Here comes the sun and what better way to get out and explore than a summer trail run. South Africa has some of the best and most challenging trail runs to offer and we’ve rounded up the top 9. Grab your trail shoes and let’s get running.

1. Baytown Charity Trail Run

Date: 16 December 2017

Distance: 6km, 12km

Location: Miems Restaurant, Pringle Bay

Why run it? Spend the Day of Reconciliation on the trails with this beachy adventure. With a long and a short option, this trail run is for everyone – even your dog (as long as its on a lead).

This mix of mountain trails and sandy beaches is a charity event that takes place through out the year. Support the Pringle Bay Clinic by signing up for this run. There are some exciting prizes to be won as well. To read more and enter, click here.

2. The Pecan Trails Trail Run

Date: 16 December 2017

Distance: 5km, 10km, 21km

Location: Sanctuary Farm, Cradock

Why run it? Ever run between rows of pecan nut trees? Now’s your chance. Treat yourself to a day out at Sanctuary Farm (or even a weekend). After running through the valleys, mountains and along the twisting single tracks, head back for a glass of wine and some live entertainment. To read more and enter, click here.

READ MORE: Up Your Running Game With These Olympian Inspired Drills

3. Christmas Dash Trail Run

Date: 17 December 2017

Distance: 5km, 8km, 15km

Location: Big Red Barn, Pretoria

Why run it? Get into the festive spirit at this TomTom-sponsored trail run – and don your best outfit because you could stand a chance to win a TomTom Watch! If that’s not motivation enough, then the location certainly is. Run between eucalyptus forest and rolling grasslands.

Yup, it’s a definite Christmas present to yourself. To read more and enter, click here.

4. Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge Trail Run

Date: 22 December 2017.

Distance: 6km, 10km.

Location: The Crags, Plettenberg Bay

Why run it? While we all enjoy that feel-good vibe just after a run, it’s so much better knowing you’re doing good too. And Sabrina Love (caring for children with special needs) is a cause worth supporting.

Starting at the pristine grounds of Kurland Polo Estate, this trail run involves some excellent adventuring, such as river crossings and floating bridges – just to keep you on your toes. Wink. To read more and enter, click here.

5. Dirtopia Resolution Trail Run

Date: 15 January 2018

Distance: 5km, 7,5km, 12,5km, 15km

Location: Delvera Farm, Stellenbosch

Why run it? Start the year off on the right foot – literally. Put your New Year’s resolutions to the test at this trail run. Because long distance isn’t for everyone, there’s a range of distances, beginning with five kays.

If you’re a newbie, then this is a good race to start with. Challenge your friends to join you on this meander through the vineyards. To read more and enter, click here.

READ MORE: 4 Quick Tricks That Could Make Running Hills Easier

6. Spur Cape Summer Trail Series

Date: 21 January, 30 January, 7 February and 25 February

Distance: Ranging from 5km to 15km

Location: Elgin Valley, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Meerendal

Why run it? This series begins on 21 January and covers some of the most beautiful areas in the Western Cape. The Spur Cape Summer Trail Series consists of four races, with an option of either a short or long distance, depending on your vibe. Explore the Cape on foot and see it like you’ve never seen it before. To read more and enter, click here.

7. Tankwa Trail Run

Date: 15-18 February 2018

Distance: 32km, 34.2km, 23.6km

Location: Tankwa Karoo

Why run it? Described as the run of a lifetime, this three-day stage race is an adventure every trail runner should live through. Travel through the ancient landscapes of the Tankwa Karoo, a mix of sculpted trails and rough, untamed terrain.

Experience breathtaking views that will stay with you forever. To read more and enter, click here.

8. Xterra PUMA Trail Run

Date: 24 February 2018

Distance: 6km, 12.5km

Location: Elgin Grabouw Country Club, Grabouw

Why run it? The Xterra is held worldwide, with the most attended event happening right here in South Africa, in the small town of Grabouw, attracting pro’s from all corners of the earth.

If triathlons aren’t your thing, just do the trail run and still get the Xterra vibe. Both routes include some tough climbing and a great workout. To read more and enter, click here.

9. Fairtree Simonsberg Trail Run

Date: 10-11 February 2018.

Distance: 15km, 25km.

Location: Delvera, Stellenbosch.

Why run it? This two-day stage race is a great way to get into the sport. These doable distances cover the incredible single tracks of the Simonsberg Mountain and connect more than 10 wine farms (um… hello!).

Plus, a seven-kay fun run has been tagged on to the Sunday event for the less serious runners. Start the day with a breakfast at Delvera – and finish off with a well-deserved lunch on your return. To read more and enter, click here.

Images: Supplied

Fix your running stitch instantly with this crazy-simple trick. Plus: 5 newbie running mistakes you’re probably making.

This article was originally published on Women's Health South Africa.