Monumental racing inspires in Paarl

Words: Claire Davidson | Photos: Dylan Haskin

It was another spectacular warm winter’s day that greeted more than 700 eager and wide-eyed runners for Race 3 of 4 in the Spur Cape Winter Trail Series 2013.

The spires of the Afrikaans Taal Monument and spectacular rock formations of Paarl Nature Reserve played host this week, with the course dishing up now famous trails with names such as Monument Hill and the Stairway to Heaven (a 400 step climb through the second largest granite rock on the planet).


In the 14km Long Championship Course, it was business as usual for Bernard Rukadza as he powered his way to his third win in a row, wrapping up the 2013 Spur CWTS with one race still to go. Rukadza, who won this event last year, used his experience and undoubted ability to pace his race to perfection and came home in a sublime time of 53:42.


Second over the line was Tsungai Mwanengeni who finished in 55:58, a little over two minutes behind a rampant Rukadza, following the pattern set in race one, where he was less than a minute behind Rukadza. Morne van Greunen was snapping at the heels of Mwangeni and crossed the finish line a mere 26 seconds back, to take 3rd place over the line and also break 60 minutes, coming home in 56:24.


Nel wraps up Championship

In the absence of Mari Wessels, the door was left wide open for Jenny Nel to take out her second win of the Series and wrap up the Championship with a race to spare and that is exactly what she did!


The half marathon Nel ran the day before was no obstacle as she pulled away from second placed Kirsty Weir in the final few km’s to win by more than two minutes, crossing under the arch in a fantastic time of 01:07:02. Weir, brand new to trail running and incidentally substituting for Wessels for the remainder of the Series, took home second place overall with a time of 01:09:28, with third over the line going to Annemien Ganzevoort. Ganzevoort, a regular name heard on the podium in local trail running circles, finished in 01:11:44.


Balie & Persents go head-to-head

For the third week in a row, Raydon Balie and Hilton Persents chased each other around the 7.8km short course at the head of the race, and this time the winning margin was only 11 seconds!


After a little over 30 minutes of racing, it was Balie who emerged as the victor to take out his second win in a row, to go along with a 2nd place finish in Race 1, in a superb time of 34:08. Persents did his best to hold on but finished an agonising 11 seconds later in a time of 34:19.


Balie has now moved into first place overall in the Series, but Persents is still in the running to take the overall Open Prize. Persents would need to win the final race in Kleinmond but even then, it will come down to overall time. It could not be any tighter at the top!


Not to be outdone, Stefan Oosterhuizen wrapped up his category taking out his third win in a row in the Junior Category and finished third over the line in a time of 36:04.


No stopping the Leslie Duo

By now the surname on the top spot of the overall ladies podium in the short course Challenge Series is known. What is not known is what first name will accompany the surname Leslie.


The sisters have both had an unbelievable Series with Megan already securing the Minimee category and Caitlin showing the boys a thing or two, placing highly in the overall Junior Category and leading the junior ladies by some stretch.


Race 3 was a repeat of last week, with both Leslie sisters crossing the line together in 42:57. Third over the line and first Open lady for the second week in a row was Michelle Krog-Scheepers, who came home in 44:17.


Last but not least, the future of the Cape trail running community is in good hands as more than 20 kids under the age of 14 took on the might of Paarl and it was 13 year old Daniel Arendse who claimed the Minimee win, by coming home 4th overall in a great time of 36:58. First Peewee over the line went to young Ulrich le Roux (10 years old), who stormed home in 44:10 and placed an incredible 32nd overall!


We break for a week before runners tackle the final race of the Series happening in the beautiful Kogelberg Biosphere in Kleinmond on August 17th as part of the annual Gravity Festival.


A big thank you to the Afrikaans Taal Monument for once again allowing us to integrate the magnificent monument spires into the Trail Series.


Also a big thank you to those who turned out to run and of course to our sponsors Spur, adidas, Bos & Protea Hotels.


For results, photos and more information, go to, like our Facebook Page (Trail Series) and follow us on Twitter @Wildrunnerza


Trail Running

Related content

THULE 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge
Local farm labourer takes glory at the THULE 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge
Goodall and Lambert to battle it out at Mountain Warrior Challenge
Trail Runners wade through the Black Diamond Night Run
SOX - The ultimate mountain, forest and coastal challenge