With just a few days to go before the first ever South African Skyrunner® Series kicks off, competition is ramping up to ensure the Ingeli Skymarathon® is yet another hotly contested race on the local skyrunning calendar.
Dubbed the “Green Mamba” of trail running for the several nasty bites it will deliver over the 42km distance, the race will be the perfect event to launch the Skyrunner® Series – the route has more than 2 000m of vertical ascent, making it one of the toughest races of this distance in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Several big names will tow the start line this year, and the race promises to be highly competitive. In the men’s field the very experienced Iain don Wauchope (The North Face) will be going head-to-head with Lesotho Ultra Trail 2013 winner Andrew Hagen (Vibram FiveFingers) and trail speedster Lucky Mia.
With a pedigree of trail running wins including the Otter (2012), Rhodes Run (2103), Sky Run (2010) amongst others, Don Wauchope will prove stiff competition for Hagen and Mia. Hagen, renowned for his technical downhill trail running skills, will have to be on top form to beat not only Don Wauchope but Mia, whose top-five placements in the Otter and the Retto in 2012 and 2013, and fourth place in the Lesotho Ultra Trail 2013, will no doubt make him hungry for a podium finish at the Ingeli Skymarathon®.
Jock Green (Salomon) and Prodigal Khumalo will likely lead the chase group and keep the frontrunners pushing the pace.
Top contenders in the ladies’ race, Tracy Zunckel (Race Food) and Su don Wauchope (The North Face) will be battling it out for top spot. With an indomitable record of wins to her credit, including six Mont-aux-Sources wins and three Mutter wins, 2013 SA Women’s Ultra Trail Champion Zunckel is likely to clinch the win. Don Wauchope’s most recent wins include Otter 2012 and Rhodes Run 2013 should put her well ahead of other contenders in the mix, including Danette Smith, Erika Walker, Victoria Leckie and Sue Carter-Brown.
Race organiser Andrew Booth predicts the Ingeli Skymarathon® will become renowned as one of the more hardcore races on the South African trail running calendar.
“Mamba is the appropriate description for this race – it’ll bite sore in a few places! The route is varied, and consists of both forest and mountain section, with single track, jeep track and tough rocky technical trails,” says Booth.
Being in early April, conditions for the race are likely to be good, with the bulk of the rains having tapered off and the hot summer temperatures cooled to offer mild to warm weather.
The day also offers shorter events for those runners not yet up to SkyMarathon® distance, with a 20km race giving a sneak preview of what running in the mountains is all about.
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