The third leg of 2019 Wild Olive Night Trail Run Series, presented by Bloemfontein Courant at Wild Olive Estate in Bloemfontein, went according to the proverbial script, with pre-race favourites, Anastacius Ontong and Pauline Njeya crossing the finish line first overall among the men and women respectively.
But, it was the 10-year-old Danell Oelofse (Fichardt Park Primary School) who amazed fellow participants, spectators and organisers with her brilliant performance on the day.
The blond Oelofse, who is slowly but surely making her mark on the athletics track, decided it was time to tackle her first trail run ever and did so with great success.
She started off quickly and it was soon evident that the strenuous 7-km course suited her tiny frame. Oelofse finished in second place overall in a fast 29:23 to claim the prize for the first junior.
Njeya, who was credited with the victory in the veteran women’s section, crossed the finish line in 27:36, whilst the winner of the senior women’s category, Tara-Lea van Zyl (30:27), had to be content with third place overall.
Ontong was on the warpath once again and highlighted his unofficial “title” as the best trail runner currently over short distances in the City of Roses. He won by a vast distance in a time of 22:33, leaving Pitso Meko (2nd, 24:03) and the third runner overall, Wilfred Leeuw (25:49) well in his wake.
Another youngster who performed well, is the 12-year-old Otto Krause. This learner from the Grey College Primary School decided he was not going to wait for older juniors in what seemed like a rush for a drink at the finish. Krause and Oelofse, his training partner, had a “fun and games” run together and Krause won the junior men’s section in a good 29:22, one second ahead of Oelofse. – RUFUS BOTHA