UTD continues ongoing Ezemvelo influence

Photo - Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media

Runners and adventurers alike will be in the final stages of their preparation for the upcoming inaugural Ultra-Trail® Drakensberg, but their influence goes further than just their entry as part of their entry fee goes directly to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Organisers of the event are in the process of putting the final touches to the many trails that the runners will use during the four different events over the three days from 28-30 April. The signature 100km Ultra-Trail® Drakensberg, the 62km Giants Cup Uncut, the 30km Sundowner Run and the two-day 30km Rock Jumper have attracted runners of all different abilities.

Race organiser Spurgeon Flemington has been influential in bringing runners to the Southern Drakensberg for a number of years through the popular Giants Cup and now UTD; however his events would not be possible without the support of John Crowson – Conservation Manager for the Southern section of the Maloti Drakensberg Park.

Crowson’s vision of incorporating events into the park became a reality when he was approached by Flemington a number of years ago with the concept of hosting a two-day running event along the 60km hiking trail in the Southern Drakensberg.

“I was approached by my boss who suggested that we try and set up an event in the Southern Drakensberg as there was a mountain bike race near Giants Castle and there was the Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge.

“We contemplated it and then, luckily, I was approached by Spurgeon who suggested that he wanted to start the Giants Cup.

“This solved our dilemma of trying to get an event started and the dream or objective was achieved,” Crowson said.

It is known that a percentage of Flemington’s entry fees go towards Ezemvelo Wildlife and this money is crucial in helping the organisation with basic running costs during the year.

“All the money that is raised for Ezemvelo goes towards maintenance of the trails as well as the upkeep of buildings etc.

“These funds are crucial for us in order for us to maintain a pristine environment for people to enjoy the whole year round.

“Not only do the funds play a huge part in supporting us but the events are also catalysts in exposing people to the Southern Drakensberg and hopefully encouraging them to return to the area.

“We can’t say for sure that the events are a direct influence on our numbers but we do hear a lot about people saying that they will return to the area after they see it for the first time,” Crowson continued.

Flemington’s passion for the Southern Drakensberg and conservation is unwavering and this mutual love for the area helped the pair strike up a positive relationship that has blossomed into a trust between Ezemvelo Wildlife and Flemington’s events.

“Spurgeon is 110% committed to conservation and the protection of the environment. He has proven his commitment to conservation by also stating quite categorically that all funds raised from his events is spent in the Southern Drakensberg.

“My trust in Spurgeon is 100% as he would not do anything detrimental to damage or scar the environment,” Crowson added.

As with all Running Man Adventures events a significant portion of each entry will be donated to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and we are also very pleased to announce that UTD will be partnering with Wildlife Act (www.wildlifeact.com) and assisting them to raise funds and awareness.