Thursday, April 26, 2012

Otter trail run is conservation effort

2011 Otter champion Ryan Sandes will this year be defending his title

With the Otter African Trail Run the aim is to leave the trail in a better condition than before the event, explained race director Mark Collins of Magnetic South at the launch of the 2012 Otter at the Two Oceans Aquarium. And it is because of this conservation element that Hi-Tec SA, a Two Oceans partner and sponsor of SAN Parks, was keen to become a presenting sponsor, says marketing manager Ian Little. Apart from that, the standard 42km marathon Otter is one of the toughest courses he has ever run, says ultra-runner Marc Smith of co-presenting sponsor GU.

The Otter African Trail Run is a “magic” run due to several factors, explains Collins. “While hikers find The Otter a gruelling five-day trek, guys do it here in just over four hours – the cut off is 11 hours.” Nobody is allowed to train on the course during the year and no runner therefore has “home-ground” advantage. The popular hiking trail is usually booked years in advance and the event therefore offers trail runners an unique opportunity to become one of the privileged few to experience an environment closed to most 364 days of the year. It is strictly against the rules to litter and prior to the event the scouts and organisers clear any litter left by hikers to leave the area in a more pristine condition than what they found it.

Hi-Tec has been a presenting sponsor since the inaugural event in September 2009. This year the trail, end September, early October, will be run “backwards” from west to east for the first time, which will increase the difficulty of a race already rated very tough.  “Technical aspects of this gruelling event offer the ideal platform for promotion of the growing range of outdoor adventure shoes offered by Hi-Tec,” says Little.

Hi-Tec marketing manager Ian Little with the prologue route of the race
 GU has been present from the start but their half-way station will this year be run as a co-presenting sponsor for the first time “to put food back in the body to provide the necessary fuel,” says Smith.


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