Marathon Distance. Four river crossings. Over 2,400 metres of elevation gain and 11 significant climbs. This is what makes the Otter “The Grail of Trail”
This is the summary of the Otter African Trail Run, which takes pace in October every year along 42 km of Garden Route coastline. It’s a gruelling event that requires elite fitness, perseverance and grit, from start to finish. Hosted in one of South Africa’s most beautiful areas, cared for by the excellent team from SANParks, spending time on the trail is a bucket list item for many.
EasyEquities was the headline sponsor of this year’s event, which drew hundreds of participants and shattered a record in the women’s event. Toni McCann (pictured above) broke the women’s Otter African Trail Run course record, setting a new benchmark time of 4 hours, 33 minutes and 26 seconds. Also, because she completed the race in under 4:40, she received a total of R150 000 sponsored by EasyEquities and the Otter Trail organisers.
“The Otter Trail organisers are one of the best teams I have ever worked with,” says Carel. “They’re smart, passionate, and totally focused on the athletes, sponsors, community and the environment. It is such a privilege to work with these amazing people. And both the EasyEquities and CN&CO teams loved engaging the other sponsors who all added hugely to the event – especially Kaui, Sealand and Devil’s Peak.”
There were a number of athletes in the CN&CO network who participated in the race, including our very own Blake Dyason, EasyEquities’ Justin Pearse (a superb top 15 finish) and his brother Rob, Bradley Leather (who came 10th overall and first in the Master’s category for the Challenge) and Shaun Keeling (also from EasyEquities), Andre Serfontein (a varsity mate of Carel’s who officiates weddings with him) and Josie Dougall’s husband, Simon of Crawford Dougall Insurance Brokers.
Carel was at the finish line, handing out medals to the finishers and ringing the cut-off bell – not the best job, but someone has to do it!
“It was a profound honour to welcome the athletes as they crossed the finish line,” says Carel. “The whole time I was standing up there I was thinking about endurance and marvelling at the fact that so many people are able to put themselves through extreme physical and mental pressure to achieve their own personal goals, whatever they may be.
“It made me think about my own perseverance in my previous three Comrades marathons and inspired me to enter for next year’s event. Time to get my running shoes back on!”
Carel says placing the medal around Shaun Keeling’s neck was especially meaningful.
“I first met Shaun at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where he was rowing for South Africa in the men’s heavyweight pair event,” he recalls. “He subsequently joined the EasyEquities team and got married to the fabulous Kate. The couple brought a new baby into the world earlier this year. I love it when awesome people succeed – and this is just one athlete’s story! Imagine the power of everyone’s combined stories. It’s just magical.”
And, like investing, everyone can and should do it!
Here are some photos of the 2022 Otter African Trail Run: