers medals and lucky draw prizes will not disappoint.
Online entries close at 18h00 on the 23rd Aug for the Merrell Spring Night run and at 18h00 on the 25th Aug for the Merrell Spring Day Run. Plan ahead and take advantage of the 10% discount if you enter for both races in one online booking.