Any experienced skyrunner from Mpumalanga can tell you the lowveld highlands can be as tough to race as any skyrunning profile, and this was proven once again on Saturday at the Uitsoek SkyMarathon®, with its 2 000m of vertical gain.
The penultimate race in the five-event 2017 Skyrunner® Series saw two extra kilometres added to the 38km course, owing to route changes because of recent deforestation in the area. This meant Lucky Miya’s course record of 4:03:31 set in 2015, based on the original route, remains intact for another year.
The race was won by local Sabie runner Werner Bosman in 4:44:04, followed by Tzaneen-based Juan Carstens in 2nd (4:51:23), beating defending champion Bruce Arnett into 3rd place (4:51:40). Arnett made a small navigational error two kilometres from the finish, which cost him second place on the podium.
In the women’s race, Cheryl Coetzee had a comfortable win (6:47:52) over Mientjie Els (6:55:03), with Lisa Main finishing in 3rd place (7:05:24).
Unlike previous years, the weather on race day was cool and misty, with clouds hanging over the mountains. This was a relief to the backmarkers, as by the final 10km of the race the heat can make the going tough.
“This year the field had a significant number of Mpumalanga runners, which is exciting – it’s an indication of how well trail running, and skyrunning, is growing in this part of South Africa,” said race director Sven Musica.
Full results of the Uitsoek SkyMarathon® here: https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=117098
The final event in the 2017 Skyrunner® Series is the Lesotho Ultra Trail (50km Ultra Skymarathon® with 3 400m vert) on 25th November. For more info, go to www.lesothoultratrail.com