Christiaan Greyling (Jeep Team/Salomon/Garmin) recently completed the 150km Racing Madagascar Ultra Trail (11-16 July 2017). The annual event took place in the northern region of Madagascar in six stages over six days, starting at the Beomalona Waterfall and ending at the Diego Suarez Townhouse.
It hosted 29 runners – 21 Malagasy runners and eight foreign runners made up of three South Africans. Christiaan finished sixth overall and first in the Senior I category, racing at an average pace of 04:36min/km.
Chritiaan’s wife and champion trail runner, Landie Greyling, achieved first in the Women’s Overall, and is the second South African runner to have been awarded the famous Alohalo trophy (Malagasy totem) after Thabang Elias Madiba, who won it last year.
Christiaan encourages South African trail runners to get more involved in this epic event: “I would really recommend this event to our runners. It’s more than just a race, but it changes your perspective in life. To experience people from one of the poorest countries in the world participating in an event like this was eye-opening.
They enjoy everyday life to the maximum, although they have the minimum. Madagascar just has so much to offer; 70% of the animals in Madagascar can only be seen on this island.”
What to expect?
Six epic stages, and some pretty steep competition!
Christiaan holds the Madagascan runners and their blitz pace in great esteem and said, “This was the fastest racing I’ve done in a long time! The super-talented Madagascan athletes beat me properly in the overall category. These guys see trail running as a way of life, they train everyday doing a combination of track work, core workouts and regular stretching”
Stage 1 of the race covered 20km and 647m of elevation gain between Beomalona Waterfall and Anivorano village. Greyling finished the stage in 7thplace in a time of 01:37:35.
Stage 2, considered the hottest stage, covered 26km from Anivorano Village to Irodo River, and passed by arid crests with a temperature of 30 – 35°C. Greyling completed the stage in 01:47:13.
Stage 3 travelled 27.1km from Irodo River to Ankerika Village. This stage is the most spectacular, featuring the famous Tsingy Rouge stone formations. Greyling finished in 6th place with a time of 02:07:42.
Stage 4, the longest and toughest stage of the race, travelled 41.8km from Ankerika Village to Ampondrafeta Beach. Crossing several fishermen villages and a Baobab forest, Greyling finished in a time of 02:24:05, ending the day in fifth place overall.
Stage 5 of the race started at Ampondrafeta Beach and finished in Andovokonko Bay. Greyling finished the 28km beach-to-beach stage in 02:21:48, ending in 6th place overall.
Stage 6, the last and shortest stage, covered 10km from Andovokonko Bay to the finish line at Diego Suarez. With timing stopping at 7km, Greyling completed the journey in 00:28:13.