With summer officially here, it’s a great time to explore the outdoors. Go for a casual stroll with your friends, take your dog out for a walk, feel the sun on your face or challenge your best time on some tough terrain. Trail walking/running is a great way to mix up your training routine and get away from the bustle of daily life, while you discover more of our beautiful South Africa.
We spoke to Falke Brand ambassador, Roelof Mostert, about staying safe on the trails and what to know before you head off on your next adventure. Mostert is an elite Ultra-trail athlete from Cape Town that has been trail running for 6 years and currently holds the course record at the Tsitsikamma Ultra Run.
His safety tips include:
- Always have emergency medical services contact details saved to your phone. This should include Mountain Rescue, Sanparks and ER 24. Inform a friend or family member your intended path and estimated time of your walk/run if you are planning a solo mission.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid running with your headphones/earphones as this makes you more vulnerable to attackers and dangerous animals. Avoid unnecessary accidents with approaching or passing runners or even unexpected traffic.
- Be as visible as possible to other runners by wearing bright coloured clothing items and a decent headlamp when you are out around sunset.
- Wear sunscreen. Do not underestimate the strength of the sun, even a quick 30-minute walk could lead to severe sunburn or sunstroke. Wear a cap and keep a bottle of water at hand.
- For the more advanced runners, out on mountain missions, always run with a basic medical aid kit including a space blanket, whistle and decent rain shell. It’s not meant for when you are running, it’s there for when you are unable to run.
- Be mindful of other hikers and runners by keeping left and passing right. This is standard trail etiquette.
Correct footwear is critical. Your shoes need to offer your ankle support and have enough grip on the soles to handle the terrain you are exploring. Securely tie your shoelaces.
According to Roelof, “socks are just as important as choosing the correct shoe. I am currently a big fan of the Falke Limited Edition Range, they are versatile and incredibly light and breathable for both trail and road running. They offer a sensitive cuff for comfort, seamless toe and arch support and prevent the sock from sliding down and creating friction that leads to blisters”.
Roelof also recommends slotting in with groups. “There are several groups you can join according to your fitness levels and needs. Including Tuesday Trails, Chicks Who Trail and the Celtic Trail Runs to name a few.”