Cool temperatures and solid performances throughout the field marked the 19th running of the Three Peaks Challenge in Association with K-Way. Cape Town runner Martin Kleynhans won convincingly – for the second consecutive year. It took him five-hours and 20 minutes to complete the 50-kilometre route between three of Table Mountain’s peaks – Devil’s Peak, Maclear’s Beacon and Lion’s Head.
“I think I still haven’t quite come to terms with it! I managed to somehow win the Three Peaks. Again! How did that happen? I certainly did not expect to win again and the competition was formidable.”
Like the Swiss runner Marc Lauenstein, who set a record-smashing run at The OTTER last month, Kleynhans is an experienced orienteer. He credits his win to the “sneaky skills” learned through the off-road sport of orienteering where participants have to deal with an unmarked route and numerous route choices while balancing course distance, elevation gain and runnability of terrain into their race strategy.
He also notes a number of on-the-day elements that contributed to his win.
“Andrew Hagen, the man who basically owns this race, got sick and had to pull out before the race and, well, you could say I was in luck in that respect. Rupert Becker probably went out too hard. Lucas Adams maybe went too hard as well; both Rupert and Lucas seemed to flag from Platteklip onwards. Simon Raubenheimer was strong throughout but made the error of choosing the front-face path to Maclear’s. Pieter Calitz, who should have won based purely on running prowess, made a few fatal route-choice errors on the last leg up and down Lion’s Head. And that is how I won!”
Kleynhans says his race had a good combination of optimal route choice with reasonable, not top, speed.
“In the end I managed to better last year’s time by over four minutes and I am very happy about that too,” he adds.
Race organiser Gavin Snell completed his 19th Challenge.
“It was really tough for me personally, with lots of slipping and falling on my old smooth-soled, road-running shoes.”
Snell says that despite rain at the start and pea-soup mist on the mountain, the weather was near-perfect.
“This accounted for some good, solid performances down the field, although it did mean that runners had to be mindful of the slippery conditions coming down Devil’s Peak and Platteklip Gorge. It was misty with rain in the morning and the sun came out for the Lion’s Head leg. Thankfully, the temperature stuck between the mid-teens and early 20s for much of the day.”
Returning to Greenmarket Square after ascending and descending the first peak (Devil’s Peak), Kleynhans had a 68-second lead over Pieter Calitz and Lucas Adams. On completion of the second peak – Maclear’s Beacon on Table Mountain – Calitz was in the lead and held two-minutes over Kleynhans. But Kleynhans’ better route saw him catch Calitz on Lion’s Head, as he had in his victory over Lucky Miya in 2014, to win a convincing seven-minutes ahead at the finish. Simon Raubenheimer finished third, a further eight-minutes behind.
Women’s course record holder Katya Soggott has dominated this event for the past three years. She withdrew her entry days before the race as a serious ankle injury left her in a moon boot and on crutches. This opened the top slot on the podium up to other runners. Melany Porter took control, leading from start to clock a 7:11:28 finish. Jana Trojan was second, 20-minutes behind Porter. Brenna Coupland completed the women’s podium.
This year, 135 people completed the challenge. Shaun Schneeberger, great-great-grandson of CW Schneeberger – founder of Three Peaks Challenge, put in a good performance on his debut at this event. He began with a very slow and careful approach of the first peak to finish strong at the end.
“K-Way, a brand that boasts a strong heritage, is extremely proud to be associated with an event that holds such great history. The Three Peaks is an incredible challenge of both mental and physical endurance and we hope to be title sponsors of this challenge for many years to come. K-Way provides Three Peaks Challenge-branded technical moisture managers to every finisher, for them to wear with pride when they next hit the trails,” says Penny Parker, K-Way Marketing.
The full provisional results for 2015 Three Peaks Challenge in Association with K-Way are on the event website www.threepeakschallenge.co.za