Hillcrest star takes uMhlanga Trail Run 2016

2016-12-20 06:01

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BLITZING his way to an incredible finish, Eric Ngubane showed his fine form in his final event of the year as he claimed top honours in the uMhlanga Trail Run on Sunday 18 December at the uMhlanga Summer Festival.

Crossing the line after flying through the 18km trail, Ngubane stopped the clock in a time of 1:13.00. Running at an average of 4minutes and 3 seconds, “I managed to keep my time under 4minutes for a lot of the race but the final 4km stretch on the sand was hard!” the very fit and wiry Ngubane said after he cruised through the line.

Ngubane who notched up 222km this week in the build up to this race said: “I ran 29km yesterday to loosen the muscles. I am feeling strong but will be taking a well-deserved break after this race. I won the Lesotho Ultra Trail 50km three weeks ago. My focus is now shifting from trails to road in the build-up for the Comrades Marathon, after that I will be back on the trails.”

The leading lady, Amy Burger from Mtunzini took line honours in the 18km race, finishing with 30 seconds to spare ahead of second placed Lisa Collett. At the prize giving, Burger simply stated, “It was epic! The last section on the beach was not a glamorous ending, I wiped out, getting knocked over by the surf. But I love trail running, and the challenges that go with running off road. I did Comrades this year and it took forever for my body to recover. Running on the trails is far easier on the body.”

By far the cutest rising trail running star, 10 year old Liam Johnson from Hillcrest wowed the crowd with his impressive run in the shorter distance, the 5km run. He completed the run in a time of 22.33, 26 seconds behind first place Hendrik van Rensburg who is three times his age. The youngster, who is going into Grade 5 next year at Hillcrest Primary School, is a sporting all-rounder, participating in cricket, rugby, and swimming and even takes part in triathlons. This is his second uMhlanga Trail run, having competed in the December trail run last year. He completed the 2016 race with his mother, Jodi who ended with a podium result in the 12km race, claiming second spot.

Cari-Ann Smith from Westville finished with a comfortable five minute gap ahead of second placed Jodi Davidson. This is her second uMhlanga Trail Run, having done the 18km three years ago, “I wasn’t brave enough for that today, and opted for the 12km. I enjoyed in immensely, but shew, it was hot out there!”

A familiar face in running events, both road and trail, Durban Central’s Zoe Papadakis claimed third spot in the women’s 18km event, “It was great out there, hot, but good! I’ve done about five of these uMhlanga runs and I love the spirit, everyone is having a great time! This is my second time taking on the 18km, I prefer the longer distances. You get to know yourself out there. It’s fantastic.”

Race Director for the event, Vaughn Smit from Riverside Trails said after the race, “I think each and every single competitor enjoyed themselves out there. We had a star-studded field with the likes of marathon man, Eric taking the gold in the main event, and of course we were joined by Mr Trail Running South Africa, Ryan Sandes who cruised on his first uMhlanga run.”

Chairman and Organiser for uMhlanga Tourism and the uMhlanga Summer Festival, Peter Rose enthused, “We had around 500 runners on our course this year. It’s a great event, great weather. It was magnificent to see the promenade buzzing. uMhlanga is simply the best.”

The next uMhlanga Trail Run is over the Easter period, for more details visit www.umhlangatrailrun.co.za or www.umhlangafestival.co.za - Supplied.

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