As so it was as civil twilight faded to darkness, we released the brave onto the tracks and trails of the magnificent Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in race 3 of the Gauteng Summer Trail Series®.  The weather for running could not have been more sublime, with clear skies and a chilly breeze keeping the body temperature down on the big climbs!

For both the 11 and 5 km routes it was the same first 2.2km, up up and up...180m of it to be precise.  Past the waterfall and onto the ridgeline above. From the split it was more rocky trails for the 11km runners and a steep descent back onto the garden trails for the 5km.  At the finish line the hills looked for all like fairy lights on a Christmas tree as the snake of runners made their way around their respective routes. There was a special treat near the end with a duck through the bird hide and surrounding forests, adding that eerie feeling to an otherwise open sky run!

Two familiar faces appeared out of the darkness to break the tape in their respective courses, Bernard van der Kuil winning the 11km in 58:57 and Tiaan Dorfling (14 yrs) winning the 5km in 26:10.  Bernard was chased hard by Craig Makapela who came in just over a minute behind. Matthew Bodenstein also gave Tiaan a hard push in the 5km, finishing less than a minute back. Piers Pirow and Stuart Phipson (14 yrs)  rounded out the podium in the 11 and 5 km respectively.

Marelize Retief took her seemingly million candle light lighthouse headlamp for a run and as usual gave majority of the 11km field a lesson in uphill running, closing out at the turn in 4th place overall.  Marelize finished in 7th overall in 1:04:04. Michel Botha ran in second in 1:13:39 and Michaela Sra’Krova took third just under a minute back.

14 year old Thina Makapela took charge of the ladies race in the 5km, finishing 13th overall in 36:32.  Leanri Williamson took second in 38:56 and 12 year old Lana Classens in 3rd in 40:08.

25 kids under the age of 14 years took to the dark trails, relishing in this adventure!  Special shout out to our youngest runner, 7 year old Emma Greubel, finishing 79th out of 102 runners and only 35 seconds behind the second youngest runner, 8 year old Riche Jonas.  

Up front however it was the usual all guns blazing with the top four in the ‘Peewee’ category (<10 year of age) all finishing within a minute of each other.  Scott Williamson (10 yrs) took line honours in 32:38, with Reece Hodgkinson and Hayden Currie in hot pursuit.

In the 11-14 year ‘Minimee’ category 11 year old Lean Scholtz rounded out his category podium in 30:13 (and a 4th place over the line!), preceded only by his fellow speedsters Tiaan Dorfling and Stuart Phipson.

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Check out the full results here

With three races in the bag, it’s crunch time in the GSTS18 Championship and Challenge!  Check out the Series results here

B’sorah magic
Concluding the GSTS18 is the final run out at a crowd favorite - the magnificent forests and bushveld trails of B’sorah!  It’s on like donkey kong this Sunday, 11th Nov. Don’t miss out and either pre enter on Trail Series® or on the day.  Registration opens at 5am with race start at 7am.  

A huge thank you to Walter Sisulu Gardens and of course all our power sponsors, Jaybird, Raidlight, Pepsi Max and Petzl!

The Trail Series® is proudly brought to you by Wildrunner.