Meg Mackenzie claims first Golden Trail podium in US
Cape Town trail athlete Meg Mackenzie clinched her first Golden Trail World Series podium position, racing to a superb third position at the Pikes Peak 42km Marathon in the USA on Sunday.
The crunching marathon saw the field run straight up Pikes Peak, where the summit was at a lung-searing 4 302m before the headlong descent back to the start.
Spanish star Kilian Jornet won his third title in the 2019 series in as many attempts in 3 hrs 27 min 29 sec (3:27.29) – the fastest time in 24 years.
But his challenge on Matt Carpenter’s “impossible” 26-year-old race record of 3:16.39 foundered in the warm conditions.
Swiss athlete Maude Matthys was in devastating form, dealing harshly with American Meg Kimmel’s year-old race record of 4:15.04, which toppled the previous mark set in 1981, crossing the line in a remarkable 4:02.45.
Mackenzie became the first South African to achieve a top three position in the Golden Trail World Series, although Toni McCann bagged a third in last year’s season finale at the Otter Trail.
Mackenzie now places an all-time high of fifth on the series table, and looks a strong bet to clinch a place at this year’s grand finale in Annapurna in the Himalayas.
Mackenzie ran cautiously from the start, but had moved up into fifth position by the 12km mark, and fourth by the halfway mark at the summit, behind Matthys, Norwegian’s Yngvild Kasperson and French athlete Amandine Ferrato.
Running strongly on the descent, Mackenzie overtook Ferrato, but was unable to close the gap on Kasperson, holding on for an excellent third position to consolidate her place as one of the world’s leading mountain trail athletes.@StephenGranger3