Trail-running to unite community

Tour operator Brent Thomas.

Less than a month after a Hout Bay trail-running enthusiast spoke of his plans to use the sport to unite the community, a trail run has been organised on Karbonkelberg for Sunday September 2.

Innes Smith, who relocated with his family from Australia last year, believes Hout Bay has some of the best trail running in the world, and earlier this month reached out to all Hout Bay communities to start programmes to take advantage of the spectacular terrain (“Running as one,” Sentinel, August 10).

Not only have experienced runners answered the call by donating hundreds of pairs of running shoes to less fortunate athletes from Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg, but Mr Smith has formed a partnership with local tour operator Brent Thomas, of Karbonkelberg Tourism, to roll out trail runs on the mountain.

In Imizamo Yethu, boxers from the Sisonke Boxing Club are also now joining Hout Bay trail runners as part of their bi-weekly training regimen.

“Some of the older guys are also joining us for our Sunday runs, while there are also quite a few ladies 
who are starting to take part. There is impressive talent,” Mr Smith 
said.

“Brent and I have collaborated on the run on Sunday. It will start at 7am at The Vine (Main Road, Hout Bay), go through the harbour up to Hangberg and onto Karbonkelberg. Brent has also introduced me to some Rastafarian trail runners who will be taking part. I’m really excited about it.”

Mr Thomas said he hoped the trail runs would give greater exposure to Karbonkelberg Tourism and the broader Hangberg community.

“We offer hiking, biking and kayaking, and now we will have ‘Karbonkelberg Trail Runners’. There have obviously been concerns over safety on the mountain, so we will be focusing on the security aspect and will employ three local residents to oversee this,” he said.

While traditionally there has been scepticism around such initiatives in the harbour community, Mr Thomas believes once the project is up and running more locals will begin to participate.

“This is a big tourism opportunity, and it will also allow people to break the perception that the people of Hangberg are a bunch of stone-throwers. I would also like to work with organisations like the Waves 4 Change surfing programme. I want to do more things for the kids.”

Mr Smith said his next goal was to stage a 12km “race with a difference” in Hout Bay.

“It would be not so much a race as it would be an event. It would go up and round Karbonkelberg with check points manned by members of the local community. It would be for everyone – kids, older people, everyone. The idea is to finish in the harbour, where runners and supporters would be treated to a culinary experience with food stalls serving local fare.

“This could also be a nice spark to really open up Hangberg, with members of the local community involved.”