Salomon SkyRun 2014 – Race Day Images

©iancorless.com_SkyRun14-4502#ETRkathmandu

 

The Witteberg is a South African mountain range just off the south-west corner of Lesotho. The range, which rises to 2408 metres, stretches for about 60km from Lundin’s Nek in the east to Lady Grey in the west. The range lends its name to the Witteberg Series, the uppermost fossiliferous sequence of the Cape System of sedimentary rocks in South Africa. The race starts in the town of Lady Grey which is famous for its annual Nativity Play and its quaint houses and incredible scenery. Discover the wonder of Balloch cave along the route with it bushman art and idyllic setting nestled between some of the highest peaks in the Witteberg.

The Witteberg range is one of the most picturesque places in South Africa with some distinctive peaks like Avoca and Halston Peaks dominating the skyline.

The Salomon SkyRun and SkyRun Lite are unique in that they are truly self-supported and self-navigational races, where athletes tackle the remote terrain of the Witteberg Mountain range with a Map a Compass or GPS unit and a back pack containing all there food, water and compulsory equipment that will enable them to survive in this harsh environment, while operating at an average height of between 2200-2500 meters above sea level.

The trail starts in Lady Grey and the first 65km of the route is the same for both races, after the compulsory stop and medical check at Balloch are the Skyrunners allowed to continue while the Lite runners have completed their journey. The route climbs sharply out of Lady Grey to the first check point at the Tower; this is about a 12km run and is a combination of hiking trails and mountain running. As you climb the trail to the tower the majestic landscape unfolds in front of you and it now feels as if you are on top of Africa. Following the fence line you make your way along the ridge line to the second check point which is at Olympus, this is another 10km and the terrain is now devoid of paths and trails and athletes must decide which is the best route to the check point. After Olympus the athletes can pick up a small trail that will lead them to Snowden which is check point 3 another 11km or so, there is a natural spring just past Snowden where you can fill up your water bladders (does depend on how much rain has fallen so not always guaranteed a lot of water) before making your way to Avoca Peak the highest point (2756m) on the race. The climb up Avoca peak is challenging as the gradient is steep and the terrain is rough especially after good summer rain. From Avoca the route takes you over the “Dragonback” a ridge line that is about 3 meters wide with steep descends on either side, a fantastic formation of rock that is a feature of the race and a spectacular viewing point on a clear day. The route flattens out for a while as you move towards CP6 at Skidor which is again a leg of about 10km. At Skidor you descend into the valley down a technical descend before picking up the river that will lead you to the compulsory stop at Balloch Cave having now covered about 65km of the race.

Once Athletes have done their medical and been give the all clear by the doctor, it upwards and onwards as they take on the challenge of Balloch Wall a climb with a vertical ascent of over 500m in just 3km and back down the other side on the way to CP 8 at Edgehill Farm. Most athletes will now be operating in the dark as night fall will have replaced the harsh African sun. Navigating through the Bridal Pass from EdgeHill to the turn is tricky with a lot of athletes losing a lot of time trying to find the correct entrance into the pass that will lead them onto the ridgeline again. The Bridal pass has now been included as a waypoint on the route to assist athletes in negotiating the pass. A steady climb up the Pass will take you onto the ridgeline and to the check point at the Turn. From here you will double back toward the Wartrail Country Club via Halston Peak which is the last check point on the route. The climb down from Halston’s is technical and is made more difficult by the fact that you are very fatigued at this stage but buoyed by the fact that you are now heading to the finish at Wartrail Country Club.

RESULTS *to be updated

  1. Iain Don Wauchope 12:08:15 – new course record
  2. Gary Robbins 13:46
  3. Jock Green 14:12

 

  1. Landie Greyling 16:14
  2. Julia Boettger 19:53
  3. Sue Chapman 23:33

Ladies results to follow.

More images to follow.

Salomon Skyrun in South Africa faces extreme conditions

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Lady Grey, the start of the 2013 Salomon Skyrun powered by Red Bull, was ravaged by some of the worst weather seen in the 16 year history of this extreme race. Testing from the begining with monsoon conditions greeting the runners at the 4am start on Saturday morning, fierce winds gusting up to 80km/hour were the order of the day as rain and low cloud cover made visibility very poor. The runners were battered by these conditions throughout the day, as the temperatures plummeted and the terrain became very tricky for both athletes and marshals. The very real risk of sever hypothermia and exposure to the brutal elements, left event organisers with no other option but to shorten the race. Always a difficult decision however the safety of runners was top priority. The Salomon Skyrun is an extreme mountain challenge at the best of times but when conditions are as hard as during this year’s race, the need to carry all compulsory equipment as well as a solid event organisation are critical to ensure that all athletes come off the mountain safely. “This year’s race will be spoken about for many years to come by all who were at the Salomon Skyrun 2013 and can only add to the reputation that makes this race one of the toughest ultra-mountain runs in South Africa, if not the world” said Race Director Adrian Saffy.

The Skyrun Lite remained unaffected by the decision and all athletes that reached Balloch completed the race in its entirety. The Skyrun Lite was won by Chris Cronje, with Murray Sanders in 2nd place and Justin Short in 3rd. The Ladies Lite was won by Laura O’ Donoghue, with Taryn Mc Donald in 2nd and Janneke Laesk in 3rd.

Iain Don-Wauchope took 1st position in the shortened Men’s full route, with Hylton Dunn in 2nd and Steven Erasmus in 3rd. The runners will however have to wait another year in order to take a crack at 2012 winner Ryan Sandes’ lightening quick record of 12hrs36min. Salomon sponsored Sandes did not compete in this year’s event as he will be racing in The San Francisco 50 Miler at the beginning of December. In the ladies race, 1st place in the full route went to Annemien Ganzevoort, with 2nd going to Su Don- Wauchope and 3rd to Tatum Prins.

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There is no doubt that athletes will look back on this year’s running of the legend that has become the Salomon Skyrun with a mixture of frustration, relief and respect as so well put by AJ Calitz “ I was humbled by the route, weather and our Maker….felt pretty small out there in the mountains. The fact that everyone is safe is testimony to Pure Adventures incredible team. Well done Mike and Adrian, your team and the mountain rescue crews. 2013 is a year I will never forget…all the athletes are truly bound together by this EPIC experience. See you in 2014.”

For full results and pictures please visit www.skyrun.co.za

Images ©kelvintrautman

Results:

Men’s 100km

  1. Iain Don-Wauchope
  2. Hylton Dunn
  3. Steven Erasmus

 

Ladies 100km

  1. Annemien Ganzevoort
  2. Su Don- Wauchope
  3. Tatum Prins

 

Lite Men’s:

  1. Chris Cronje
  2. Murray Sanders
  3. Justin Short

 

Ladies Lite:

  1. Laura O’ Donoghue
  2. Taryn Mc Donald
  3. Janneke Laesk