All records smashed at Otter African Trail Run

RickyL Bloukrans-lr

Briton Ricky Lightfoot negotiates Bloukrans on his way to smashing the Otter African Trail Run record.

Ricky Lightfoot and Ruby Muir have emerged the victors in the men’s and women’s races at the Otter African trail Run, after a battle of epic proportions played out on South Africa’s beloved Otter Hiking Trail.

From arguably the strongest fields of trail runners yet to square up on African soil, world champion and Salomon team athlete, Ricky Lightfoot became the first international runner to claim victory in this race, breaking the 04:40:15 record set by South Africa’s Ryan Sandes in a time of 04:15:27. Ricky dominated the race from the beginning, leaving big name locals Iain Don-Wauchope, Kane Reilly, AJ Calitz, Michael Bailey, Lucky Miya and Stuart Marais to fight it out for the remaining podium positions. The 2012 Retto (reverse Otter) winner, Iain Don-Wauchope, used the penultimate climb to move past Kane Reilly, Lucky Miya, SA Champ Thabang Madiba and AJ Calitz taking him from sixth position at Andre Hut to claim second overall in a time of 04:24:33. AJ Calitz finished third in a time of 04:27:03. All three podium positions finished well under the previous course record.

The women’s race was a more closely contested concern than the results suggested, although New Zealand trail champion, Ruby Muir, lead the race from early on and finished in a time of 4:55:34. South African favourite Landie Greyling opted for a more conservative start on the technical rocks but was never far off the pace, maintaining the gap throughout but failing to close down the break in the final minutes. Landie finished second in a time of 04:58:57. Both ladies broke Jeannie Dreyer’s previous record of 5:17:12. Nicolette Griffioen was delighted to finish third in a time of 05:24:57.

The Otter African Trail Run, organised by Magnetic South and presented by Salomon and GU, now in its fifth year, has established itself as the benchmark event for marathon distance trail running in South Africa and is on the bucket list of most South African endurance athletes. The fact that the five-day hiking trail is off limits to trail runners for 363 days a year gives the event the allure of forbidden fruit and creates a level playing field on which trail runners can measure themselves. With almost 3,000m of vertical ascent and the famous Bloukrans River mouth crossing, the Grail of Trail is a relentlessly technical race worthy of its reputation.

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