Yesterday was the annual running of my favourite race, the Hout Bay Trail Challenge. What makes it my favourite? That’s easy – it’s special: not only because it’s another reason (if I ever need another reason) to play on the beautiful mountains surrounding the valley of Hout Bay, but because it’s tough, really tough.
Just as running a fast Two Oceans is said to be more punishing than Comrades even though it’s 34km shorter, so the HBTC can be deceiving in its degree of difficulty. After all, it’s only 36km, so what’s the problem..?
Hah, if you ever hear those words said about the HBTC, you know the speaker knows less than nothing about it! Those who’ve tackled the race know that kilometre for kilometre, it’s the hardest race on the trail calendar. It’s not called a “challenge” for nothing!
Starting and finishing in the Hout Bay harbour, the route covers
2 224m of ascent and, of course, the same again in descent.
This year we scored incredible weather – and equally incredible winning times. The men’s record tumbled from 4:17 by 6 mins (Ake Fagereng in 4:11), and the women’s was smashed by an astounding 11 mins (Katya Soggot in 4:40).
And for the first time ever the race saw a sub-3:40 time grace its record books – the men’s team of speedster champs Ryan Scott, Mike Bailey and Ryan Sandes whizzed across the mountains in lightning time of 3:39, a full 27 mins faster than the previous men’s team record.
Now, that’s moving it!
Labels: HBTC, Hout Bay Trail Challenge