The Tala Collection Private Game Reserve is a significant drawcard for many of the riders young and old that take on the STIHL Tala Family Ride. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Durban - As the 2018 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge quickly approaches; organisers have once again gone with the value for money approach offering families a 15% discount on their entry fee for a family of four or more for the popular MTB and trail running event on Sunday, August 5 .

Over the past 16 years the Illovo Eston MTB Challenge has become one of the mainstays on the KwaZulu-Natal racing calendar and despite the sound reputation that the event has, making it an affordable day out is crucial to satisfying riders and runners.

Moving away from the elite riders and runners tearing up the trails through the sugar cane farms and timber plantations, there is an entirely different appeal for those that are out to enjoy a day in the August sunshine.

With a manageable aQuellé Half Marathon of 40km for riders that are up for a challenge but might not train as much as they would like; there is also the popular STIHL Tala Family Ride that takes riders through the famous Tala Collection Private Game Reserve.

Set on the jeep and single track that runs through the reserve, the 20km distance is something that all riders can complete. With the added bonus of being on your own personalised game viewing expedition, it attracts riders of all ages and abilities.

Setting off a bit later and remaining within the grounds of the Eston Farmers Club is the Omnia Kids Ride. This short loop-based track gives mums and dads the opportunity to enjoy the day with the young children as they guide them around on their bikes. Often this is the first exposure to riding amongst other children so the emphasis is solely on having fun.

Last year saw the introduction of trail running to the calendar at Eston and the feedback from runners was hugely positive. 

Trail running has become a weekend pastime in South Africa and adding it to the event was a logical decision. The event is also one of the legs of the competitive Quattro ROAG Series and as such it now incorporates trail running.

Runners taking part have two options at the disposal, a longer 18km run or the more manageable 9km run.

Both events were well subscribed for in 2017 and the routes, which also take runners into the Tala Collection Private Game Reserve, were enjoyed by many of the runners that took part.

The Illovo Eston MTB Challenge provides riders, runners and families with the ideal Sunday out in the KZN Midlands.

Normal entries closed on July 29, with late entries running until August 2.