Sealand's Guide to the Otter African Trail Run

Sealand's Guide to the Otter African Trail Run
by Sealand 
4 min read 
The Otter African Trail Run was founded by brothers Mark and John Collins and has been functioning as the same event for over a decade. Faces Africa have played a significant role in making The Otter African Trail Run the successful event that we know, and love. There is a lot of preparation and research that goes into this event, the trails are researched ahead of time to ensure the conservation of the flora and fauna is being adequately accounted for, as well as having live weather coverage by CNN, which solidifies the recognition of this event beyond local borders.


Not only is the Otter African Trail one of the most beautiful trail routes in South Africa, a 42 kilometre route along the East Coast shoreline with breathtaking scenery, river crossings, and indigenous forests. It is also a near-pristine environment because of the Otter Green Principle. The eco-conscious approach of the Otter African Trail Run through measures such as banning non-biodegradable detergents, the use and promotion of environmentally friendly products, appropriate waste management for the separation of recyclables, having an alien invasive plant control station, and much more is how the annual event has maintained the natural environment around the trail. 


We, of course, align with The Otter African Trail Run and their conservation-led ways of navigating through our precious environments. So much so that their near-pristine trail inspired our campaign ‘Protect our Paths.’ The message behind our campaign is about conserving the beauty of our natural surroundings by encouraging everyone on the trails to pick up just 1 piece of litter when training for races like The Otter African Trail Run. As professional trail athlete, Toni McCann said on our campaign, “it’s important that we work to keep these public lands safe, clean and as we find them, so that everyone (including the animals and plants) and generations to come can experience them as we do.” Therefore, the partnership between The Otter African Trail Run and Sealand was aligned.





The Importance of our Partnership


Before heading off to The Otter African Trail Run we knew we aligned with the brand and saw ourselves in many of their ideas and actions. However, witnessing firsthand the intimate nature of the event, as well as the grit and determination that was so clearly tangible in all the runners and all the coordinators at the event, reminded us why we were there, and why we will definitely be back. 


The intimate and family-like atmosphere is very representative of ours back at The Sealand Campus, where we all work tirelessly together to propel Sealand further and further with every day that passes. When you are a small business navigating the complications and challenges that come with it, grit and determination are imperative to your success. Success to us is ultimately keeping our people and planet front and centre whilst performing as a lifestyle brand. That very grit and determination was ever-present at the Otter - it was seen in the runners who endured 42 kilometres of harsh terrain and river crossings, it was seen in the community that ensured the environment was being kept clean, and it was seen in the beautiful stand displays at the Expo - all of these people came together and triumphed in a shared success. We take inspiration from that and use it in our own understanding of our work at Sealand. 


Trail running garners the participation of some of the strongest, mentally and physically, people out there. They are constantly pushing their boundaries, and that was seen at this year’s event. Huge congratulations to the podium winners, namely the men’s top three Johardt Van Heerden (04:05:19), Kane Reilly (04:12:31), Robbie Rorich (04:29:08), and the women’s top three Toni McCann (04:33:26), Bianca Tarboton (04:54:15) and Marzelle Van Der Merwe (05:18:33). Toni closed her race by breaking the women’s record and consequently being the fastest woman to complete the Grail of Trail and Johardt came close to breaking the 4-hour record - both incredible achievements and feats of endurance and strength.  



Our Involvement


Last Tuesday morning some of our team packed their bags, Sealand bags of course, into their cars and started the almost 600km journey to Stormsrivier along the beautiful Garden Route. The cars were filled with Sealand and The Otter African Trail Run products, running gear, excitement, and anticipation, as well as lots and lots of pasta in the name of carbo-loading. Upon arrival, our team set up our Sealand stand at the Expo filled with our Otter African Trail Run upcycled, co-branded bags and apparel ready for the arrival of all the runners, as well as their friends and families. Each race participant was given a Sealand/Otter African Trail Run co-branded Upcycled Swish Tote Bag as their official trail goodie bag.


Our Protect our Paths iconic bins were set up around the Expo true to the message of keeping the environment pristine. It was important to us to set up our Protect our Paths boards, bins, and posters in the very location that birthed the idea behind the campaign. Being able to make a difference in an environment we look up to, as inspiration, was moving. 


Our team cheered on our fellow Sealand family members who ran, namely Adrian, Leila, and Luke, as well as Neil Midlane (one of our Sealand ambassadors), and all the other brave runners throughout the Challenge and the Race itself. Being in the thick of the event, and around the energy solidified our adoration and gratitude towards the committed Otter African Trail Run events team.


We want to take this opportunity to thank the top-line sponsors, Easy Equities and Kauai, for making this event the success it was. We would also like to extend our thanks to those who represented Sealand on their trail run, namely - Chris Edwards, Richard Cheary, Brent Weldon, Ross Venter, and Garth Flint. We are now back in the office filled with inspiration and ready to continue the challenge of keeping our paths clean and acting responsibly for the land and communities around us.




Reading next

Spekboom: A Carbon Neutral Master
Our Shift to ECONYL® Regenerated Nylon