Much has been said and loads already posted
about Ultra Trail Cape Town 2015, but I couldn’t resist leaping onto the
feedback bandwagon with a quick blog.
This is not a race report – it can’t be, I
ran neither the 100km nor the 65km. A dodgy Achilles peppered with a healthy
dose of sense made me opt instead for the 65km relay, partnering friend and
speedster Nic de Beer.
So, having only run 34km of the full UTCT route,
I write this more from the position of a participating observer. And even from
that stance, I saw a lot.
|UTCT 100km winner Christiaan Greyling|
There’s not a single person who won’t agree
that everything about UTCT, from the very time the seed of such a race
germinated in Nic Bornman’s head and heart, right to everyone’s viewing of the
9 min video (click here) that brilliantly captures the essence of race day, just radiates success.
So, I won’t be covering how immaculately
organised the preparation for UTCT was, how fantastic the vibe was on the day,
how the route epitomised everything that an ultra on one of the New Seven
Wonders of Nature (read about Table Mountain here)
should, or how incredible the aid stations were with their energy and support through
miserable weather conditions.
Notwithstanding the incredible
determination and perseverance of the runners who took on either distance, there
were four specific aspects that stood out for me last Saturday.
The first was that to stage two mountain
ultras simultaneously without a glitch, despite adverse weather conditions, is
beyond commendable. The forward planning, the logistics and safety precautions
needed to accomplish this are monstrous. The trio of energy behind achieving
this can be proud – Nic, Stuart and Kim, a massive shout-out, you make a superb
|UTCT's energy trio - Nic Bornman, Kim Stephens and Stuart McConnachie|
The second has to be said, and just as
loudly: the women’s performance last Saturday was even more impressive than the men’s.
In a field of about 45 starters, 10% were female, of which three finished in
the top 11 overall.
Ladies winner Kerry-Ann Marshall ran a race
that, I believe, outshone even the overall winner. (Christiaan, you ran a superb race, no doubt there, but Kerry-Ann was
|Ladies' winner Kerry-Ann Marshall came 6th overall|
Second-placed lady Chantel “Hotpants” Nienaber
also had a phenomenal race, knocking more than an hour of her 2014 time. In the 65km race, ladies’ winner Landie
Greyling crossed the line 8th overall, comfortably within the top 10
My third observation is that nothing
prepares you better for technical trail than practising on technical trail. Let
off-road running be exactly that: it cannot and never will be the same as
running on trail. Running on dirt roads may be fine for Comrades
training, but it won’t prepare you for technical trail.
And finally, the fourth point I took away on
Saturday was that rather than the concern some had that the Cape’s
unpredictable temperatures and the technical difficulty of some sections of the
UTCT route might scare off potential entrants in future years, I believe
Saturday’s blustery weather and challenging running conditions will attract
those who hunger for exactly that. After all, REAL trail running isn’t for
I think Cape Town and our beloved Table
Mountain really set the stage well for trail runners this year, and cast Ultra
Trail Cape Town in the perfect light the race needs to cement its reputation as
a real, tough, international ultra.
UTCT 2015 did its namesake proud. On so
many levels this race is set to go far.
Labels: Cape Town, Christiaan Greyling, Kerry-Ann Marshall, Landie Greyling, New Seven Wonders of Nature, Nic Bornman, Table Mountain, Ultra Trail Cape Town, UTCT