The scenic beauty of South Africa’s winelands combined with wide open spaces and mountainous terrain, make our 23 wine regions a playground for trail runners.
Whether you run for fun and relaxation, or you’re an elite trail runner like Landie Greyling, you will love hitting the gravel roads and singletracks, snaking through vineyards, streams and green hills while enjoying the fresh air. Another benefit? Rewarding yourself with a glass of wine afterwards.
We checked in with Landie, who currently stays with her family in the Stellenbosch Wine Route, to chat all things trail running in the winelands. Landie is one South Africa’s top trail runners, and has been on the podium over 100 times over the last decade.
Where did your love for the outdoors and running start?
I grew up on a farm near Cullinan, outside of Pretoria. The farm-life sparked my love for adventure and exploring, and there was always lots of space to train for my school’s cross-country races.
How did you get into trail running?
I initially got into adventure racing with my husband, Christiaan Greyling, but when we moved to the United States, I couldn’t take my bike or equipment with me. Running was the most convenient way to stay fit.
We did a couple of trail races together overseas, but my real love for trail running started when we moved back to George and we started running in the Outeniqua Mountains close to the Klein Karoo Wine Region.
What is the closest trail to your home in Stellenbosch?
We’re lucky! The closest trail running route is right on our doorstep – the Ida’s Valley trails that lead straight to Botmaskop. The trails are very popular with mountain bikers, runners and hikers, but I usually take my husband along to be responsible and safe.
What are your favourite trail running routes in wine regions?
- Paarl Wine Route – especially running the beautiful Paarl Mountain Reserve trails.
- Robertson Wine Valley – exploring Arangieskop in the Dassieshoek Nature Reserve, and the trails around Montagu.
- Garden Route and Klein Karoo Wine Region – George has an abundance of trails and mountains to explore, and Louvain Guest Farm also offers spectacular trails.
- Plettenberg Bay Winelands – Robberg Nature Reserve is one of my favourite trails to run, having the mountain and dunes on one side, and the ocean the other.
- Stellenbosch Wine Route – has an endless amount of trails and mountains to explore.
What are your top trail running routes on wine farms?
- Muratie – running fantastic singletracks that curve through the forest above the cellar.
- Bartinney – feeling a sense of freedom running the iconic Skyfall Trail, descending from Botmaskop to Bartinney.
- Plasir de Merle – enjoying 14km of rolling hills in the Simonsberg mountain.
- Ernie Els – working up a sweat by climbing some hills in the Helderberg mountains.
- Boschendal – taking in the beautiful farm scenes and views of the Franschhoek Valley.
Which trails would you recommend for female runners that want to run solo?
What does your training schedule look like?
A typical training week includes plenty of running – a combination of easy runs, long runs, intervals and hills. I also do strength training, a biokinetics session, pilates classes and get a massage each week.
What are some of your greatest trail running accomplishments so far?
- Second place at the Transalps (eight day stage race in Europe).
- Fourth place at the Mont Blanc Marathon and Mont Blanc 90km
- Ninth place at the Ultra Trail World Champs
- Champion of the Buffalo Stampede Ultra Australia, Otter African Trail Race, Ultra Trail Cape Town 100km and the Skyrun 100km (three times winner).
What advice do you have for people who would like to start trail running?
Enter some events, find a coach who can assist with the appropriate training program for you and join trail running groups.
What is your favourite wine at the moment?
I really love the Melck’s Blended Red from Muratie. For me, it’s an easy drinking wine that offers great value for money.
To stay up to date with Landie’s running adventures in the winelands, and across the world, follow her on her Instagram