Scholtz to tackle Spanish trail

Novice runner on learning curve

Woodlands’ trailblazer Annalise Scholtz is raring to go ahead of the World Trail Running Championships in Spain next weekend
Woodlands’ trailblazer Annalise Scholtz is raring to go ahead of the World Trail Running Championships in Spain next weekend

A passion for nature and outdoors will see Annalise Scholtz in her element when she tackles the mountains of Spain at the World Ultra Trail Running Championships next week.

Scholtz, 35, was selected for the Spanish showpiece after participating in the Addo Elephant Trail Run, a race in which she managed to obtain a third-place finish over 76km.

That race doubled as the South African Trail Championships from which athletes were chosen to represent the green and gold at the event which takes place from May 10-13.

“I am still in a bit of shock, but I am very proud of this achievement and thankful for this opportunity,” Scholtz remarked.

Having taken up the sport only in July last year, Scholtz has seen her fledgling career take off.

She has competed in a number of Eastern Cape races and continues to build her trail-running reputation.

She said a major draw-card for her joining the fold of trail running was the challenging nature of the sport

“Every trail is an adventure. No [trail] run will ever be the same even if you do the same route. I love being in nature, running through rivers, climbing over trees and down mountains. It only adds to the excitement.”

In what will be her first foray into overseas competition and only her second ultra distance race, Scholtz was looking forward to testing her skills outside of the country.

“I have not done any international races yet but I feel the more you run in different locations, with different terrain types and altitudes, it only adds to your experiences as a [trail] runner.

“You learn so much about yourself and your abilities with each race. I am basically at the beginning of this learning curve and I am also very blessed to be exposed to international running so early on,” Scholtz said.
Working a full-time job in addition to having a family did not make her entry into the sport easy, but the Woodlands resident said her love for running helped her manage her training and family time efficiently.

“During the week it’s difficult for me to do trails and I cannot do trails alone so I try I try to focus on getting quality road sessions in before work or at the gym once I have put the kids to bed.”

Training at least five times a week, Scholtz said weekends were reserved for the myriad of trails situated around the city. Asked about the mind shift between shorter and longer trails, she said: “Shorter distances are much faster and once I was comfortable with the shorter distances, I wanted to challenge myself to an ultra.

“Ultras are very much in your mind and as long as you are having fun, you will be fine,” she said. “To do my absolute best, and know that I have done my country proud would be enough for me. I would be ecstatic if I could place in the top 20 ladies.”

Joining Scholtz will be the top SA pairing of Naomi Brand and Nicolette Griffioen, both of whom clinched podium positions in the Addo event.

Stewart Chaperon, the men’s winner of the 76km Addo event, will be the only man in the four-member team.