Magnificent MacKenzie secures podium finish in Nepal
CAPE TOWN – Cape Town trail athlete, Megan Mackenzie ran the race of her life to finish on the podium at the Grand Finale of the 2019 Golden Trail World Series in the Himalayas yesterday, catapulting into fifth position in the final series standings.
The series has attracted the world’s best marathon-distance trail athletes to compete in six iconic trail races over five months and for Mackenzie to have cemented her place in the top echelon of global trail athletes is massive for her career and for South African trail running.
The 33-year old Mackenzie’s form has improved steadily throughout the European season, with strong top five positions in the final two races of the series – Pike’s Peak Marathon in the USA and Ring of Steall in Scotland – before an excellent third place behind Swiss super-star, Judith Wyder and Italian mountain-goat Silvia Rampazzo, at the Annapurna Trail Marathon - the series’ Grand Finale.
“It was a monster of a route, with over 3500m of climbing and descending, altitude and difficult route finding,” reflected Mackenzie yesterday, before sympathising with some of her fellow-competitors.
“While I’m incredibly happy with 3rd place today, I wish that some of the other amazing ladies had had an easier day. Sometimes it comes down to luck on the day and with the chaos of racing, I got lucky today.”
But in the context of one of the toughest trail races in the business at high altitude and with testing underfoot terrain and route identification, Mackenzie’s mountaineering experience and skills came to the fore and she succeeded where many of field – men and women – failed.
Kilian Jornet wins races under the most favourable or the most extreme conditions and the Spanish trail icon, who has summited Everest twice and won virtually every trail race of significance on the planet, chalked up another, opening 13 minutes on star-of-the-future, Italian Davide Magnini, after the two had climbed together to the half-way point, just below 4000m.
Jornet won in 4 hrs 46 min 05 sec, with Norwegian Stian Angermund-Vik completing the podium behind Magnini, finishing third in 5:08:18.
Wyder was in a class of her own, with the 31-year old orienteering champion racing clear from the start to win by 21 minutes over the 39 year old Rampazzo in 5:42:03. Mackenzie crossed the line in triumph in 6:33:28.
The final 2019 GTWS standings look like this after the Grand Final at the Annapurna Trail Marathon:
1. Kilian Jornet (Team Salomon)
2. Davide Magnini (Team Salomon)
3. Stian Angermund-Vik (Team Salomon)
4. Thibaut Baronian (Team Salomon)
5. Nadir Maguet (Team La Sportiva)
6. Aritz Egea (Team Salomon)
7. Sage Canaday (Team Hoka)
8. Marc Lauenstein (Team Salomon)
9. Bartlomiej Predwojewski (Team Salomon-Suunto)
10.Rémi Bonnet (Team Salomon)
1. Judith Wyder (Team Salomon)
2. Silvia Rampazzo (Team Scarpa/Tornado)
3. Ruth Croft (Team Scott)
4. Eli Anne Dvergsdal (Team Salomon)
5. Meg Mackenzie (Team Salomon)
6. Maude Mathys (Team Salomon)
7. Yngvild Kaspersen (Team Adidas Terrex)
8. Elisa Desco (Team Scarpa/Compressport)
9. Amandine Ferrato (Team Hoka)
10.Holly Page (Team Adidas Terrex)@StephenGranger3