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It’s welcome back to Two Oceans Trail Runs as Collin Kanyimo and Lijan Van Niekerk take the honours
It’s welcome back to Two Oceans Trail Runs as Collin Kanyimo and Lijan Van Niekerk take the honours

3 August 2022

 by STEPHEN GRANGER 

PICTURES: ACTION PHOTO

Pretoria-based distance runner Collin Kanyimo, 37, raced to victory at the re-vamped Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Race, run over a challenging 24km course in ideal conditions this morning (30 July), with Stellenbosch athlete, Lijan van Niekerk, taking line honours in the women’s race.

Cape Town athletes Siviwe Nkombi and Mariske Uys reigned supreme in the shorter-distance race, much of the 13km taking place on popular hiking trails in Newlands Forest.

Siviwe Nkombi triumphed in the Men’s 13km TOM Table Mountain Trail Run

 

It was a case of ‘happy returns’ for the Two Oceans trail races, which had become a regular fixture on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain over the Cape Town’s Two Oceans Marathon weekend for the past 15 years, but a combination of COVID and complexities around logistics around this year’s Two Oceans Marathon at Easter led to a three year hiatus following Kane Reilly and Cana Peek’s successes in the Two Oceans 24km trail race over Easter in 2019.

A feature of the event was the announcement that the top four Two Oceans Trail permanent numbers will be awarded to Landie Greyling (number 1 – for three wins), Kane Reilly (number 2 – for three wins), Dom Wills (number 3 – for completing ten trail races and pictured above in yesterday’s race) and Dave Bywater (number 4 – for completing ten trail races) at a special event in the near future.

A recent bout of COVID prevented Reilly from defending his title this year but the three-times champion, who is virtually unbeatable over the distance on Table Mountain trails and who leaves in two weeks to race in Europe, was on hand to congratulate Kanyimo as he crossed the line in 1 hr 58 min 40 sec – just three minutes off Reilly’s winning time on a different and slightly longer course, but similar in respect of total ascent and degree of difficulty.

“I loved the race and conditions were perfect,” said Kanyimo, winner of last month’s prestigious Fedhealth Platinum 24km Trail Race in Gauteng. “I ran with some of the other guys in the beginning, but felt I needed to push on after a few kilometres and I managed to open a lead.

In the men’s 24 km Table Mountain National Park Trail Run, it was Collin Kanyimo who dominated from start to finish

 

“I come from a road-running background but got into trail to avoid the many leg injuries you get on the road. So now I love trails more than the road. But I need to take your mountain back home so I can train on the hills – in Pretoria and Johannesburg we have nothing!”

The ‘social running’ which saw a lead group of four running together in the early stages quickly ended as Kanyimo made his intentions clear at the start of the long climb into the heart of Newlands Forest just over 3.5km into the race. At the top of the climb, the Gauteng visitor was 16 seconds clear of Special Editions 25km and Old Fisherman’s Trail 24km winner, Kyle Bucklow, with Oli Morris a further 8 seconds back in third.

Special Edition 25km and Ultra-trail Drakensberg 32km winner, German born athlete Marion Leiberich, held a 12 second gap on her AfricanX team partner, Lijan van Niekerk, in the women’s contest.

Five kilometres of forest trails later and the gap over Bucklow had grown to a minute, as Kanyimo ran strongly up to the start of the Woodcutters Trail. Leiberich had opened a similar margin in the women’s race, with Van Niekerk 52 seconds back in second. Jo Haw was running comfortably in third, six minutes behind Van Niekerk.

Bucklow’s strength on the climb and knowledge of the course saw him close the gap on Kanyimo on the testing climb to the top of Newlands Ravine and closed further on his rival on the technical descent to the Middle Traverse.

“I was feeling good on the climb and descent and also was closing the gap on the contour trail around to the Kings Block House,” Bucklow reflected. “But once we approached the jeep tracks back down into Newlands Forest I knew I wouldn’t catch him – he was simply too fast.”

Second-placed Kyle Bucklow congratulates Collin Kanyimo, setting up the TOM Nuwelands Wetlands Trail Run on 24 September for a potentially great duel 

The final fast kilometres played to Kanyimo’s road running strength and he raced home 63 seconds ahead of Bucklow with Morris running a strong second half to claim third in 2:03:03.

Van Niekerk used her speed on the descent to close the gap on Leiberich after the strong-climbing German had reached the Saddle in pole position.  Van Niekerk took the lead along Middle Traverse, running strongly to the finish to cross the line in 2:26:42 – twelve minutes inside Peek’s winning time in 2019.

In the women’s 24km Trail Run, it was Lijan van Niekerk who conquered the tough terrain ahead of a spirited Marion Leiberich

The final fast kilometres played to Kanyimo’s road running strength and he raced home 63 seconds ahead of Bucklow with Morris running a strong second half to claim third in 2:03:03.

Van Niekerk used her speed on the descent to close the gap on Leiberich after the strong-climbing German had reached the Saddle in pole position.  Van Niekerk took the lead along Middle Traverse, running strongly to the finish to cross the line in 2:26:42 – twelve minutes inside Peek’s winning time in 2019.

37-year-old Franchhoek-based Uys, who returned to racing in February following the birth of her child, won in more relaxed fashion, her 1:22:04 winning time over six minutes clear of Joanne Burns.

RESULTS

Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Race 24km

Men: 1 Collin Kanyimo 1:58:40; 2 Kyle Bucklow 1:59:43; 3 Oli Morris 2:03:03; 4 Kelton Miller 2:05:37; 5 Charl Cronje 2:11:12; 6 Sinovuyo Ngcobo 2:15:32; 7 Ivan Robinson 2:20:15; 8 Enrach Swanson 2:26:40; 9 Dave van Ginkel 2:35:24; 10 Dominic Wills 2:36:46

Women: 1 Lijan Van Niekerk 2:26:42; 2 Marion Leiberich 2:30:27; 3 Jo Haw 2:44:51; 4 Esther Lategan 2:56:40; 5 Ridwana Babamia 3:09:36; 6 Hanlie Booyens 3:13:53; 7 Caitlin Perry 3:17:51; 8 Isobel Evans 3:20:09; 9 Paula le Roux 3:24:45; 10 Terry Deats 3:24:52

Two Oceans Short Distance Trail Race 13km

Men: 1 Siviwe Nkombi 56:34; 2 Jacques Du Plessis 56:37; 3 Eduan Burger 1:04:04; 4 Zainul-Abideen Sahib 1:07:56; 5 Daniel Jubert 1:16:35

Women: 1 Mariska Uys 1:22:04; 2 Joanne Burns 1:28:18; 3 Shura Johnsen 1:34:18; 4 Sarah Paterson 1:35:31; 5 Edna Maldonado 1:37:21

The original article was published on SPN Africa News

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