Author: Sandra Le Roux

When you set out to run the longest uninterrupted gravel road in South Africa what shoes you choose is a make or break decision!

The R355 runs from Calvinia in the Northern Cape province, through the Tankwa Karoo to Ceres in the Western Cape and is known to bust many a tyre for those opting to drive through this desolate landscape. The Malbok Challenge however challenges anyone crazy enough to attempt traversing the 200km’s powered by only their feet.

On 26 June 2021, 7 of us set out in an attempt to earn a Malbok badge and I knew my trusty Altra Lone Peaks would be the best shoe to get me over the grueling distance. Now my feet are not the most dainty and my husband and friends have poked fun at me over the years for my wide “padda voete” (picture frog feet here) so my feet just love the roomy toebox of the Lone Peaks that provides just the right amount of space for my toes to splay naturally with each step. The rock plate and resilient Altra EGO midsole cushioning protected against the harsh tyre-shredding rocks whilst still allowing a good feel of the surface and even though the Lone Peaks are not the most cushioned of the Altra range (that would be the Olympus) they felt super comfortable over the full 200km distance and never lost their oomph.

From the first moment I ran in Altra Lone Peaks I fell in love and the addition of the Altra EGO midsole in the Lone Peak 5’s has just taken them to the next level. I feel they are the best all-round shoe for any terrain and have even my mom now swears by them after completing some grueling mountain hikes with them at age 68! 

So after 32 hours and 30 minutes, so many peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, oranges, coffee and more (provided by my amazing husband Tinus, daughter and son every 20km or so) I was certified as officially crazy with my very own Malbok badge!

(Just a special Huge thank you to each and every person who initiated and supported this mission: Bergskaap training, the Helderberg trail running crew, Stanley Reed, Altra, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, Tailwind and most of all my hubby and kids in our trusty VW Combi.)

 Photos taken by Alfred Thorpe

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