Mr Giraffe

Why would you choose to run through water, sand and mud, when you could get your daily 5km fix running around the block? Why would you risk getting lost and injured when you could spend 30 minutes in the air conditioned gym on the trusty treadmill? Until you have tried it for yourself, trail running doesn't sound appealing at all. However for pure excitement and a break from the ordinary there is no more liberating activity. This is your chance to leave the concrete jungle and the crazy traffic behind and indulge in fresh air and scenery.

The Good and not so Good of Trail Running
It is meant to be easier on the body. The grass and sand will cause less jarring impact on your knees and ankles, while changing direction constantly will allow you to use different muscles and help you strengthen your hips and joints. So not only does trail running allow you to escape the monotonous boredom that is a treadmill, but it is also easier on your body... well it just sounds amazing and why haven't you ever consider this exercise before.

Well on the one hand it can be a great exercise and will get you toned and fit, you also need to understand that if you are used to running on a treadmill or on the road, then be prepared for a very different experience when you start trail running. The terrain on a trail constantly and suddenly changes. You always have to be focused on the ground in front and be on the look-out for loose rocks, puddles or fallen logs. But be sure to look up once in a while to avoid those low hanging branches. The time will arrive when you will experience that heart-stopping moment when you step down on some rocks and your brain then registers that the rocks are completely loose and you and the rocks are sliding down the hill. However this all just seems to add to the exhilaration of trail running.

Trail running can be dangerous if you aren't careful, but no more dangerous than dodging cars during road running.

Get Out There and Start Experiencing the Joy of the Trail

I'm based in South Africa and my favourite trail is the Groenkloof Nature Reserve just outside of Pretoria. After a long week in the office there is nothing better than to head out early and get onto the 10km trail. The only thing that breaks the silence is the rustling sound of a giraffe or two.

There are plenty of trails all over the world and you will probably be surprised that there is one just  around the corner from where you stay. Find a trail that suits you, start off slow and before you know it you will be spending hours away from the concrete jungle and on the trail.