Sometimes in life, it all comes together. Today, a Swiss trail runner by the name of Marc Lauenstein had such a day … the weather played ball; his impeccable flow across the rocks was timed to perfection; the Bloukrans River crossing was pretty benign; and he went out and grabbed the proverbial Otter by the jiggly bits.
His perfect race enabled him to do something that up to now has seemed impossible in trail running terms: he broke the 4hr barrier for the #GrailOfTrail. It took Lauenstein exactly 3hrs 59min 18sec to tramp across tree routes, bound across giant boulders, swim a surging river, speed along stone-strewn beaches, tip-toe across a balance bar, and claim his cheque for R100 000.
This is the biggest trail running payout ever in South Africa, and I have a feeling Mark Collins did not expect to ever have this chat with his bank manager. That said, I think the incredible media generated around this unthinkable time will draw more and more people to this amazing sport.
Kane Reilly and Elias Madiba gave it their all, but today that was not good enough. These two gentlemen of trail will however have their deserved day – of that I am convinced, and it was fantastic connecting with them and a whole bunch of old trail freak friends.
The women’s race was emphatically dominated by super-woman Emma Roca, the international BUFF athlete from Spain. Not only did she claim a TOP 10 (7th overall), but she also posted a new Women’s VET Record of 5hrs 7min. The SA ‘Blond & Beautiful Brigade’ of Nicolette Griffioen and Megan Mackenzie flew the flag brilliantly to take 2nd and 3rd position.
Me? I had a stunning run along a good half of the course, taking pix, checking out sugar birds, and chatting to the dassies. Huge thanks (and kudos) must go to Mark Collins,Belen Sanchez, Christine Collins, John Collins, Chris Crewdson, Matty-Dalén Smith, Petrus Maree and the fantastic Magnetic South crew – they are world-class, and also some of my favourite people in the world. It is a pleasure being part of ‘The Otter’!
Click here to view the pics