Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Media Release

 No: kc2207

27 May 2022

Embargo : None

Written by : Dave Macleod

Trail runners to revel in Karkloof’s splendour

Karkloof – The 2022 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival this weekend will once again not only attract some of the country’s top mountain biking stars but some of the best local trail runners for the 21km and 9km races on Saturday.

Karkloof has grown into a mecca for trail runners and this weekend’s running will entrench that belief as runners prepare to take on the pristine trails that surround the Marriot Karkloof Club on Saturday, for the timed races with prizes, and then for Sunday’s fun runs.

With trail running becoming such a popular pastime in South Africa, the Karkloof Classic runs will attract runners in their numbers and the competitive races will see both defending champions return.

In the women’s division Nokukhanya Memela returns looking to defend her title are she powered her way to victory in the 21km race in 2022 and for the returning Sarah Gray, who finished second, Memela will again be the one to catch.

“I am very excited to be back at Karkloof this weekend and I am really looking forward to the run,” Memela said. “I have been running well and training well for the race this Saturday so I am feeling strong going into the race.

“The trails are very nice but I know that trail running is hard because it’s quite heavy running and there are a lot of hills.

“It is going to be a fun race and I am looking forward to running in the Karkloof again,” she added.

Allison Wasserfall, who finished fourth in 2021, is back to try and fight her way to a podium finish this year.

The trail run at the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival counts towards the ROAG Series and with one event gone in the series so far this could provide an important boost to runners hoping to make a mark.

Chantel Pennicott is entered and she currently sits top of the ROAG Series having won the opening race of the series at New Hanover where Memela could only manage a fourth place finish.

Pennicott is no stranger to the Karkloof and spends a lot of her time running in the region.

“I run there all the time and I think what makes it special is that it’s safe for you to run by yourself but there are also so many different routes that you can choose.

“I’m looking forward to this weekend and I hope that I can get on the podium,” she said.

From a men’s perspective there will be a very strong Merchants Change a Life Academy flavour to the race with defending champion Ayanda Ngcobo back for another crack at the title.

Along with Ngcobo, last year’s 9km trail run winner Bongani Hlonwane has graduated to the full 21km route and it will be interesting to see how he fairs against his fellow Merchants team mates.

From the men’s top five from 2021, just Ngcobo and Hlelani Radebe have put their names forward, however with a lot of time to register there is a chance that there could be a few more big names enter.

The Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival 2022 will take place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May. More info can be found at

Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival 2022
Schedule of events:
Saturday 28th May
07h30 21km Trail Run
08h00 9km Trail Run

Sunday 29th May
07h00 90km MTB
08h00 60km MTB
08h45 40km MTB
09h30 20km MTB
09h50 9km Trail Run
10h00 10km MTB


Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic

Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Logo


Trail runners are expected to revel in the conditions and the trails that have been prepared for them at the 2022 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday and Sunday 28-29 May.

Gavin Ryan/

Local Baynesfield based trail runner Chantel Pennicott is hoping to add the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival's 21km trail run podium to her list of achievements this Saturday.

Golden Gate Challenge/
Phonix Capture

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