Words: Mark Sampson & Tatum Prins ǀ Photos: Mark Sampson from Thribe Media
With clear sunny skies, big looming mountains, and friendly faces, the
Keith clark getting caught by surprise cresting one of the small climbs.
Merrell Outeniqua Traverse, presented by Nikwax, was a great success. But the day was
not about winning or losing, it was about getting out and running in the spectacular mountains, meeting up with old friends, and making new acquaintances. Entrants from far and wide made the trip to be a part of this day, illustrating the appeal of the event.
Outeniqua Traverse Conquering the Merrell
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Held on Saturday, 3 August 2013, 222 runners arrived to test their mettle, and with only four withdraws, almost all the entrants achieved what they set out to do. They came, they conquered, and if you glanced at the finish, you could see happy but exhausted runners strewn all over the grass and hear cheerful banter as runners regaled their stories. This is exactly what you can expect when you enter the Merrell Outeniqua Traverse.
Izak van der Merwe, passing through the Fynbos section of the traverse.
The 38kilometre distance was won in a brilliant 4 hours 22 minutes by Charl Souma (VOB), and the first
lady in was Chantel Nienaber in 5 hours and 16 minutes. Jacques Mouton won the 25-kilometre race in 2 hours 21 minutes, and Lisl Grobler was the first lady home in a time of 2 hours 59 minutes. JC Visser smashed the 10 kilometre distance in 41 minutes 25 seconds, and Kaye Bester won the ladies section in 54 minutes 16 seconds. The event, starting and finishing from the George Botanical Gardens, offered three different routes to accommodate all levels of fitness. The 10 km discipline gave beginners a taste of what trail running is about on a fun and easy route, with around 200 m of ascent. The route saw the runners weave their way through and across various forest jeep tracks and single tracks at the base of the George Mountains.ď€´
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Compulsory kit checks for all 25 km and 38 km runners at Tierkop checkpoint.
Ross Lahana , I believe I can fly! Smiley, happy people!
Outeniqua Traverse Conquering the Merrell
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Antonio De Oliveira, 38 km runner – always time for a pose.
Runners listen intently to the detailed briefing as the sunrises just before the start of the 38 km event.
Rory Sandberg, local boy getting to experience the beauty of his backyard and loving it.
Merrell Adventure Addict, Hanno 'Smelly' Smit, doing his 'Wildman' impression as he powers home to a second place finish. Liz Brash, 25 km runner approaching the Tierkop checkpoint to the wonderful views.
Chantel ‘Hot Pants’ Nienaber striding out on the awesome single track.
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Runner enjoying the post race refreshment. Photo - Fleur van Eeden
The well marked route ensure all runners could focus on the running and the scenery and not have to worry about getting lost.
Sibylla Eickhoff, passing through one of the many indigenous forests. Sean Cowgill, enjoying the stunning scenery and being OUTSIDE on a glorious day.
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The 25 km discipline offered a great run along trails and paths that ran next to the railway line, at the base of the mountains, and ended up at the upper reaches of George Dam. From there, the route climbed up to the Tierkop hut, before joining the 38 km route for the final 12 km, and then snaked through the spectacular natural forests. It is a beautiful run, with great views over the town of George and 700 m of ascent. The 38 km discipline took runners along the forest tracks, at the base of the George Mountain, before it turned onto the hiking trails, which headed around the mountain. The trail then climbed 700 m, offering competitors an incredible view, descended to the backside of the mountain, and then climbed back over the side to descend back into the forests. The final few kilometres of the trail were through a stunning section of natural forest. Overall, it was a tough but very achievable day out with 2,000 m of ascent.
The Merrell Outeniqua Traverse is tough but doable and a MUST for
every trail runner's bucket list. See you next year! For more information, check out www.mountainrunner.co.za
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Team Merrell well represented at the event with Race Organiser, Tatum Prins .
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The Ultimate Riding Machine
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