Greyling tames 20th SkyRun

Christiaan Greyling (right) went on better than his share of second last year to win the 20th edition of the 100km SkyRun in the Witteberg Mountains. Greyling stopped the clock in 13:23:47. Ryno Griesel (left) won the 65km race (SkyRun Lite) in a blistering time of 8:46:22. PHOTO: CRAIG KOLESKY/NIKON/LEXAR

This year was a special event seeing that it was the 20th edition of the gruelling 100km mountain race in the picturesque Witteberg Mountains in the Eastern Cape.

Greyling, who is a well-known name among trail and mountain runners in South Africa, edged Lucky Miya to the finish line in 13:23:47. The defending 4Peaks champion, Miya, crossed the line 8 minutes behind Greyling in 13:31:58, in what will undoubtedly be one of his finished off-road runs.

In September Miya won the 4Peaks at Moolmanshoek. It was his maiden win in a trail/mountain race.

AJ Calitz rounded off the podium by finishing third in 14:13:40.

In 2015 Greyling, Calitz and Pedro de la Barca (Spain) crossed the finish line hand in hand for a share of the second place. The event was won by the SkyRun legend, Bruce Arnett, for what was his 13th win.

This time around Arnett could win his record-extending 14th title but had to settle for 13th overall in a time of 17:10:33.

The women’s race was won in a record time of 15:16:08 by Nicolette Griffioen. She finished the race in a staggering 7th overall to beat her closest competitor, Karoline Hanks, by more than four hours.

Griffioen’s winning time was more than three hours faster than Landie Greyling’s (Christiaan Greyling’s wife) time in 2015.

Hanks covered the 100km run in 19:28:12.

Tracy Zunckel clinched third in the women’s race in a time of 19:51:54.

The Gower brothers also ran another good race with Gavin, Dustin and Trevor all finishing with Hanks. All four were separated by just 36 seconds.

The men’s 65km (SkyRun Lite) race was won by another familiar face at the SkyRun, Ryno Griesel. Griesel ran a blistering race to win in 08:45:51. Nearly two hours faster than his closest competitor, Mark Crandon. Crandon took second in 10:41:03, five minutes nine seconds ahead of Dirk Immelman, who ran 10:45:56. Griesel’s time was also some 6 minutes faster than Nico Schoeman’s winning time in 2015.

The honours in the women’s 65km race went to Tarrin van Niekerk in 11:58:04, which was also the 14th overall. Van Niekerk did more than enough to beat the defending champion, Natasja Kask and Anadia Serfontein to the line by some 35 minutes. Kask finished in 12:33:33. In another showing of great sportsmanship, which is very much the ethos of the SkyRun, Serfontein of Bloemfontein and Kask crossed the line hand-in-hand after running the entire race together.

Van Niekerk’s time was 4 minutes faster than Kask’s winning time a year prior. – MORGAN PIEK