Madlala out for Giant’s Cup double

Photo - Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media

2017 Giant’s Cup champion and Drakensberg local Thabo Madlala will be back for another shot at claiming the title he won a year ago while hoping to repeat 2017’s dream-come-true achievement on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May.

It was a profound moment for Madlala when he won the title in 2017 after he invested so much time into preparing for the event. His achievement was made that much more special when his relationship with the Drakensberg was uncovered.

“I love working and training in the Drakensberg,” the Endangered Wildlife Trust employee mentioned. “I spend a lot of my time in the Eastern Cape and Southern Drakensberg working as a field officer for the African Crane Conservation project.”

Madlala is well into his training regime and considering the amount of running he is doing, the 30-odd kilometre a day event would be a cake walk for the outdoor enthusiast.

“I try and run about 26 kilometres a day, four days a week,” he explained. “Over the weekend I try and get in a longer run but that was also part of my preparation for the recent Ultra-Trail Drakensberg where I did the 100km event.

“It took me around 21 hours to finish the 100km course, it was really tough but I think it would have been good for me going into the Giant’s Cup!”

Madlala’s influence extends further than his role with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, one of the events main benefactors, he is also heavily involved in educating the local communities about conservation.

“I am the Chairman of the Mqatsheni Hiking and Environmental Solutions Club where we take the youth out on hikes in the Maloti Drakensberg World Heritage Site.

“Here we provide the children with environmental education as well as teach them about gender equality.

“We talk them through the issues of poaching and how to take care of the environment and also to respect women.

“Donations are crucial to what we do so we don’t have the opportunity to do as many hikes as we would like but we love taking the children to Cobham and teaching them about our environment,” he added.

It has been four years since Madlala did his first Giant’s Cup and despite all the time that he spends in the region, he still appreciates it as much as he did when he started.

“It’s such a beautiful trail and I love the Giant’s Cup route. I have always loved hiking so I look forward to the Giant’s Cup every year.

“This year is going to be another exciting race and hopefully I can win it again!” he added optimistically.