Cape Town trail athlete, Megan Mackenzie got her 2019 season off to a roaring start with two record-breaking performances in three days on the Spanish-owned island of La Palma, part of the Canary Island group.
Mackenzie began 2019 where she left off last year, when she placed 8th in the inaugural Golden Trail Series, which brought together the world’s best exponents of the trail running art in an imaginative series linking five iconic trail events, by setting the north Atlantic island ablaze with her powerful mountain running.
Mackenzie became the first female athlete in the nine-year history of the Revento Trail Fred Olsen Express to better the three-hour barrier for the 31,9km “Classic” edition, stopping the clocks at the finish in the City of El Paso in just 2 hrs 46 min 49 sec, less than 20 minutes after Spanish athlete, Diego Martin had set a new mark in the men’s race.
The popular race has become part of the annual La Palma Food and Music Festival, which turns the island into a weekend of partying and celebration, Spanish-style.
Running the race of her life, Mackenzie sped to victory over British athlete Katie Klaars and top Brazilian ultra-distance athlete, Fernanda Maciel, who was the first woman to run the 860km Camino walk in Spain, completing the distance in just 10 days.
“It was an amazing race,” Mackenzie said yesterday of her as she boarded a flight to Madrid. “I felt super-strong the whole way and I’m very proud of my time. It was an incredible weekend and the race itself was supported by thousands of cheering people. The prize-giving was fantastic – I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I felt special!”
Remarkably, Mackenzie shattered another record on the island, winning the night Vertical Kilometre event last Thursday, racing up the steep 3.2km fearsome Revento Wall, dubbed the “Barbuzano Spring Water rise to the Stars”, in just 27 min 35 sec, eclipsing the previous record by over four minutes.
Could this be a foretaste of the first race in the 2019 version of the Golden Trail World Series – the famous and feared Zegama 42km in the Basque country in the Spanish mountains? “Perhaps it could,” admitted Mackenzie. “This felt very Zegama-ish. Let’s hold thumbs.”
Revento Trail Fred Olsen Express 31,9km Classic, La Palma Island
Men: 1 Diego Martin (Spain) 2:27:23 (record); 2 Javier Sosa (Gran Caneria) 2:27:36; 3 Glendor Rodriguez (Tenerife) 2:28:06
Women: 1 Megan Mackenzie (RSA) 2:46:49; 2 Katie Klaars (UK) 3:06:11; 3 Fernanda Maciel (Brazil) 3:10:01