Arnett tames the Salomon SkyRun for a record 13th time

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MORGAN PIEK 

The 2015 Salomon SkyRun in the Witteberg Mountain range once again proved be a beast of different nature and a seemingly untamable one for most of the runners. However, for Bruce Arnett it appeared to be a walk in the park again.

Arnett once again reaffirmed his legendary SkyRun status by winning the epic mountain trail run between Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape and Wartrail to claim his 13th victory in his 17th outing.While Arnett didn't break Iain Don-Wauchope's record time of 12:08:00 set in 2014, he claimed the men's race in 13:57:00 to achieve his second goal, which was to run a sub 14 hour time. For the majority of the race it was a proper slugfest between himself, Jock Green and Bennie Roux, however, Arnett banked on all his years of experience in the gruelling race to ultimately win by more than 52:02.

Green and Roux's battle with the adverse weather conditions during the last quarter of the race saw them being edged into joint second by South Africa's AJ Calitz, Christiaan Greyling and Spain's Pedro Caldereu DeLa Barca. Green and Roux crossed the line in 17:15:44 and tied 5th. 

"I am chuffed," Arnett told Courant when speaking about his 13th victory at the picturesque. "I had two goals. I obviously wanted to win and I wanted to go under 14 hours, which I did and I did it comfortably. I did it without having to push myself hard at the end.

"I knew at the end I had built up a sizable gap because I was running strong. I was aware of them chasing and pushing and they were probably only 15-20 minutes behind up the Bridal Pass and even at The Turn. I realised the pace that I was putting at the end gave me a comfortable lead. In the end it was over an hour. I just had fun," the ever smiling trail legend concluded.

It came as little surprise that Landie Greyling once again reigned supreme in the women's event for her third win to cap off a fantastic 2015, which will see a big accolade coming her way next month. Unfortunately Jackie Moore had to withdraw from the race leaving no real threat to Greyling and she had an easy run in to win in 18:07:06. Misty Weyers took second in the 100km race in a time of 21:37:14, while the podium was completed by Riana van der Merwe in 25:42:42.

The SkyRun Lite was clinched by Nico Schoeman in 08:52:19. It was, however, not enough of a challenge for him and he then proceeded to complete the 100km trail. Jacques Mouton ran in second in 10:42:32 in a race he simply described as "tough" as he crossed the line at Wartrail. Herman Fourie claimed third nearly 15 minutes off the pace of Mouton in 10:57:59.

Natasha Kask took the women's 65km in 12:02:34, more than 21 minutes faster than Karen Behrens in 12:23:46, with Kate Barnes taking the bronze in 14:13:19. While records weren't broken in 2015, minds, bodies and souls surely were. Old friendships were rekindled and new ones made. Camaraderie was the order of the day and the bond between a unique and special group of athletes stole the show, epitomising the ethos of the SkyRun.