Name: Jan Ham
Occupation: Outdoor Education Specialist working for the WCED
Date of birth: 1981/08/18
Hometown: Somerset West
Latest achievements: 3rd at Tankwa Trail Men’s Team 2016, 2nd afbSOX Men’s Team 2015
Twitter handle: @janhamjr
Sponsors: Columbia Sportswear, Tailwind Nutrition, Racefood, Skins, Mizuno
Karoo Running (KR) - What is it that you love about trail running?
JH - The rush of dodging some critters in the heat of summer, burning quads, the euphoria of reaching the summit and seeing the awesome views, followed by a mad dash back down is an experience no other form of running gives you. The “me” time alone in nature gives 1 time to reflect on life’s daily struggles, while running with friends gives you the chance to catch up! Exploring new trails is my passion!
KR - How did you become a trail runner?
JH – I came from a running background at school, but it took a massive backseat ride once I got to varsity. Then in 2010 I read an article in the Runners World about the Otter trail run by my good friend & trail mentor Patrick Cruywagen, ran my first 20km trail and was hooked on it!
KR - What is your favorite trail?
JH – There is so many, stretching from a love/hate relationship with the Hout Bay Trail Challenge route, Otter, exploring Jonkershoek or my backyard trails up Helderberg, to my “happy place” on the southernmost trails in Africa down in Agulhas. In Namibia the trails at Klein Aus-Vista was pretty rad, and running in the Fish River Canyon is a surreal experience!
KR - What are you recommendations for trail running beginners?
JH – Go out, go explore and enjoy it! That goes for gear & nutrition too! Find what works for you, stick to the basics, and slow & steady will get you to the finish!
KR - What is your favorite trail running gear? (ex: Shoes, Hydration pack, headlamp,socks)
JH – Any of my Columbia Sportswear gear, as there is something for every kind of weather condition that makes the run/adventure just so much pleasant. Shoe wise I’m currently testing & running with the Salomon Sense 5 Ultra’s. Really comfortable shoe, minimalist in design, lightweight & durable. And I never leave home without a Racefood Fastbar/Farbar!
KR - What is an average day of trail running for you?
JH – With 2 little ones at home, training isn’t always easy. Weekend’s I try to put in at least 1(2 if schedule allows) solid long run (20-30km), normally with one of my Columbia TRAIL Teammates, during the week a couple of 10km’s either during lunch at work or when I get home, plus I do running strength specific training with Ronel Nattrass in Stellenbosch. The Greyling’s, Christiaan & Landie, also believe in Ronel’s #hurtbox sessions!
KR - What is your longest distance you have done in a trail?
JH – 46km, but this year that will be a thing of the past with Puffer 80km & UTCT 65km looming!
KR - How much do you eat when you are training?
JH – I eat on how I feel during long runs. Normally for a 2 hour run I’d just take a Racefood Farbar beforehand, and maybe a Fastbar an hour or so into the run. On longer runs, I try to eat something every hour, or a bite/half a Racefood bar every 30min.
KR - What do you take with you on your long runs? (ex: gels,fruits, snacks, salt tabs)
JH – I just use Tailwind Nutrition as hydration, Racefood bars, and sometimes some droëwors!
KR- Do you have a favourite running app? If so, which one and why?
JH – I use a Suunto Ambit3 Sport, so the Movescount app is pretty cool and it syncs with Strava too, so pretty handy if you into racing segments!
KR- Have you ever been to the Karoo?
JH – Not as often as I would like, but have done a couple of races in the Klein Karoo!
KR - When you hear the word "Karoo", what is the first thing that come to mind, other than wide open arid space?
JH – Thorn bushes, karoo fynbos & springboks.
KR - Thank you very much for sharing your time, experience and knowledge with us, we truly appreciate it, and hope to see you on some Karoo trails soon.