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May Race Report - Running

Trail Running in May - A Month of Mountains!


May 2023 was an exceptionally exciting month in the history of South African trail running, as George Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) became the first South African race to join the UTMB World Series! For many local athletes, having a UTMB event on home ground now makes it possible to qualify for an event of the prestigious annual Ultra Trail Mont Blanc festival, without the stress and cost of multiple international trips.

Mountain sunrise Outeniqua
Outeniqua Mountains delivering for MUT 2023

After a few days of heavy rainfall, the Outeniqua mountains conjured up spectacular weather for race weekend, but the underfoot conditions ensured that every runner would work hard for their finisher’s medal. Off-camber trails, ankle-deep mud, exceptionally steep climbs and even steeper straight-down descents resulted in many casualties (of both falls and ITBS!) and a number of DNFs. But like usual, the toughest of the tough not only persevered but also triumphed, and a number of very happy podium runners will be lining up in France come late August.


MUT by UTMB - 26-28 May - Results:

100 Miler

  1. Ryan SANDES - 21:46:32

  2. Douglas PICKARD - 22:54:50

  3. Gabriel KRIEL - 23:56:07

100km Male

  1. Bruce ARNETT - 13:39:13

  2. Michael MOLYNEAUX - 14:09:40

  3. Guido TAGGE (Germany) - 14:20:40

100km Female

  1. Tarrin VAN NIEKERK - 15:02:39

  2. Kelly FREETH - 15:14:00

  3. Sveta BECKER - 15:34:33

60km Male

  1. Johardt VAN HEERDEN - 05:55:18

  2. Jeshurun SMALL (United States) - 06:15:32

  3. Mvuyisi GCOGCO - 07:04:27

60km Female

  1. Kim SCHREIBER (Germany) - 07:19:18

  2. Jada LINSTROM - 08:03:56

  3. Sam REILLY - 08:09:04

40km

  1. Iain PETERKIN - 04:31:00

  2. Jacques BUYS - 04:31:00

  3. Rikus SAAYMAN - 04:43:32

40km Female

  1. Bianca TARBOTON - 04:36:55 (3rd overall)

  2. Rebecca KOHNE - 05:16:12

  3. Sumé VAN HEERDEN - 05:25:08



A number of other trail events in May also saw runners tackling mountainous terrain… Still in the Western Cape we had the beautiful Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge offering distances of 12, 21 and 38 km. With a whopping 1960m of ascent, the 38km was undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend! And while long distance athletes were forced to start the race in the cold and dark, their efforts were soon rewarded with magnificent misty mountain views.


Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge - 20 May 2023 - Results:

JMC 38km Male

  1. Piet Lourens

  2. Leo Sorenson

  3. Cornel Smuts

JMC 38km Female

  1. Minette Naude

  2. Verone Grobler

  3. Kate Mapham



An exciting inaugural event by the name of the Noordhoek Superbowl was also listed on Cape Town’s trail running calendar for the first time this year. The 21km race was well attended with 243 athletes completing the mountainous course and conquering 1195m of ascent! The manageable distance provided an opportunity for novice trail runners to enjoy a few lesser-known Table Mountain trails while more experienced athletes tested their technical speed.


The summits of Chapman’s Peak, Noordhoek Peak, and the lesser-known Spitskop on their route around the ‘Superbowl’. The conditions on race day were perfect - cool and dry with just a light coating of summit cloud - making for an exhilarating and unforgettable experience on the trail. The summits of Chapman’s Peak, Noordhoek Peak and the lesser-known Spitskop made up most of the ascent as runners circumnavigated the “Superbowl”.


The mens’ race was extraordinary, with Charl Cronje and Ryan Romans battling it out for the top spot throughout the course. The gap between them was just 2 seconds at the 12.7km aid station, but from there Romans put the hammer down. Despite Cronje's best efforts, Romans extended his lead to set a record time of 2:06:48. Cronje finished second in 2:08:14, and Ariole Bolus took third in 2:12:10.


In the ladies' race, Jada Linstrom led from start to finish, crossing the line in an impressive 2:34:12. Behind her, however, was a fierce battle for second place. Marguerite van Niekerk and Chantel Nortje leap-frogged along the majority of the course, with van Niekerk finally managing to take and hold the lead. Nortje finished 3rd in 2:44:54, just under three minutes behind Marguerite in second with 2:42:04.


Trail runner on Table Mountain trails

Noordhoek Superbowl - 6 May 2023 - Results:

21km Male

  1. Ryan Romans

  2. Charl Cronje

  3. Ariole Bolus

21km Female

  1. Jada Linstrom

  2. Marguerite van Niekerk

  3. Chantel Nortje


Leaving the WC and moving north east up into the Free State, the iconic Golden Gate National Park played host to the annual Golden Gate Challenge. Presented by WildSeries in support of conservation, this is what they had to say post-race:


“This time last week we were privileged to be celebrating our heritage by partaking in the majestic Golden Gate one-day challenge. Over 120 runners competed in either the 50km, 25km or 10km mountain run in order to raise funds for the conservation efforts of WILD TRUST in partnership with SANParks Honorary Rangers.”


Leaping trail runner, Golden Gate Challenge, South Africa

“A huge shout out goes to our sweeps who guided all our runners home safely. Race director Hilary Pitchford Bruss commends all our sweeps on a sterling job in the mountains and keeping the team spirit alive.”


Golden Gate Challenge - 27 May 2023 - Results:

50km men:

  1. Sipho Mofokeng 06:10:16

  2. Ralph Enselin 06:41:13

  3. Kevern Sandalls 07:43:25

50km women:

  1. Ruth Cozien 06:22:19

  2. Christine Brown 07:27:16

  3. Trude Carstens 07:35:08

25km men:

  1. Rory Pelser 02:53:45

  2. Thabang Mphuthi 03:23:43

  3. Jaco Lourens 03:37:26

25km women:

  1. Evelyn Botha 04:04:26

  2. Michelle Steenkamp 04:06:59

  3. Lauren Rodger 04:48:20



May’s mountain running even extended to Gauteng and the North-West where the 4th event of the Harties Trail Experience Series took place from Van Gaalens Cheese Farm. Race day of the Magalies Challenge dawned crisp and clear, as any self-respecting Autumn highveld day should! There were distances of 6km, 12km and 21km on offer, but it was the 35km extreme that really stole the show.


Arguably a traditional Magaliesberg trail running route, 35km runners were bused out to the starting point, just like the good old days. After a stiff climb up onto the ridge, they were treated to views for days and vultures to accompany them on their mountain journey. A technical single track trail with a loose, rocky surface saw athletes meander their way eastwards along the summit of the Magalies for several kilometers. Eventually the route descended back through layers of pristine bushveld and some open farmland before runners reached the blessed shade of the famous Van Gaalens River Trail and signs pointing them homeward…



Magalies Challenge - 20 May 2023 - Results:

35km Male

  1. Alexander

  2. Simon Tshabalala

  3. Bradley Claase

35km Female

  1. Janine Taylor

  2. Mari Marincowitz

  3. Carna Koch

21km Male

  1. Tranquil Gumbo

  2. Kennedy Sekhuthe

  3. Jonathan Melamdowitz

21km Female

  1. Lehanri Vd Westhuizen

  2. Kieren Bremner

  3. Lizanda Du Plessis


On the road running scene the Western Cape provided a great training race for Comrades runners in the form of the KIA False Bay 50km. It was also one of the last Comrades qualifiers for 2023. The False Bay 50km is an iconic point-to-point ultra road race that takes athletes from Kleinmond to Gordon’s Bay. Providing amazing ocean views most of the way, the scenic coastal road passes Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay, Rooi Els and Kogel Bay en route. Athletes were able to relax and enjoy the fresh sea breeze this year as partial road closure was awarded for the event.


KIA False Bay 50km - 7 May - Results:

Male

  1. Jimmy Bonjesi (03:05:19)

  2. Siyabonga Madala (03:09:28)

  3. Bernard Rukadza (03:18:24)

Female

  1. Carla Molinaro (03:23:56) (5th overall)

  2. Danette Walley (03:43:37)

  3. Mitsie van der Westhuizen (04:07:39)


Cape Town coastal drive

On the 1st of May, another classic road run in the form of the MiWay Wally Hayward Marathon took place in Gauteng. This is what the organisers had to say:


“On Monday 1 May, over 10 000 runners painted the streets of Centurion cerise at the 46th MiWay Wally Hayward Marathon. The winners of the 42.2km were Lucky Mohale (Men) and Yolande MaClean (Women) they won R15000 each, while the winners of the 21.1km race were Reghen Thantsa (Men) and Rutendo Nyahora (Women) who both won R6000 each. Well done to everyone who participated!”


MiWay Wally Hayward 42km Marathon - 1 May 2023 - Results:


Male

  1. Lucky MOHALE 02:22:21

  2. Stephen MOKOKA 02:22:24

  3. Teboho LEJAHA 02:28:13

Female

  1. Yolande MACLEAN 03:02:52

  2. Bernadene MCLOUD 03:06:27

  3. Charlene ARCHER 03:09:25


Meanwhile, combining both running and cycling, was a special group of athletes competing in the 2023 NMB Duathlon Championships. It all went down at Piper’s Beach, Port ELizabeth on the 28th May in great conditions. The male champion of the Olympic Distance was Yusuf Arendse from Team Tissink Triathlon, while top step of the women’s race was claimed by Mariette Hattingh.


NMB Duathlon Championships - 28 May 2023 - Results:

Male Standard Distance Champs

  1. Jeffrey Yusuf ARENDSE

  2. Mxoleleni TABATA

  3. Kyle White

Female Standard Distance Champs

  1. Mariette Hattingh

  2. Christine Harding

  3. Lesley Loock

Male Sprint Distance Champs

  1. Matthew VAN COLLER

  2. Alessandro FANICCHI

  3. Jabu MPENGESI

Female Sprint Distance Champs

  1. Nolukhanyo MADLINGOZI

  2. Kerri-Lee BARNARD

  3. Yanelisa NOMOYI

End of race report

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