The entries have opened for the 2017 4Peaks at the Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve between Ficksburg and Fouriesburg in the Eastern Free State.
Next year’s event will be a reverse run again, meaning that the runners will tackle the infamous Sikonyelas Hat in their first major climb, as opposed to the Pyramid.
It will be just the second time that the gruelling 24km mountain race will start in reverse. In 2015 the race was run this way around for the first time and it proved to be a huge success, prompting the race organisers, Pure Adventures, to host a reverse run every alternate year.
As is the case with the Comrades Marathon up and down runs, the 4Peaks has a records for each way around.
This year, Lucky Miya won the 4Peaks in a blistering time of 02:40:30 to break the trail and mountain running legend Ryan Sandes’ record by nearly a minute.
The time to beat next year belongs to Thabang Madiba, which he set in 02:40:54 last year. Only 24 seconds separate the two records, however, many runners who have completed the horseshoe course both ways, feel that the reverse run is the more challenging of the two.
In the ladies’ open section the time of 04:06:03 set by Georgina Ayre will be the time to beat in 2017. Estie Szoke impressed in 2016 by winning the ladies open title in a time of 03:58:02.
In the men’s open the defending champion, Miya, could prove to be the man to beat in the reverse run after his stellar performance this year, which also was his debut run at the event.
Furthermore, his second place finish at this year’s SkyRun in the Witteberg Mountains in the Eastern Cape, speaks volumes about his pedigree and clearly that mountains do not intimidate him.
Miya’s time of 13:30:35 over the 100km course was only bettered by the winner, Christiaan Greyling, who won by slightly less than seven minutes.
The 2017 4Peaks will take place on the weekend of 22 to 24 September at Moolmanshoek. To enter, visit www.4peaks.co.za – MORGAN PIEK