New, fresh and a slam dunk hit with the Cape trail community, the brand new Trail Series Super League kicked off on Tuesday 14 January with a Kirstenbosch classic, that delivered on all levels.

A balmy, humid evening welcomed nearly 900 runners across the three new courses. A choice between 5.2.km, 9.5km and 14.2km offered everyone an option. The staggered start between the three races and various batches spread the field over pristine Kirstenbosch Gardens trails.

The event offered an exclusive sunset run through the gardens, with a spectacular summer display of flora for any runner not smashing it out at the sharp end to appreciate.

The 14.2km XL was a new addition, attracting a premium crew of medium distance trail specialists. A lead pack made up of Michael Davidson, Jono Black, Robert Schaff, Drew Romans, Gimo Mattusa, Will Battersby and Damian Will lead the charge, with Leanda Du Bruyn in hot pursuit. The sharp shooters were soon dropped by Davidson and Black who became locked in a game of cat and mouse until Davidson claimed a 15 second victory over Black. Leanda Du Buyn claimed 10th position overall, and first woman across the line.

In the 9.5km long course, returning Trail Series champ, Siviwe Nkombi took an early lead. Although Nkombi has raced successfully in longer distance events over the past 12 months, he remains a formidable force over the shorter distances. He was, however, the only man to finish ahead of Bianca Tarboton, who scooped the women’s win and came in second overall.

The 5.2km short course offered the juniors an opportunity to dominate. First over the line was Anele Bams, with juniors Deon Bochnig and Keenan Loesch in hot pursuit.

As the sun set and headlamps flickered across the trails of Kirstenbosch, friends and families settled in to await a highly anticipated prize giving where podium runners and all other participants were in line for a plethora of fantastic prizes. Not only did the evening set the tone for the remainder of the Trail Series Super League, but it rang the 2020 trail racing bell rather emphatically. The community is ready and rearing to go, and the beautiful Cape trails are ready to play host.

With thanks to Bold Gear, Jaybird, Petzl, Northridge, Pepsi and Steenberg for adding to the overall experience.

Full results at www.trailseries.co.za and if you’ve missed the album, a spectacular array of images by Mark Sampson is available on the Trail Series Facebook page.

Next race, Lebanon Forest in Elgin on 2 February.