Nhlakanipho Justin Mzimela
I met Justin (as he prefers me to call him 🙂 ) while running in the Hattons group on the road bright early one morning. Since then, I managed to convince him to have a few little/big different experiences…and join me on the trails! There is also a little cycling adventure that HE took ME on…story to follow…
How did you start trail running?
I started trail running as an off break from road running. I had a very demanding comrades program and I told myself after it I want to try something away from running and during that time Dawn, she is like a coach through Comrades training, introduced me to this crazy adventure (ie trail running) and I immediately fell in love with it.
What is your favourite trail race and why?
My favourite trail race is the KZNTR 75 km Umgeni River Ultra Trail. It was my first official trail race (editor’s note – I did NOT suggest this as a first trail race…just saying!!! I didn’t!!) and finishing fifth in the monster trail ultra was an unbelievable personal milestone for me.
What is your favourite snack/ fuel while trail running?
My favourite snack would be jelly babies/ energade jellies and my 32gi rehydrates mixed with slow mag.
What animal would best describe you and why?
The animal that best describes me is the pitbull. It is strong and agile and does not give up on what it wants. It always wants more but is not greedy. The pitbull wants to do better than the day before and is always up for a challenge!
Tell us a bit about yourself, outside of running
Outside of running I’m a family man who loves his family and also has a passion for most sporting codes. I like trying new things, travelling and spending quality time with my family. This always brings joy within me and certainly one of the times that one might take for granted. However, it is one of the most precious times one can wish for!
What is your most memorable time on the trail?
The most memorable time is that I always find that I appreciate the nature at its best. Whether we are running in Kloof Gorge, where you will have to stop and have a closer look at nature at its best. The beautiful waterfalls and nature. To sum it up, the most memorable moment of trail will be the part when I have to get inside the river and walk across it. That is something that always comes to mind when I think of Umgeni River Trail run!
THE story of MY little big adventure…
You want me to go down…where???? Seriously???
So, it started like this. Dawn wants to go cycling, but has never gone off the paved tar. Ever. So I mention this little trip to Justin and he is keen.
We go to Giba Gorge and go for a little cycle.
Well. I think I was the quietest I have ever been (which is saying A LOT!) for concentration and belief that I was DEFINITELY going to cycle into a tree or off the path or DIE…So we get to the one area and I stop dead. It is like this super duper crazy steep (but short) hill down. And I just can’t do it. No, nope, no, nada…nope again.
Justin just flies down no stress at all. I am so chicken, the poor guy leaves his bike at the bottom, hikes up this steep nasty little hill, and then – in 2 seconds – cycles my bike down. I take FOREVER crawling, bum-shuffling-sliding down it…sigh. Thankfully, after this little freak out, I decided that speed is my friend and “stick to your line” was a good way to go. And it went well!
I am so blessed by the MANY friends I have made on the trails and I want to thank each one of you for sharing your tales, time and journey with me. If you would like to read another Trail Tale, take a look at Mmeli’s one. He has a big heart for trail and the Inanda Trail Running Club.