The much anticipated second event in the 2016 Skyrunner® Series, and qualifier for the upcoming Skyrunning World Championships in Spain, was held on Saturday with the Ingeli SkyMarathon®, the notably tough 42km race dubbed the “green mamba” of trail running for its “nasty bites”.
Skyrunning was not the only challenging endeavour of the weekend. In the days leading up to the event, the weather turned foul, with 80km/h winds the day before the race displacing many of the markers along the 42km and 21km routes. The ominous weather forecast of rain and snow for the following day saw race director Dave Dixon faced with the difficult decision to adjust the 42km route for safety purposes to two laps of the 21km route.
Race day dawned icy and windy, and runners were checked for compliance with mandatory kit requirements before toeing the start line.
In the men’s race, trail favourite Lucky Miya secured himself a comfortable lead throughout, crossing the finish line in 3:41:56, just four minutes off the course record he set in 2014.
In 2nd place was Nceba Mahlawe (3:58:57), with Sbusiso Nxele as third finisher in the men (4:12:54).
The women’s race proved the more exciting one to watch, with trail pedigree the likes of Capetonian speedster Katya Soggot competing against the endurance of renowned Kwazulu Natal’s Tracy Zunckel and 2015 Skyrunner® Series champion Nicky Booyens.
Soggot dominated the race from the start, opening an eight minute lead on Zunckel during the first of the two lap course, and setting the ground for an easy win. In a dramatic turn of events, Soggot made a wrong turn just 300m from the finish, resulting in her running an additional 3km, and losing the race to Zunckel by a mere 57 seconds.
Zunckel’s win placed her 3rd overall (4:10:36), with Soggot as 2nd woman and 4th overall (4:11:33). In third position was Marzelle van der Merwe (4:21:16).
“In terms of the application of race rules Tracy was declared the winner, ensuring herself a place in the Skyrunning World Champs in Spain. Katya was devastated at the outcome but conceded that she had made a mistake which cost her a place in the team for Spain,” said Dixon.
Race winners Lucky Miya and Tracy Zunckel will be flown to Spain to compete in the Buff® Epic Run Skymarathon® in the Vall de Boi in the heart of the Pyrenees on 23 July as part of the Skyrunning World Championships.
Next event in the 2016 Skyrunner® Series is the 34km Clemengold Wolkberg SkyMarathon® on 6th August. To enter click here: http://wolkbergtrailrun.co.za/
Current standings for the 2016 Skyrunner® Series (top 10)
|Willie Brink||46 + 68||114||Marzelle van der Merwe||78 + 78||156|
|Johardt van Heerden||100||100||Nicky Booyens||68 + 72||140|
|Lucky Miya||100||100||Rachel Manyathi||60 + 68||128|
|Iain Don Wauchope||88||88||Nicolette Griffieon||100||100|
|Nceba Mahlawe||88||88||Tracy Zunckel||100||100|
|Christiaan Greyling||78||78||Su Don Wauchope||88||88|
|Sbusiso Nxele||78||78||Katya Soggot||88||88|
|Colin van den Bergh||12 + 64||76||Wendy Arnott||66||66|
|Mlungici Mazibuko||72||72||Lorraine Boshoff||66||66|
|Mazu Ndandani||72||72||Zisandele Mzhize||64||64|