The 2018 Trappers Bloemfontein 4Peaks Mountain Challenge presented by Bloemfontein Courant proved to be arguably the most dramatic to date with both the men’s and women’s race ending up in a sprint finish.
In perfect running conditions at the picturesque Moolmanshoek Private Nature reserve, both races saw a mere second separating the winners from the runners-up.
Thabang Madiba, who is the only man to have won both the reverse races, stayed true to his word by winning the classic race, and in a record time. Madiba set the new benchmark at 2:39:56 to edge Lesotho’s Simon Tshabalala. The local runner, Sampie Makoekoe, ran third in a time of 3:01:54, and this saw him winning the veterans’ section.
Trude Carstens of Bethlehem, who won the reverse race last year, managed to hold off the young and determined Tara-Lea van Zyl in 4:09:01 to not only defend her title, but also because she is the only woman to have won both the reverse and classic races. Caryn Phipson took the bronze in slightly more than 12 minutes behind both Carstens and Van Zyl.
Madiba himself also earned the unique distinction of being the only man to win the reverse and classic races, and he holds the record in both. After this win, Madiba, told Bloemfontein Courant that there was a lot of pressure on him to break the record.
“I only read your article about me breaking the record last night (Friday night), and this put a lot of pressure on me to perform.
“They were my words, so I suppose that I did put the pressure on myself.
“It was a goal to set a new course record for this route and I am really thrilled to have been able to do that!”
Carstens in her turn had a lot of praise for the youngster from Bloemfontein, who ran a superb last part of the race.
“What an honour to not only be back at this amazing, but super tough race, but to take the title again.
“The race went really well, I suffered a little bit in the last 8 km, which is when Tara-Lea caught up with me, but I was able to dig deep and pip her at the line”
Top 10 finishers:
Men: 1 Thabang Madiba, 2 Simon Tshabalala, 3 Sampie Makoekoe, 4 Mpaki Moolmanshoek, 5 Mike Nash, 6 Pitso Meko, 7 Michael Coles, 8 Mark Phipson, 9 Abri Naude, 10 Tholo Malebo.
Women: 1 Trude Carstens, 2 Tara-Lea van Zyl, 3 Caryn Phipson, 4 Neelke Stadler, 5 Melinda Janse van Vuuren, 6 Martie Botes, 7 Marina Kambanis, 8 Karen Havenga, 9 Meghan West, 10 Tanya Worner. – MORGAN PIEK