The third event in the 2016 South African Skyrunner® Series kicks off tomorrow with the Wolkberg SkyMarathon®, where 260 trail runners will take on the tough 34km race in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.
Hosted by Stanford Lake College, the race forms day one of the two-day 58km Clemengold Wolkberg Trail Run stage race, set near the picturesque village of Haenertsburg. Run mostly on forest paths and logging roads, the race begins in the George’s Valley (1 250m) and crosses wintery grasslands as it steadily climbs 900m up to the Iron Crown summit (2 126m), the highest point on the route and in the province.
Part of the far northern section of the Drakensberg mountain range, the Wolkberg is situated some four hours’ drive from Johannesburg and an easy 34km from Tzaneen.
The success of the first two Clemengold Wolkberg Trail Runs and last year’s inaugural Wolkberg SkyMarathon® has seen a 100% increase in the number of race entries, from 130 in 2015 to 260 runners this year.
Race favourite tomorrow is course record holder Bennie Roux (pictured above) who, following a busy past several months of racing, including the SA ultra trail championships at the 65km Hout Bay Trail Challenge Ultra two weeks ago, feels in good form to beat his best time on this course (3:03:43).
“I’m aiming to break my record tomorrow. Wolkberg SkyMarathon® is one of my favourite races, I will always come back for more!” says Roux.
Tight competition for Roux will be Wandisile Nongodlwana, Naas Janse van Rensburg, Mazu Ndandani and Tiaan Fullard. Names to watch in the women’s race are likely to be Marzelle van der Merwe, Marcelle Coetzee, Naomi Brand and Holly Page.
The Wolkberg Skymarathon® can be e-watched on Twitter at #SASkyrunnerSeries.