Blue skies, fast times at Giant’s Cup Trail Run 2015

GCTR 2015 runner with Giant's Cup

The Giant’s Cup, made up of Hodgson’s Peaks, is on full view on the first day of the Giant’s Cup Trail Run. Photo Deon Braun/TRAIL magazine

The Giant’s Cup Trail Run is only two years old, but the family atmosphere, polished organisation, and superb trails of this two-day, 65km race, you’d imagine it’s been a premiere event for a decade.

Rory Scheffer finished the first stage (32km) in an incredibly quick 3 hours and 2 minutes.

Rory Scheffer finished the first stage (32km) in an incredibly quick 3 hours and 2 minutes. Photo Heloise Hunter/TRAIL magazine

The skies were blue, the sunsets dramatic, and the winner predictable: 23-year-old Rory Scheffer kept his win, breaking his record of 6 hours 29 minutes by 32 minutes despite the extra kilometres added by the Swiman Hut Checkpoint on Day Two.

Beautiful conditions and quadruple the entries are just a small part of the Giant’s Cup Trail Run’s success. Last year only 22 entrants ran the full 63km Giant’s Cup hiking trail in only two days, exploding to 95 entrants this year. They were treated to runnable mountain trails, epic sunsets, bountiful buffets, the 24 hour Underberg SPAR Hot Zone, and three tented race villages with an electric vibe.

Again, a top female athlete came second. Last year it was KZN’s Tracy Zunckel. Capetonian Katya Soggot experienced her first proper Drakensberg run and fell in love with the flowing trails. She was super fast in 6 hours 43min, beating Tracy’s 2014 record by 34 minutes.

The race for third overall was tight, with only seven minutes separating Wojtek Orzechowski and Thabo Madlala. Thabo had a strong run in the first stage, but struggled on day two, making it onto the podium as the third man overall. Very impressive for his first trail race!

The women’s podium was rounded by Georgina Ayr in 7 hours 51 minutes and Julia Hackland, only seven minutes behind.

Odessa and John Engaged

Odessa and John got engaged in the first stage, and were extra snugly at the cold start of the second stage.

Odessa Perelson, second woman over the line on Day Two, would probably have been on the podium if John McKay hadn’t decided to propose to her 4km into the first stage. “I managed to catch the proposal on the GoPro! I thought John was going for a drink of water at the river, and pulled the GoPro out to record it. I was also getting a little frustrated because I didn’t want to stop running, but John insisted I stick with him until the first water point!”

Check out the lucky footage – youtube.com

All things considered, being committed to a guy as great as John is better than a podium. Odessa made sure to double back on each stage and keep John company in his last few kays to the finish.

Don’t let the quick times and broad smiles fool you: it was a long race at altitude, and took some casualties. Steve Black ran hard and fast to come in sixth in stage one, but collapsed on the finish line, dehydrated and exhausted. Niren Maharaj had to pull out in the middle of the first stage, suffering from altitude sickness. He managed to finish the second stage at the back of the field. Other athletes pushed a bit too hard on Day One, and opted not to start Day Two. A total of 76 athletes completed the course, in times of six to 16 hours, earning their medals.

Thabo Madlala of the Endangered Wildlife Trust managed to beat out more experienced trail runners to come third overall in the first stage of the Giant's Cup Trail Run.

Thabo Madlala of the Endangered Wildlife Trust managed to beat out more experienced trail runners to come third overall in the first stage of the Giant’s Cup Trail Run. Photo Deon Braun/TRAIL magazine

Beneficiaries

Sponsors

Results

View the full results at thegiantscup.co.za

Race No. Name Gender Day 1 Day 2 Overall Overall Pos Gender Pos
45 Rory Scheffer M 3:02:15 2:54:54 5:57:09 1 1
78 Katya Soggot F 3:25:20 3:18:30 6:43:50 2 1
28 Wojtek Orzechowski M 3:48:01 3:32:25 7:20:26 3 2
81 Thabo Mdlala M 3:47:25 3:39:36 7:27:01 4 3
30 Lance Wynne M 3:57:40 3:50:52 7:48:32 5 4
74 Georgina Ayre F 4:04:10 3:47:23 7:51:33 6 2
58 Duncan Gutsche M 4:17:19 3:39:50 7:57:09 7 5
72 Julia Hackland F 4:02:45 3:55:29 7:58:14 8 3
12 Michael Emslie M 4:17:18 3:45:37 8:02:55 9 6
21 Marise Fourie F 4:15:34 3:55:29 8:11:03 10

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