CAPE TOWN – Kilian Jornet has heaped praise on the Otter Trail and vowed to return to complete the race after the Spanish superstar trail athlete and mountain runner was forced to withdraw through injury in the early stages of the Grand Finale of the Golden Trail Series.
The Otter African Trail “Retto” Run proved a more-than-worthy grand finale over the weekend to an imaginative Golden Trail Series, which has revolutionised global trail running.
And speculation is rife on the potential involvement of the iconic Southern Cape coastal race – or trail running in South Africa – in future series.
The combination of the stunning scenic beauty of the Tsitsikamma Coast, the excellent single track trail route, the organisational excellence of the Collins brothers and the Magnetic South team, and the relatively favourable travel implications for Europe – the world centre of trail running – make the Otter an event that surely cannot be neglected in future global series promoting the sport.
“It was a pity I couldn’t run more of the trail because I liked the sections I was able to run,” said Jornet as the athletes flew back home this week.
“And it looked amazing from the parts I ran and hiked, and from what the other runners told me.
“The wilderness here is great with the animals and the jungle, and the coast along the sea. There is such diversity. You can run technical trails and go climbing within a few kilometres of each other.
“I don’t know when it will be, but for sure I want to come back and finish the race.
“The community of trail running here is fantastic, and it was fun to be a part of the Golden Trail Series final, even if I wasn’t able to run. We had a great week.”
Other top international athletes, including Marc Lauenstein, Stian Angermund, Oriol Cardona, new star Bartolmiej Przedwojewski, Megan Kimmel, Holly Page, Ruth Croft and Silvia Rampazzo, all gave the event a big thumbs-up.
And almost all the elite squad of 20 who took part in the Otter would like to return to race in future.
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Golden Trail Series final at @otterafricantrailrun give an exciting race on marvelous beach and forest of South Africa! I wasn’t been to run long with the injuries I carry after Glen Coe but it was nice to cheer on my friends and enjoy those views! Such an exciting season that ends, it has been really cool and fun to race with so many strong runners along Mont Blanc marathon, Sierre Zinal and Ring of Steel! Now I just can’t wait for next year #goldentrailseries @salomonrunning 📸 @jsaragossa
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Przedowjewski and Page raced to record-breaking victories. Several top athletes, including Jornet and Kimmel, were unable to complete the race due to injuries and have unfinished business with the Otter.
Others such as Przedowjewski and Page would love to return to attempt to win in the reverse “classic” direction.
“The athletes were all pretty positive about the Otter experience in an informal feedback session last night,” said Salomon senior manager: global communications and PR, Tim Sweeney.
“It proved a great success as a finale and South Africa can be proud of this world-class event.”