Trail runner Christiaan Greyling (Jeep Team SA/Salomon/Garmin), after his recent Top 12 result in the 110km Ultra Pirineu, is back on home soil and ready for the coveted Otter Run, a race that is considered the benchmark of technical marathon-distance trail running.
The 44km Otter Trail is regarded as one of the finest ‘hikes’ in the world. Alternating East to west and west to east each year, this year, the event will be run from East to West, starting at Storms River Mouth Rest Camp and finishing at De Vasselot Camp Site, Natures Valley.
It includes four river crossings, over 2600 metres of elevation and eleven significant climbs along a relentlessly technical coastal route.
Greyling, who has competed in the race five times, ran his first Otter in 2011, posting a time of just under 5h30m. Since then he has run the race almost 20 minutes faster each year, and this year he is believing big!
“I believe I can do a sub-4, but I’m not sure when. Based on my run last year, I am aiming for 4h10m, but that all depends on my recovery and preparation over the past few weeks abroad. I prefer the Classic, running from Storms River to Nature’s Valley, as I love the first technical section and will be able to maintain a good position among the speedsters,” said Greyling.
Greyling will have a huge fight on his hands as the field is stacked with South Africa’s finest trail champions including Kane Reilly who earlier this year achieved a top-5 finish at the Marathon de Mont Blanc in the French Alps. Other top contenders are winner of this year’s 53km Merrell Whale of Trail Challenge, Rory Scheffer, and 2015 Skyrunning African Champ, Thabang Madiba.
In the women’s race, defending champion and record holder, Robyn Owen (Jeep Team/Best4Sports) will have her work cut out for her as she competes against the likes of two-time winner, Landie Greyling, who is in great shape and capable of a 4h30m finish this year, and the ever-improving Meg Mackenzie who won the Hout Bay Trail Challenge.
Owen is in great shape though and is now competing full time as an adventure athlete. She has come leaps and bounds since last year and is stronger than ever. Owen for Gold.
The 2017 Otter African Trail Run kicks off on Friday, 27 October 2017, with registration and the prologue, a 3.5km time-trial run to determine seeding for the main event on Saturday, 28 October 2017.