Media Release: Addo Elephant National Park Hosts SA's Only 100-Mile Trail Run
The only 100-Mile Trail Run in the country was hosted in Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape today and yesterday. Designed to test trail runners both mentally and physically, the trail tracks the mountains and valleys of the Park. Runners are challenged to run primarily on tracks within the park itself as well as some stretches of gravel roads.
With an early start in the town of Kirkwood on Friday morning, the 100-Miler attracted 14 entrants, among them Mimi Anderson and Edward Chapman from the UK and Kelly Lim from Singapore.
Trail runners followed the route over the mountains in the Kabouga section of the Park, into the Sundays River Valley and then across the escarpment of the Zuurberg Mountains, to finish at the Addo Elephant Park Main Rest Camp.
A 50-Mile Trail Run - covering a section of the 100-Mile route - attracted 59 entrants including Han Frenken from the Netherlands and Christine Deroo of Belgium.
Although runners did not have to watch out for any of the Park’s well-known elephant herds, the route covered areas that are home to wildlife such as eland, mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest and the endangered Cape mountain zebra as well as warthog and ostrich. The very elusive leopard also roams the area, as do troops of baboons.
Local runners took top places in the 50-Mile with Michael Hendricks of Kirkwood finishing first in a mere 8 hours and 14 minutes. Aaron Benzi and ‘Sampies’ Mbulelo, also of Kirkwood, took second and third places respectively.
Hendricks, Benzi and Mbulelo’s participation in the trail run was made possible by a joint sponsorship from the Addo Elephant National Park and the Kirkwood Wildlife Festival. Another two local runners were also sponsored in this manner.
The first woman to cross the finish line – and take fifth place – was the Western Cape’s Miema Murray.
100-Mile competitors slogged it out into the night with Bruce Arnett of Johannesburg taking first place in 19 hours and 34 minutes. Arnett previously won the trail run in 2005 and 2006. Cape Town heart surgeon AO Okreglicki, who won the 100-Miler in 2007, took second place in 21 hours and 44 minutes.
Jo McKenzie of Sedgefield in the Western Cape was both the first woman and third place winner with a time of 22 hours and 48 minutes.
Many of the trail runners remarked on the incredible scenic beauty of the course which takes place in some of the remotest parts of Addo Elephant National Park.
Issued by: Megan Taplin (Bradfield)
Communications Manager: Frontier Region
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