Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge race preview

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Some of the views that runners can expect at this year's Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge (JMC) on 3 May. Image by Kelvin Trautman

With less than ten days to go before the Mountain Challenge Series (MCS) kicks off, anticipation is building for the first race of the Series, the Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge (JMC) on Sunday, 3 May.

This race has become a firm favourite on the Western Cape trail running calendar and with entries close to sold out, it is clear that these mountains are as big a challenge now as they were four years ago when the first JMC took place. As always, three distances are on offer on race day, with the longest being 38km – slightly longer than usual because of the devastating fires that raged in the Jonkershoek valley earlier this year. The JMC Lite has been lengthened to 24km for the same reason while the Jonkershoek Mountain Run will be 11km instead of the usual 10km.

The race at the front of the 38km JMC will be an exciting one with race favourite, Bernard Rukadza who will be running with a target on his back. In 2014, he led the race until the last 5km when he rolled his ankle and was overtaken by Duncan O’Regan. He will be hoping to amend this and take top spot, no doubt having the Mountain Challenge Series (MCS) title firmly in his crosshairs.  Martin Kleynhans, Dion Middelkoop and Dylan Solms are sure to keep him company at the front of the field and if they can stay within striking distance there’s no telling how the final results will shape up. In the ladies field, Sylvie Scherzinger will fancy her chances to claim her first JMC title.

The 24km JMC Lite is packed to the brim and the battle at the front of the field between Michael Gombart, Edson Kumwamba and Rory Scheffer is sure to be a tight one. At the front of the ladies field, both last year’s winner and runner-up, Liandi van der Westhuyzen and Marié Wessels, will return to battle it out again for top spot.

With the long-term weather prediction being clear but cold, it is sure to be a great day on the mountains. Limited entries are still available for all three distances so if you want to be a part of this event visit the website at www.mountainchallenge.co.za now to enter.

For regular updates on race day and to stay informed in the build-up to the event, follow us on Twitter @WildrunnerZA and look for the hashtag #RunJMC.