American and Brit win Ultra-trail Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – American Cody Reed and British athlete Beth Pascall enjoyed table top performances in Cape Town over the weekend, winning the 2019 edition of the Ultra-trail Cape Town 100 km over Table Mountain and beyond in warm and windy conditions.
British paediatrician Pascall delivered the performance of the day in the absence of two injured star-rated athletes, former winner Lucy Bartholomew of Australia and American world-beater Courtney Dauwalter, both relegated to spectator roles with similar hip injuries.
But Pascall provided her own fireworks, racing superbly over the variety of terrains on offer in the UTCT, to become the first female athlete to better the 11 hour mark, smashing Bartholomew’s 2017 mark by all of 27 minutes in clocking 10 hr 55 min 25 sec.
“It was one of those days when everything seemed to go right,” Pascall admitted. “My shift work as a doctor means that I train less than many of the athletes I’m racing against, although I have managed to train more consistently since Ultra Trail Mont Blanc three months ago ( where Pascall placed 4th) and I think that paid dividends.
“(Polish athlete) Dominika Stelmach overtook me going up Platteklip at 25 km, and then I overlook her again on the descent to Constantia Nek. I was expecting her to take the lead again on the next climb but I never saw her again.
“I felt strong from there and fortunately there were no major wobbles along the way. So yes, a good run for me!”
Reed, one of the self-styled Coconino Cowboys of trail runners based in Flagstaff, Arizona and bringing their track speed to trail competition, was over the moon at achieving his first major win on the Ultra-trail tour.
“Wow! I can hardly believe it- it means so much to me. I’ve been here for about ten days and Cape Town has just grown on me. So even before the race I felt it would be special.
But unlike Pascall, Reed had to grit through pain to achieve his win. “My adductor muscles were giving me a hard time,” admitted Reed. “But I just felt I could not quit today. Fortunately I was able to keep things under control and finished quite strongly.”
Cody took the lead for the first time after 86 km, overhauling early leader Nicolas Martin of Spain, before racing to victory in 10:04:58, 23 minutes outside South African Prodigal Khumalo’s 2017 mark.
Cody upset strong race favourite French athlete, Francois D’Haene, who struggled to hold his race together, and never really felt his usual racing self, nonetheless holding on to clinch second just 6:24 behind Reed.
“It was a hard race for me,” D’Haene admitted. “I never really found my rhythm. Perhaps some of my longer runs have caught up with me! I’m also not quite sure of my pace over 100 km, being more used to racing 100 miles so perhaps I started a bit fast. But I’m now looking forward to sampling some of your best wines!”
Spare a thought for diminutive French athlete, Martin, who looked every inch a winner as deep into the race as the Alphen trail at 70 km, where he was 15 minutes clear of D’Haene and Cody. But his calves turned against him, reducing him to a walk on the downhill to the UCT campus at 86 km, where Cody swooped into the lead.
Otter Trail winner Johardt van Heerden was first South African home in a sold sixth in his first trail ultra. “I ran the first 50 km with Francois - I think the best experience of my life! Then suddenly my legs had nothing left and it was a struggle from there.”
Turkish athlete Mehmet Soyturk beat Christiaan Greyling into second place to take line honours in the 65 km race, with Austrian Anja Neumann edging out South African Sam Bieske in the women’s race.
Ultra-trail Cape Town 100 km
Men: 1 Cody Reed ( USA) 10:04:58; 2 Francois D’Haene (Fr) 10:11:22; 3 Nicolas Martin (Fr) 10:14:10; 4 Ugo Ferrari (Fr) 10:26:21; 5 Jean-Adrian Michel 10:34:45; 6 Johardt van Heerden (RSA) 10:44:51; 7 Daniel Claassen ( RSA) 10:48:57; 8 Luca Negri (It) 10:53:15; 9 Greg Vollet ( Fr) 11:10:06; 10 Ian Metcalfe (RSA) 11:45:45
Women: 1 Beth Pascall (GB) 10:55:25; 2 Emily Hawgood ( Zimb) 12:03:51; 3 Dominika Stelmach (Pol) 12:15:36; 4 Nicolette Griffioen (RSA) 12:24:03; 5 Amanda Basham (USA) 12:36:37; 6 Meryl Cooper (GB) 12:40:38; 7 Anouk Baars (RSA) 13:28:50; 8 Kate Birkett (RSA) 13:36:49; 9 Amri Williamson (RSA) 14:02:17; 10 Linda Beniacova (Svk) 14:53:39
Ultra-trail Cape Town 65 km
Men: 1 Mehmet Soyturk (Tur) 6:38:40; 2 Christiaan Greyling (RSA) 7:25:52; 3 Clement Desille (Fr) 7:37:53
Women: 1 Anja Neumann (AT) 8:40:20; 2 Sam Bieske (RSA) 8:46:13; 3 Chantel Ninaber ( RSA) 8:53:39
Ultra-trail Cape Town 35 km
Men: 1 Andreas Reiterer (It) 3:38:21; 2 Mvuyisis Gcogco (RSA) 4:05:29; 3 Etienne Schoeman (RSA) 4:17:07
Women: 1 Kirsty Zeppel (RSA) 4:55:41; 2 Inge Vissser (RSA) 5:06:38; 3 Anna Olivier (RSA) 5:07:50