Two of South Africa’s leading trail athletes are set to do battle with some of the best on the planet in Saturday’s Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100 km race in what marks the start of a new chapter in their athletics’ careers.
Johardt van Heerden and Kane Reilly have dominated marathon and sub-marathon trail racing in South African in 2019, but neither has raced further than 53km – the distance of the Whale of Trail, run in the De Hoop Nature Reserve each year in August.
Both athletes have been unable to resist the temptation to tackle the country’s highest profile international trail race and will lock horns with the best ultra-trail athletes on the planet in Saturday’s testing challenge over and around Table Mountain.
“Yes, it will be almost twice the distance I’ve run before,” admitted Van Heerden. “And I don’t really know what to expect. But that’s the fun of the adventure of trail running - it’s a chance to try out something different against some legends of the sport.
”Obviously I will not be able to go out at my usual speed over the longer distance, but I don’t think it would work going out too slowly and out of my normal comfortable pace. I don’t know much about tactics racing ultra-distances so will have to wait and see what happens on the day. It’s great that Kane will also be making his ultra-debut – we will be in this new game together.