Craig Hammer conquers Chokka Trail Run

2016-08-11 06:00
TOP RIGHT: Craig Hammer (left) and Skippy Classens entering the Wild Side. They dominated the 62km distance throughout the race and finished together, although Craig clocked in 1 second ahead of Skippy claiming the first place.                        Photo: Rod Pentreath

TOP RIGHT: Craig Hammer (left) and Skippy Classens entering the Wild Side. They dominated the 62km distance throughout the race and finished together, although Craig clocked in 1 second ahead of Skippy claiming the first place. Photo: Rod Pentreath

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HE came, he saw, he conquered.

Craig Hammer, celebrity runner invited to set the fastest known time for the inaugural Bestmed Chokka Trail Run, did exactly that. On Sunday, August 7, Hammer won the main distance of 62km in 6 hours and 48 min, with Skippy Claassens a mere second behind him taking second place.

“This is by far the best and most scenic trail I have ever run,” he said. “With the right sponsor support, this could overtake the popularity of the Otter Trail Run. I am bringing all my mates next year.”

Hammer and Claassens took control of the race from the 15km mark, putting some distance between them and Andie Wesson, who finished third in 7 hours 24 minutes, followed by Eduan Adams (8h50min) in fourth place. Local runner Eidie Jansen van Rensburg finished the race as the only woman in 9 hours 32 minutes, claiming the fastest known time for the ladies. Eidie’s husband Rieghard, a top ultra runner, dedicated this race to his wife, staying by her side all the way. “I am very proud of Eidie, she stayed positive all the way although she was in lots of pain.”

“The last 15km is a blur, it was only with 1km to go that I thought I can finish this,” Eidie said. “I am extremely proud to be the first lady doing this.”

Shaun Attenborough finished the 30km distance in 2h32min, followed by Hansie Vosloo (2h40min) and Clifford Savage (2h44min). First lady home was Gina Stewart (2h50min); second was Barbara Trzebiatowsky (3h43min) and Elaine Fabrello (3h43min).

The 23km race was won by Leo Sorensen in 1h38min, second was Warren Dickson (1h44min) and third Warren Barber (1h56min). The top lady was Beth Buchanan (1h53min); second was Alexia Liozou (1h54min) followed by local Zoe Henn in 1h58min.

The very popular 16km race was won by Oyster Bay’s Izak van der Merwe (1h17min); second Derron Thompson (1h20min) and third Pierre van Zyl (1h31min). Megan Dempster won for the ladies in 1h21min in the third overall position, followed by Suzette Victor (1h52min) and Jeanne Beary (1h52min).

A live time-keeping system was used, and supporters waiting at the Resort knew exactly when their runners passed the checkpoints. “Thank you to Mira Horak from ORGSO for sponsoring the system; it put the event on a different level,” Eric Stewart from St Francis Sport said.

A total of 170 runners competed on Sunday 7 August, with all distances starting and finishing at the Cape St Francis Resort. The race was sponsored by Bestmed and hosted by the Cape St Francis Resort, which was also a co-sponsor. The organisers are St Francis Sport.

Hammer continued by saying, “it was a very well planned and organised event, with a mix of jeep and single track, dunes, technical rocky sections and long open beaches. We witnessed a lot of brave people finishing emotionally as it was super tough. Mark 6 August 2017 in your calendar now; this one cannot be missed.”

Stewart thanked the sponsors and volunteers: “it’s been a long day, and we appreciate each and every business and individual who played a part in making the Bestmed Chokka Trail Run a huge success. We are thankful that we had no serious injuries, and that we all are safe back at the start.”

Bestmed Ambassador, world champ pole vault athlete Ockert Britz, waited at the finish line for all the participants.

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