Runners compete in the Oystercatcher three-day trail run that took place from September 23 to 25 in the Gouritzmond area. Photos: Supplied
SOUTHERN CAPE NEWS - Sabie-based athlete Carine Gagiano may not have won a stage, but the Nedbank Athletic Club runner produced three days of consistent running to become the first woman ever to take the overall honours in the 2016 Oystercatcher Trail Run.
Her winning margin was just 32 seconds. In second place was Arnold Smit, with an unlucky Nelius Swart settling for third, after inadvertently taking a wrong turn on Sunday’s final stage.
The race saw three days of almost perfect weather conditions, with cool temperatures and partly cloudy skies greeting the athletes as they departed the base at Fred Orban’s Sandpiper Sports Centre each morning.
Day one was from the Gourikwa Nature Reserve to the Gouritzmond jetty. For the 25km stretch, athletes ran inland via the Ystervarkpunt lighthouse, before running alongside the coast and enjoying the magnificent trails of what is rated as one of South Africa’s top five hikes. The water point at the Eco Marine Lodge was a highlight thanks to the now-traditional freshly baked "roosterkoek". Swart took the stage win on day one.
On day two, runners faced a 20km stretch from a Gouritz River farm to the Sandpiper Sports Centre in Boggomsbaai. This was the most technical of the three days, mixing up sand with a long stretch over small, ankle-rolling boulders that have caught out a few athletes in the past. The water point at the Fransmanshoek was once again a highlight, with magnificent views over the sea.
It was Swart who stormed to the win, in 1:48:23, with Collin Albertyn second in 1:52:44. Gagiano took her second successive podium with third, and Smit came in fourth.
The final day started at Dana Bay second beach and made its way via Pinnacle Point to Mossel Bay along the dramatic St Blaize hiking route, where the earliest evidence of modern man was found. With her consistent performance each day, Gagiano was first overall with Smit second and Swart third.
A huge thank you to Fred Orban and the Sandpiper Sports Centre, Halfway Toyota George, First Ascent, Gourikwa Nature Reserve, Eco Marine Lodge, Jakkalsvlei Wine Estate, Boss Tea and Glenhoff Craft Beer for their support.
* Entries for 2017 will open on October 15 and is limited to 150 runners. See more results and photos on www.trisport.co.za.
ARTICLE: JEFF AYLIFFE
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