Occupation: BSc Sport Science student at Stellenbosch University
Date of birth: 21 November 1997
Latest achievements: Batrun 2016 winner, Skyrun marathon winner 2015, Crazy store Magaliesberg challenge 22km winner 2015
Twitter handle: @ChrisStrydom1
Karoo Running (KR) - Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to share a bit of yourself with us, we really appreciate it.
Congratulations on your win of Batrun 2016! Great run.
KR - TALKING ABOUT THE BATRUN, WERE YOU GUNNING TO WIN?
I was aiming to try for top 3 and to see in what condition I am for the SA's on the 19th of March. I did not want to push too hard, to save my legs for the SA's. Once I took over the lead, I just ran my own race & pace, and in the end, everything worked out well.
KR - WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LOVE ABOUT TRAIL RUNNING?
CS - With every run in the mountains I learn something new about myself and discover new boundaries. It is my time to reflect and to get away from the busy life of modern society. Mountain running makes me feel more alive than anything, but at the same time it lets me realize just how small we as humans really are.
KR - HOW DID YOU BECOME A TRAIL RUNNER?
CS - I have been running cross country and track from grade three and in grade 8(2011) a guy I knew told me about a 10km trail race in Bloemfontein. I was immediately hooked and started participating in the Castle Lite trail running league in Bloemfontein organized by Pure Adventures. In grade 9(2012) I signed up for the 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge where my passion for trail and mountain running officially started. After my first 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge I started to focus more on trail running and in 2014 I have moved my focus completely to trail running and started participating in bigger events.
KR - WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRAIL?
CS - The 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge route in the Moolmanshoek valley near Fiksburg will always have a special place in my heart due to the fact that it is the place where my passion started. Jonkershoek is my favourite place to train on the trails especially the Swartboskloof hiking trail.
KR - WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TRAIL RUNNING BEGINNERS?
CS - Forget about distance, train according to time. Because you are moving slower over the rugged terrain than over pavement you will cover less distance in the same time than on pavement while getting in a harder workout. Train on the trails and spend as much time as possible on the trails as this will ensure that you are comfortable going over the rugged terrain (it is much harder to run on trails than on the road and therefore you have to be conditioned to run on the trails) It is important to do strength work in the gym especially good core workouts as it will help you to keep your body upright on the downhills. When running on a new trail try to gather as much information as possible on the trail before you go and run it, this includes the type off terrain, possible weather conditions, elevation and escape routes. But the most important is to have FUN.
Start with short distances and work your way slowly to longer distances until you find a distance that suits you best. Don’t be afraid to get hurt on the trails, yes a few scratches, slips and falls are inevitable but it is all part of the fun. Get a few buddies to join in on the fun, it is also a great motivator if it is cold and dark outside, knowing that there are people waiting for you to go for a run on the trails. Have FUN.
KR - WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRAIL RUNNING GEAR? (ex: Shoes, Hydration pack, headlamp,socks)
CS - A buff as it is such a multi-functional piece of gear, it is great in the winter to use as a beanie or even a full face balaclava if it is really cold. In the summer I use it to cool down by dipping it in a cold mountain stream and wearing it as a headband. It can also serve as a DIY bandage after a fall.
KR - WHAT IS AN AVERAGE DAY OF TRAIL RUNNING TRAINING FOR YOU?
CS - Each day of the week is different in order to train my body for all aspects of running, this includes hill workouts, speed work, tempo runs, easy recovery runs and long runs. My favorite being long runs and hill workouts as I love being out on the trails for long periods of time and to push my body’s limits on hill workouts.
KR - WHAT IS YOUR LONGEST DISTANCE YOU HAVE DONE ON A TRAIL?
CS - I did the first day of the Skyrun training camp which is 60km of pure mountain running.
KR - HOW MUCH DO YOU EAT WHEN YOU ARE TRAINING?
CS - During my long runs I try to eat something every 45 to 60min or whenever I can feel my body wanting something to eat. During my longer workouts like tempo runs and hill workouts I will consume a gel or racefood halfway during the session.
KR - WHAT DO YOU TAKE WITH YOU ON LONG RUNS? (ex: gels,fruits, snacks, salt tabs)
CS - I normally take a couple gels, a few bars of racefood and an apple.
KR- HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TRAIL RUNNING IN THE KAROO?
CS - No not yet but I would definitely like to run in the Karoo in the future.
KR - WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD "Karoo", WHAT IS THE FIRST THING THAT COME TO MIND, OTHER THAN WIDE OPEN ARID SPACES?
CS - A great tourist destination with a rich history that plays an important role in South Africa. Driving through the Karoo I always think that the big opens spaces and koppies will make for an ideal place to just run for miles on end.
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.
Good luck with SA's, we will sure be cheering for you.