Tagged ultra marathon

2 (2)

Steve Black FEATures

FEAT – Fascinating Expeditions and Travels recently interviewed and had a public ‘chat with Steve Black and Clyde Barendse about their epic race against each other around the Southern Coast of South Africa. To see the two articles leading up to the public show case please click on the following links:

Steve and Clydes Land-Sea Duel (29 April 2014)

Clyde wins Land-Sea Duel (27 June 2014)

Meet Clyde Barendse and Steve Black (29 September 2014)

Beneath are some photos from the event.

Wild goose chase – to date Sunday 8 June


in eating an elephant

The legend formally known as Black Street Boy has stopped playing chicken with pantechnicons and is now offshore on the beaches near Hamburg on the route of the legendary race the PE to EL. The race also started as a challenge over a beer as to who could run or paddle quicker over the distance – 240 km.
Longitudinally Black is 111km ahead. Ocean kilometers about 118 km. Being a fair weather paddler Clyde opted to wait for wind and do the PE-EL distance over 3 days instead of the usual 4 day challenge. Starting operation catch up tomorrow, Monday, 9 June 2014, a tough day in the office.
The Race thus far
The Race thus far

Never stop exploring.

Coastal Challenge: Day 10

The Coastal Challenge…an epic adventure of two Ultra Endurance titans, Steve black the runner from Underberg, and the paddler Clyde ‘Skinny Cuppucino’ Barnards also from KZN, dueling it out From Cape Town to Durban for a great and personal cause; Lettie Haynes’ fight against cancer. The race, which started on the 17th of May crossed it’s hypothetical third way on the 26th of May, and not without it’s fair share of drama and challenges.

The Skinny Cuppacino got off to the worst start having to wait for increment weather to pass the Cape before wetting his hull. This gave long distance running specialist Steve Black the oppertunity of opening up a lead of more than a 100 kms within the first two days. This bodes extremely badly for Skinny as he needed to gain a fantastic lead before hitting the shores of Port Elizabeth.

It wasn’t all plain running for the runner Steve and his ‘first’ 500 km running buddy Andrew King. Their plan of day-to-day race route speculation was met with plenty boundary fences and specifically the treacherous nature of the cliffs. Consequently the pair have had to make detours inland, extending the already Ultra Distance a little further. Also in accordance to the laws of popular averages Steve picked up a niggling injury and consequently fell off the pace. The lead of a hundred or so clicks (as one refers to a few kilometers when racing an unintelligible distance) proved to be a minor factor as Skinny recorded more than 100 kms of his own on one day. The a further psychological and very emotional blow struck Steve as his Mother passed away on the first Friday. He carried on running up until the time of the funeral, at which stage he left the race to fly to Johannesburg to return a day later and continue the race. In the interim Skinny had made some, but not great ground against the runner, deflating the lead to a mere 50 kms.

At the time of writing this Steve had returned to Sedgefield, ran to Knysna, spent two days there and then resumed his journey approximately 100 kms ahead of Clyde en route to Plettenberg Bay. Beneath is a collection of photos from the first 10 days of the race.



Steve Black wins 2013 Mountain Mutter

Steve Black running the Mountain Mutter
Steve Black on his way to another Mountain Mutter victory.

The 2013 Mountain Mutter was different to any of the trail runs that were run before. Instead of having two stages 40 km there, and then 40 km back again, the course was 67 km without a break – a tougher assignment than before. Steve was initially unsure of whether or not to enter the race as he came down with flu not a week before the race. Alas, as we know a little flu won’t ever stop the King from running, and run he did. A 4600 foot climb took Steve 8 hrs and 37 minutes to finish, only 3 seconds ahead of second and third place (Pressure indeed!). It took Steve 1 hr 45 minutes to reach the top of Thule. The wind reached gale force strength and the weather was extremely hot – not ideal running circumstances. After Thule the race wound into Sehlabathebe National Park via the Park Lodge, and then onto Tsoelokane Waterfall. From there they raced to the border of the Eastern Cape, and back down again to St Bernard’s Peak Hotel.


The spirit of the “white horse” lives on


Saturday 31st of March 2012 will go down as one of the sad days in ultra-running. Losing one of it’s custodians, a man that embodied the free-spirited meaning of why we run, passed away while out running in the forests of New Mexico. Some would say it was a fitting end to the life of a person who spent so much time in the solitude of nature, running free and wild. Others would say it was a tragic loss, an empty void that only a man as bold, yet as understated, as Micah True (AKA Caballo Blanco) could fill.

Few knew of the “white horse” until his character was made public in the now infamous book Born To Run by Christopher MacDougall. For most average runners, it’s hard to completely understand the mind set of an ultra-runner, and more so that of an individual who devoted so much of the second half of his life to exploring the natural world, more often then not, on his own. He became rooted within a community that continue to exist in the remotness of the Sierra Madre, a population grounded by the true meaning of what it takes to lead simplified lives.

  “The Rarámuri are not ’super-human’ as depicted by some. 
They are very real people facing very real problems and issues,
like all of us. We are all much more alike than different.”  

~ Caballo Blanco

His ways became legendary, often disappearing for days as he ran between villages, connecting with the various friends in the Tarahumara communities he made along the way. He inspired many by his unassuming demeanour, a personality that will continue to ignite the spirit of many who aspire to personal fortitude through their own running. He made time to stop and speak to people, often spending a few days with them sharing his stories – a true free spirit.

Recently, a young South African film maker by the name of Andrew King travelled to the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon to begin work on a documentary he has embarked on about the true spirit of an ultra-runner. To have met Micah True for the first time, and to have been one of the last few people to have seen him alive, we asked him to share a few thoughts about his first, and now lasting, impressions of Caballo Blanco.

Micah True lived by a simple philosophy of caring, peace and honesty that is embodied in his well known motto of Run Free. This is a vision he spread everywhere he went by the person that he was, and the things that he did for the betterment of others.
I had read the literature about the famed mythical person of Caballo Blanco made popular but the Christopher McDougal book Born to Run and attracted to the parallels to the story I am hoping to tell in my as yet unnamed production about South African Ultra Runner and Underberg Horseman, Steve Black.

Steve flies largely under the radar, and has a similar calm and piece around him and at 57 years old is still driven to explore, learn and connect. He was also incidentally instrumental in getting me excited about endurance sports and the mental strengths involved. When I heard Steve was going to run the Copper Canyon Ultra I was astonished that this was common knowledge and negotiated there and then to document the next year of his life which besides Mexico involved running on various continents and ultimately culminating in the 100 mile Iditorun in Alaska this time next year. It was the story of humility, integrity and running for the joy of it in the purest sense that made our trip to the Copper Canyons the perfect fit. A simple email exchange with Micah including a concise summary of the story I was hoping to tell and a PayPal race entry donation that got me in the door. Micah also suggested that I join the Club Mas Loco Google forum which had discussions and information about the race. After submitting my request to the User forum and being accepted by the moderator, Micah himself, I was granted what I consider one of the greatest privileges of my life, as during his disappearance for 5 days and after his passing, I was given a front row seat to the support, tributes and outpourings of emotions from his closest friends and those around the world that shared his beliefs and vision. Many of the personal tributes talk about the complete genuineness of Micah True. There we certainly never any ulterior motives with him and everything he did was for the betterment of others, and I think that is something that this complex world we live in is crying out for.

Micah admired the Tarahumara Indians honest, caring and un-materialistic way of life and he believed that this attitude all stemmed from their simple their joy of running. This respect was quite clearly reciprocated by the Tarahumara for whom Micah had done so much. Although they could speak the same language, they very seldom spoke at length to each other, it was more in the way they carried themselves in each others company. Calm gestures, eye contact and subtle nobs that spoke of their deep gratitude. This attitude of respect was infectious and anyone that takes the time and (considerable) effort to travel to the Copper Canyon Ultra is immediately swept up in it. It is the common bond that links all of the outsiders or Mas Locos as dubbed by Caballo. Many of the heartfelt tributes on the User Group speak about the difference between legend and legacy. The iconic figure of Caballo Blanco will be told for many generations, a status which is deserved, but could just as well have been earned by various ways, by being notorious or similarly by having won a handful of medals and trophies. Legend, however is something entirely different to Legacy, and it is quite clear that Micah True has left behind a legacy that is positive, meaningful and lasting. And what greater privilege can there be than to leave behind such a legacy.

Through the few conversations and time spent running with Micah in the Siera Madre, as well has having been witness to the way he has inspired those around the world, my resolved to produce a meaningful documentary of the integrity and pure values shown by amazing people like Micah True and Steve Black is as strong as ever as I continue this journey.

A fitting quote from Micahs close friend Scott Lease. “Micah Ignited a bon fire and invited everyone to throw their wood on it, to join in the warmth and light…. We will continue this glow into the hearts of everyone that loves to run free….”


Wild Coast Ultra Marathon 2010

The Wild Coast Ultra Trail Run 2010 started at Silaka Nature Reserve in Port St Johns on Monday 8th February and ended at Nahoon Beach, East London, 270 kilometers and six days later.

From the start it was obvious that Steve Black was not easily going to give up his mantle of record holder.  Steve blasted away and after 5 kilometers had lost the following pack, which quickly split up and began the battle with navigation along the rugged coast. 

The 55 year old endurance prodigy had prepared well for the run, completing the course twice since the 2009 event, once the previous week! The weather was hot and humid and this affected most of the field as they exhausted their water and had to seek out fresh supplies, usually from Spaza shops along the way.  Relentless hills, many river crossings and the heat took their toll and 5 runners fell out during day one and chose not to continue on day two.

One runner spent the night sleeping out in the bush. Steve established an unassailable lead of three and a half hours on the first day emphasizing the saying that youth and enthusiasm is no match for age and treachery.

Day two was a repeat of day one and Steve again stamped his authority on the race with no navigational errors and great strength on the relentless hills.  Blistered and sun burnt runners bravely tackled the rest of the course which after day two became more manageable as navigation was no longer necessary as the run now was more along the beach, the tides very much in the runners favour as they had kilometers of nice hard sand to run on. 

Steve and Hylton decided to run together from the third day.  For Hylton it was an apprenticeship, becoming familiar with multi day adventure trail running where there is no support or marked course to follow but he has the strength and speed to win. 

This run is not just about hardship however, the runners spend nights at lovely coastal hotels where they are really well looked after and have an opportunity to discuss the run and route choices over a drink.

The last leg of the event is in stark contrast to the first five days as the ?Discovery Surfers Challenge? is joined for the finish.

 This race attracted 2700 runners in a mad dash and scramble along the rocks and beaches from Yellow Sands to Nahoon Beach culminating in a frenzy of celebration at the life- savers marquee. 

23 runners started the Wild Coast Ultra, 14 completed the distance and the rest managed various legs along the way.  Steve improved his record by an amazing 7 hours and Colleen Durant set a new ladies course record by 10 minutes. 


See www.davestrailrunning.co.za for more info and full results.

2012 Lesotho Wildrun report by Rene Jupp

Day 1

All 29 Lesotho Wild runners began their unimaginable mountain journey at 7:10 this morning. The conditions were perfect with no wind and low (but not too low) tempreatures! The mood was great to witness, quite tense and quiet but excited too as they set off to tackle the 42km & over 2000m of climbing of day one!
Steve Black & Gerry Beukes tie on day 1 win on Lesotho Wildrun in 6:09. Third place scooped up by Bruce Shepard in 6:57. Andrew lowndes was 4th in 06.58.23. Chantal Nienaber 1st lady back in 6:59 – 5th place overall. Leander Opperman finished 6th in 7:00. Stephen Kriel, Guy Jennings & Steven Cunliffe joint 7th in 7:11 and the tenth runner in, Erik Hallendorff, 8.05.37. Tired but happy!
Places 11-17 taken by Belinda van de Riet, Angus Tanner and Rob Peters in 8.53.48, Deon Vermeulen and Boeta van Tonder in 9.05.41 and 9.10.51 for Thys Nel and Madelein Barnard. Bongani Sokudela owned the 18th spot with a time of 9.26.49.
Places 19-22 taken by Jane MacKinnon and Japhet Mudau in 10.34.27 and Retha & Theo Janse van Rensburg in 10.39.42

23-24 place, Mary Tsikinyane and Dominic Cullinan at 11.50.30, then the remaining 5 including sweep at 11.50.30 – Samuel van Dyk, Ad Cole, Rob Dijkhuis, Sharon Saylor and Roland van der Merwe. All in safe, long but good day out!!

42km of pure mountain trail, big views, big sky and big smiles. It’s just too magnificent. This is the unimaginable mountain journey we call the Lesotho Wildrun.

28km day 2 of the Lesotho Wildrun started in perfect clear fresh weather!

Gerry Beukes & Steve Black set a blistering pace out front on technical mountain single track & crossing the Maletsunyane at 15.8km in 2hrs. They topped out on the big 500m climb out of the Maletsunyane gorge and checked in at CP1 (18.4km) in 02:47. Andrew Lowdres was cooking in third, 4min behind the leading pair at CP2, 23km. Game was on! With 10km to go the 2011 record of 03:47 set by Allan Benn was being chased with guns blazing!! Leander Opperman was 4th runner in at CP2, just in front of Bruce Shepard in 5th, with 6km to go.

Gerry Beukes & Steve Black won 28km day 2 in 3:59! Allan Benn’s record is safe for another year!

Second place was scooped up by Andrew Lowndes in 04.06.35 and third Leander Opperman came in in 04.08.41. Bruce Sheperd came fourth in 04.11.23. Runners 6, 7 and 8 sharedt the 5th spot in 04.30.27 – Stephen Cunliffe, Guy Jennings and Stephen Kriel.

First lady in today was once again Chantel Nienaber, in a time of 05.03.37.

Next two ladies in were Erik Hallendorff and Belinda van der Riet in, at 05.19.28. Deon Vermeulen, Dominic Cullinan, Boeta van Tonder and Rob Peters came in at 06.12.47. 15 runners in! Madelein Barnard and Thys Nel finished in a time of 06.25.16 looking strong and happy!

Jane MacKinnon was the 18th runner in, in 06.36.58. Angus Tanner came in next with 06.50.45 and next up was Japhet Mudau and Bongani Sokudela in 07.08.51. Retha and Theo Janse van Rensburg was in at 07.13.01.

Last Wildrunners crossed the finish in 9hrs21min. Because it’s just so magnificent out there, you just want to stay out! 40km day 3 looms large tomorrow!

Day 3
Steve won :)
original post: http://wildrunner.ning.com/profiles/blogs/lesotho-wild-run-day-1

Steve Black’s Wild Coast Ultra record broken

Monday, 21 February 2011
Wild Coast Ultra Report

They Meyer ‘ave Dunn it!!

Well done to Ciska Meyer and Hylton Dunn on setting new records in the Wild Coast Ultra Trail Run 2011,

The run starts at Silaka Reserve in Port St. Johns and ends on the Nahoon Beach in East London, 270km and  6 days later.

Hylton ran the 2010 race and had also run the route alone prior to the 2011 race to ensure that he knew the course well and lost no time because of  bad route choices.  He knew what he had to do, and set out each day determined to break the record set by Steve Black in 2010.  He succeeded in reducing the overall time by 81 minutes to 30:00:36.  Ciska, a novice to the Wild Coast Ultra, set out strong on day one and just seemed to get stronger every day.  She reduced the record by a staggering 14:44 to set the new record 41:02:16.

The race, now in its 5th year, had a record number of entrants including three people from the USA and one from the UK.  The general impression among the runners was that although it was a huge challenge, the event is set in some of the most breathtaking scenery South Africa has to offer.

I think that everyone that took part came away with their spirits lifted, ready to take on the ‘real’ world again.

For more detailed reports by runners see http://www.davestrailrunning.co.za/.