Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chairman's Report - 2013

What an amazing year 2013 has been for South African skyrunning. As we move forward into 2014, I'd like to reflect on some of the exciting developments that have dramatically changed the landscape and have set the South African Skyrunning Association (SASA) up for an exciting future on the local and global stage.

Earlier this year, due to the increasing interest in the sport globally, local and international media outlets began avidly profiling the prospects of skyrunning on the African continent, allowing the association to gain some fantastic momentum amongst the local off-road running community in the build up to the first sanctioned event on the calendar, the Matroosberg SkyMarathon®, in late October. With the resounding success of South Africa's first SkyMarathon®, the focus then shifted to the Lesotho Ultra Trail in November, Africa's first Ultra SkyMarathon®, and the imminent announcement of the 2014 national skyrunning circuit shortly thereafter.

We also had the launching of two newly sanctioned races, the Ingeli SkyMarathon® in KwaZulu-Natal in April (organised by KZN Trail Running), and the Hogsback SkyMarathon® in the Eastern Cape in May (organised by Backyard Adventures, more details coming soon), the 2014 national skyrunning circuit will include 4 events offering runners the opportunity to compete in a minimum of three of these races to gain valuable ranking points on the road to crowning of the national skyrunning champion at the end of the season.

Much like a Formula 1 drivers championship, skyrunners will receive ranking points at each race they participate in. A maximum of 100 runners in 2014 will receive these points with the top male and female skyrunner claiming the ultimate prize, the national skyrunner champions crown and the chance to compete in the World Skyrunner® Series finals amongst some of the best skyrunners in the world.

On a corporate note, I'd also like to welcome Trappers as the association's official retail partner on our member benefits scheme from 2014. Look out for great deals and discounts when you join as member in 2014 and beyond.

Coupled with the local developments, the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) have also been hard at work preparing for the upcoming SkyrunningWorld Championships in Chamonix, France which takes place in June next year. Through the inclusion of South Africa into these championships, the Ingeli SkyMarathon® has been announced as the national selection race to send a four-person team (one male, one female) to compete in the SkyMarathon® event.

In closing, I'd like to thank all of the people who have shown their support of SASA in 2013, especially to Andrew Booth (KZN Trail Running) and Ghaleed Nortje (Running The Cape) who have embraced the skyrunning concept and produced two world-class events this year, as well as to the SASA board for their ongoing committment to the association.

To all the runners out there interested in being a part of #SkyrunningMzansi, all I can say is look out for our members applications opening soon and get ready for an exciting 2014 ahead. 

We'll see you in KwaZulu-Natal in April.

James Hallett
SASA Chairman