We were invited by Clinton Armour to visit the Ingeli Forest Lodge to prospect a trail run in October 2012, in what was the infancy of KZN Trail Running. Lauren was pregnant with Ben and we came straight from the MUTTER, another legendary trail event in this southern corner of KZN. It rained for two days as Andrew explored the mountain while Lauren enjoyed the comforts of the Hotel. It was obvious that Ingeli was a great place for a trail run!
The first event took place the following year with a relatively small field and it was only in 2014, when it earned the status as one of RSA’s Skymarathon courses, that its true potential as a mountain course was realised.
Inaugural years are always interesting. The long course, pitched at 42km drew only a core crowd of early adopters, who all ended up running an ultra that day when the course dragged on close to 50km. Regardless of these early errors on course, the Ingeli bug had bitten, the word was out. There was a big mountain surrounded by forest and plantation in southern KZN. The Ingeli Mountain actually forms the border between KZN and the Eastern Cape, and at times the course runs along the boundary. The mountain is dominated by grassland and proteas and has offered up great sighting of wild animals, including caracal!
The race continued as part of the Skymarathon Series until 2017 when the Series came to an end, and unfortunately the 2018 event did not take place in any format. The hotel still gets regular calls from fans of the race asking when it may happen again. So when during lockdown, Kevin Burley (Operations Manager of the ANEW Hotels Group) and Clinton Armour (CEO of the ANEW Hotels Group), opened up discussions with us initially around support for the Garden Trail Series and then about the re-introduction of the Ingeli Mountain Marathon, things came together organically. Corona may have taken a lot from us, but it also brings things back together. A partnership that has previously failed over a few minor disagreements is now reignited and ready to bring you an insane day of running in the mountains.