Illovo Eston MTB Challenge Media Service

 No: eston1801

23 July 2018

Embargo: None

Written By: Nick Tatham


Eston MTB Challenge the jewel of KZN racing calendar

Eston – This year will mark the 16th year that the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge & Tala Fun Ride aims to put smiles on the faces of thousands of riders and runners of all abilities across the varying distances on Sunday, 5 August at the Eston Farmers’ Club.

Over the years the 60km marathon at Eston has become one of the most sought after titles to win in KwaZulu-Natal and many of the nation’s best marathon and cross country riders have laid claim to the overall title.

In the past the likes of Max Knox, James Reid and Stuart Marais have made the Illovo Eston title their own along with the likes of Cherie Redecker, Jeannie Dreyer and Bianca Haw who have all won the women’s crown.

The rolling sugar cane farms of the Eston region form a picturesque backdrop for the 60km marathon and the aQuellé 40km half marathon, while the hugely popular and manageable Stihl Tala Fun Ride is an option for even the most entry level riders.

“We have not gone and made any big changes to the route this year, we are going with the tried and tested,” chairman of the organising committee Ant Foster said. “There will be a few sneaks in Insingizi and Derrin Smith’s farm but otherwise the same as last year.”

It’s an exciting journey through the famous Tala Collection Private Game Reserve that incorporates a lot of jeep track and adaptable single track from the start at the Eston Farmers’ Club. There are opportunities to see the local wildlife which include impala, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe.

“There will be a few tweaks to the Tala route as we incorporate some of Tala’s own single track into the course.

“Last year we made quite a few changes to the route and people loved it, they said that it was the best track that we have produced in a number of years which was encouraging,” Foster added.

For the little ones, there will once again be an Omnia Kids Ride around the Eston Club grounds.

A new addition in 2017 was trail running. This year there will be two options again for runners with a longer 18km run and then a shorter 9km event.

As with the Tala Fun Ride both trail runs will give runners the chance to view game through the reserve while they negotiate a route that is manageable for runners of all abilities.

“We couldn’t believe how successful the trail runs were last year and we heard from one of the runners within 50 metres of entering Tala that it was their best run of the year!

“The runners also spoke about some spectacular wildlife sightings on their run too,” Foster added.

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

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Illovo Eston MTB Challenge has always been one of the most scenic mountain bike races in KwaZulu-Natal and 2018 will be no different when the event gets underway on Sunday, 5 August. Anthony Grote/
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