|Matroosberg Trail Challenge trophies, sculptured by Red Earth's Eric Tollner|
Skyrunning in its official form has
arrived in SA!
Saturday saw an exciting milestone for
trail running in SA with the staging of the country’s first South African Skyrunning
Association (SASA)-sanctioned skyrunning event, the Matroosberg Trail Challenge
Skymarathon®. There’s no doubt the skyrunning bug has bitten the trail running
community – the race was a huge success, and has set the tone for many more exciting
skyrunning events in the pipeline for 2014 and beyond.
Skyrunning requires serious mountains, a
good dose of altitude, and bags of attitude. And by attitude, I mean the
positive stuff – a happy soul that recognises the privilege of being able, and
the determination and grit to ensure that your mind can still spur you on when
your legs and lungs feel like they just can’t take any more punishment.
|AJ Calitz descending through the mist|
Often it’s not only the runners taking
on the challenge of skyrunning who have the attitude, it can be the weather
too. And Saturday saw just that – from a few km’s into the race, the cloud
above the Matroosberg dropped so low that we couldn’t see fellow runners just
20m ahead or behind for the mist and rain. It meant we didn’t score the
incredible views we knew to be there, but it added another dimension to the
already punishing race. This event was every bit as challenging as a
Skymarathon® should be: it was gutwrenching, lungbusting, legburning,
adrenalin-pumping, sphincter-clenching stuff. The course was technnical and
unforgiving. And as with all skyrunning, with vertical gain comes much pain,
but each gruelling minute is worth every grimace.
|Queen of the Mountain Robyn Kime|
As predicted, the race was won by AJ
Calitz (3:43), who also claimed King of the Mountain at the highest point of
the route (2215m) in 1:19.
But the most phenomenal performance by
far was by ladies' winner Robyn Kime. The North Face SA athlete scooped Queen of the Mountain in 1:29 and finished the race in
4:03, just 20 min after AJ, securing 5th position overall.
Another impressive show was that of
Anele Mnukwa, an Elgin Grabouw Athletic Club road runner with a 2:36 marathon
best and a rather tidy 3:34 Two Oceans Ultra time. The MTC was Anele’s first long
distance trail race! (His only other trail running race was the New Balance
Trail Run 10km in Feb, in which he placed 2nd). Looks like this is a
man to watch.
|Running trail in road shoes didn't phase Anele Mnukwa|
Huge congrats to MTC organiser Ghaleed Nortje,
and to his team of medics, marshals and volunteers who made this race great.
And a massive thank-you to the Matroosberg Nature Reserve – what a brilliant
adventure playground you have!
Click on Matroosberg Trail Challenge pics copyright Andrew King/Nikon
to check out more pics from the day, courtesy of photo maestro Andrew King.
1st man - AJ Calitz 3:43 1st lady - Robyn Kime 4:03
2nd man - Anele Mnukwa 3:59 2nd lady - Annemien Ganzevoort 4:32
3rd man - Ake Fagereng 4:02 3rd lady - Linda Doke 5:04
Labels: AJ Calitz, Anele Mnukwa, Eric Tollner, Ghaleed Nortje, Matroosberg Nature Reserve, Matroosberg Trail Challenge, Red Earth, Robyn Kime, SASA, SkyMarathon, Skyrunning