Bruce Arnett from Johannesburg once again conquered the rugged mountains in Addo Elephant National Park to take first place in SA’s only 100-mile trail run in record time.
Arnett, who has won this 160-kilometre trail run in three previous years, achieved his best time yet in 18 hours and 11 minutes. The 100-mile run attracted 21 entries.
“I really enjoyed this race and the perfect weather – clear, cool and no wind but not too hot – helped a lot,” said Arnett, commenting on his win. Arnett said he paced himself throughout the race, only moving into 1st position about 38 kilometres from the finish, overtaking second place winner William Robinson of Cape Town.
Robinson took second place in 19 hours and 51 minutes while Cape Town heart surgeon and 2007 winner AO Ockreglicki took third place in 23 hours and 6 minutes. The first lady to cross the 100-mile finish line was Kim van Kets of East London, earning herself 6th place overall.
The gruelling trail run, which is now in its fifth year, kicked off in the town of Kirkwood on Saturday 2 May, then wound its way over the rugged Zuurberg Mountains before ending in the Park’s Addo main camp. Designed to test the runners both physically and mentally, the trail follows the mountains and valleys of the Park on narrow tracks with some stretches on gravel roads.
Although the runners did not have to worry about dodging the Park’s well-known elephant herds, the routes covered areas that are home to wildlife such as eland, mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest and the endangered Cape mountain zebra as well as warthog and ostrich. The very elusive leopard also roams the area, as do troops of baboons.
L-R Ad Cole and Emily
Riordan on the 50-mile trail run
The trail runs also featured a 50-mile (80-kilometre) course, which was won by Hylton Dunn of Noupoort in 7 hours and 53 minutes. Local runner, Michael Hendricks, took second place in 9 hours and 13 minutes while Chris Antonie, also a local runner, took third place in 9 hours 53 minutes. Charisse Hansen from Langebaan in the Western Cape was the first lady in and 6th place winner. The 50-mile trail run proved very popular, attracting 74 entries.
Hendricks, who took first place in the 50-mile run in 2007 and 2008, was able to participate thanks to a sponsorship from the Addo Elephant National Park.
A new addition to the trail runs, the 25-mile course, saw Rohan Kennedy of Cape Town taking first place out of a field of 50 runners in 4 hours and 13 minutes.
“The scenery was absolutely great but it was quite a tough course requiring concentration on the rocky paths,” said Kennedy.
Wally Pooler of KwaZulu-Natal took second place in 5 hours and 23 minutes while Hennie van Eck of Port Elizabeth took third place in 5 hours and 56 minutes. The United Kingdom’s Sarah Frost was the first lady and 6th place winner in 6 hours and 19 minutes.
Many of the runners commented on the magnificent scenery of the course which takes place in some of the remotest parts of Addo Elephant National Park.