Kane Reilly made it three in a row at the Old Mutual Two Oceans 24km Trail Race run in perfect conditions on the slopes of Devils Peak and Table Mountain earlier today.
Reilly overcame a strong challenge from twice Ultra-Trail Cape Town winner, Prodigal Khumalo in the early stages of the race to cross the finish line in 1 hr 55 min 51 sec – just 10 seconds outside his own record for the current course, set last year.
Madagascan athlete, Jacquis Rakiky Antilahifeno, wore the biggest smile of the day as he crossed the finish in second place, having overtaken Khumalo In the final 2 km, improving substantially his 9th position last year.
Stellenbosch University sports science student, Cana Peek, overcame illness and a strong challenge from Cape Town athlete Daneil Feldmann to take honours in the women’s competition - her second trail victory in two weeks following her team victory in the Hout Bay Trail Challenge.
Khumalo’s presence in the field saw Reilly storm away on the first climb in Newlands Forest, opening an early lead on his rival.
“I knew Prodigal would come back at me later in the race along the more runnable sections, so I decided to push the pace early on,” said Reilly. “I could see that he closed the gap on the jeep track towards the city, but he did not quite catch me, and I knew I’d get ahead on the big climb to Tafelberg Road.”
One of the best climbers in the business, Reilly effectively closed out the race on the zig-zag to the cannons below Tafelberg Road and then again up to the Devil’s Peak Saddle at 17km, before racing clear along the Middle Traverse contour, down a rocky scramble to the King’s Blockhouse and back through the old zoo to the UCT Green Mile to take line honours.
Feldmann held the early lead in the women’s race, using her climbing advantage to good effect to hold Peek’s challenge at bay.
But the former Dusi Canoe marathon champion, Peek, hit back on the downhills and flatter sections, with the lead changing hands several times during the race.
Feldmann opened a lead on the climb to Tafelberg Road, but from the Middle Traverse Peek came into her own, using her technical skills to good effect to race home to a 1 min 24 sec minute victory, stopping the clocks at 2:38:44, 16 minutes off Annamart Laubscher’s 2017 record.
“I’ve battled with illness since Hout Bay and really should not have been running today,” Peek admitted. “But I felt a bit better yesterday and thought it would be okay if I took it easy. The only problem was that I found myself in contention and had to fight hard to keep ahead! Daneil would pass me on the climbs and I would catch her again on the descents.”
Kennedy Sekhuthe retained his title, winning in 45:42 – 7 seconds faster than last year – with Georgia Grobler impressing to win the women’s event in a competitive 54:50.