Ask the Trail Expert: Megan Mackenzie

What does it take to be a serious trail runner? – Romy Chevallier from Cape Town.

Firstly enthusiasm [Def: “a heightened state of motivation, energy, presence, commitment and passion to act…].”
Trail running is an extraordinary mixture of the physical and mental. It takes endurance, strength, speed and technical skill as well as enthusiasm, courage, commitment and mental toughness.With such a broad array of ingredients, it’s difficult to identify which one has the most weight. But to me, it all stems from enthusiasm.

Being serious about this sport is about being passionate about being out in the mountains. Not for one day, has training felt like training to me! Discomfort is my comfort. And the bigger the climb, the more at peace I feel about getting to the top. To me, there is no better feeling than that heightened state of energy when I am out on the trails in the mountains. It keeps me present and focused and real.


Photo credit: Andre Gie

The eagerness for mountains and running lead to an energy to keep trying, to keep moving out of my comfort zone. Of course there are setbacks; injuries, bad days, illness and negative thoughts, but that motivation is constant and it drives me to keep exploring. It’s endless really – the mountains, the trails, the travel, the new types of training and new workouts. The enthusiasm also leaves me with a ‘passion to act’. In order to be a serious trail runner, you need discipline and courage to work on your weaknesses in order to improve. Its often far easier to keep doing the bit that you’re good at, than to get out of bed and practice the things you know are a weakness. I get out of bed to improve on my weaknesses not out of chore, but out of passion for being a trail runner.

 Send your running questions to


Megan Levinson is a South African athlete with a passion for adventure, mountains and trail running. In 2015 she won the SA Long Distance Trail Champ, she’s a 3x African X winner (2013-2015), a record-holder of the Rhodes Marathon and the Mnweni Marathon and she represented South Africa at the Mountain Running World Marathon Championships. Follow Megan on Twitter at @Meg_Mackenzie86, on Instagram at megmackenzie1 and on her website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.