Hooves And Paws Add Fun To Dargle Trails Festival

The Lions River Club was a hive activity on the 19th and 20th of July with MTB riders, trail runners, horse riders and dog lovers all arriving to take part in the Marriott Dargle Trails Festival.

“This is the 3rd time we are hosting the trails festival and we were delighted to have Marriott onboard this year as our title sponsor”, said Julia Rees, Lions River Club Chairman. “This year had a very strong equine flavour with horse trails added to the trail cocktail and also carriage driving, mounted games and polo all entertaining the crowds at the club.”

“We were particularly thrilled by the positive feedback we got from the horse riders who completed the horse trails. This year was a trial run, but the turnout proved that there is a demand for an event where riders of all abilities can go out and enjoy themselves at their own pace”.

Large bedoin tents donated by The Bedoin Company transformed the club and created a wonderful festival atmosphere and visitors were treated to live music by Shomon & Jack Mantis on Saturday and the Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters, courtesy of Iuncapped, on Sunday. An ultimate frisbee tournament also provided great entertainment.

“The great appeal of this event is that it caters for everyone”, says Simon Pease, CEO of Marriott. “If you are not a mountain biker, runner or horse rider you still had the opportunity to explore the beautiful Dargle valley by taking part in the 6km boot and paw walk to raise funds for the very worthy Midlands Meander Education Project.”

Simon had the distinction of entering every discipline on the programme: the 45km MTB trail, 21km trail run and 21km horse trail, in addition to playing in the invitational polo matches on Saturday and Sunday. To the rest of us that would seem impossible. But to Simon, who completed the arduous Mongolian Derby in 2013, it was a challenge he couldn’t resist.

Seasoned MTB rider Marc Adams held off the challenge from the younger riders and took top honours in the 45km MTB trail. “I really enjoyed the race as it was challenging, scenic and as close to natural mountain biking as you can get”, he said. “The new single track through the pines was lovely. Even the rider who came last thought it was a great track”.

No sooner had Marc leapt off his bike than he headed down to Pietermaritzburg to collect his son Chris so that he could enter the Boot and Paw Dash at the end of the day with their much loved family dog Victoria. The children’s and adult races were great entertainment and much to Marc’s delight Chris and Victoria also came home victorious.

“The Boot and Paw Dash was tremendously popular with the crowd and participants and we will definitely be making it an annual event at the festival”, said Eidin Griffin, a member of the Midlands Meander Education project who organised the race.

The 200m kiddies bike race was as popular as ever with lots of small aspiring cyclists heading off towards the polo goal as fast as their little legs could peddle. It was unquestionably a fun weekend for the whole family.

For photos and the race results please visit www.dargletrailsfestival.co.za.

Dargle Trails Fest A family affair ed143 aug14 fill the pink box gap

Gina and Deon Chiesman with toddlers Carter and Colbi decide to walk the 6km trail run.

Dargle Trails Fest Hayley  Jodi 6km MTB 037 ed143 aug14

Jodi Mackinnon with mum Hayley enjoys the 6km MTB trail.