2017 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge Media Release

 No: eston1701

17 July 2017

Written by: Nick Tatham

Trail running to enhance Eston MTB Challenge’s appeal

Eston – The popular Illovo Eston MTB Challenge has added another string to it’sr bow as organisers have included two trail running events to the exciting list of events on offer, with an 18km and 9km the options for runners when the event takes place on Sunday, 6 August.

The Eston MTB Challenge has been consistently one of the most popular one day classics in KwaZulu-Natal and for race organiser Andrew van Rensburg, trail running is an obvious inclusion as they look to cater to for the growing new market.

“It’s a natural progression to move into trail running,” Van Rensburg commented.

“We have seen through the inclusion of trail running at our other events that it is increasing in popularity and we feel that it makes our events even more appealing for the whole family.

“All you need is a pair of takkies to run along the trails and with it being cheaper than the mountain biking races; it is a great alternative for those who aren’t riders.”

The Illovo Eston MTB Challenge offers riders four different options ranging from a 60km marathon to a 10km fun ride, and Van Rensburg believes that trail running and mountain biking complement each other perfectly.

“Over time we have seen a lot of people opt to take part in both a trail run and then follow that with one of the mountain biking events.

“It’s brilliant cross training for people to do both and with the trail runs starting so early people have the option to do both,” he added.

Through the years the Eston MTB Challenge has attracted the country’s best mountain bikers with Olympians and MTB World Championship stars taking part and winning with high profile event.

Rio Olympian James Reid took home the title in 2016 ahead of Brendon Davids and fellow Olympian Alan Hatherly in second and third respectively showing the race’s appeal to the cream of the mountain biking crop.

There are a number of factors that influence the nation’s elite riders’ decisions to take part in this event.

“It’s one of the longest running races and so it has a fair amount of prestige about it. The race has a long history and the top guys all want to win the Eston MTB Challenge.

“The fast-paced nature of the race is also a massive draw card because it is basically an all-out sprint for 60km which is exciting for the riders and spectators.

“It also appeals to the cross country riders and they seem to excel at Eston.

“I also think for the average rider the race offers brilliant scenery and some exciting single track,” Van Rensburg explained.

Riders from KwaZulu-Natal are often attracted to the Eston MTB Challenge due to its close proximity.

“I have always thought that Eston is so popular because it is between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

“It’s accessible for riders from all parts and provides riders with an exciting day in the saddle,” added Van Rensburg.

The 2017 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge provides runners and riders with a wide selection of events to take part in. From a mountain biking side there is the Illovo 60km Marathon, the 40km aQuellé Half Marathon, the STIHL Tala Family Ride and the Omnia Kids Ride.

From a trail running perspective the events offers an 18km and 9km run.

More information can be found at www.illovoestonmtb.co.za

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Along with famous MTB trails, the 2017 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge will introduce trail running to their exciting list of offerings when the popular event gets underway at the Eston Farmers Club on Sunday, 6 August. Anthony Grote/
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