The RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town (RMB UTCT), now part of the World Trail Majors, delivered a host of stellar performances and exciting racing from both South African and international ultra-trail runners over the weekend.
About 400 international visitors and over 2000 runners took part across the 23km, 35km and 55km, the UT100 (the 100km race), and UTCT (the 100-miler) races that climbed Table Mountain and crossed the Peninsula.
In the men’s 100km race, Dmitry Mityaev dominated, though he had to keep pushing hard to maintain the lead, with a determined Caleb Olson and others chasing, finishing in a time of 10:43:06. Mityaev had a fall after he reached the top of Table Mountain going downhill and experienced some pain, but kept going after he had already established a solid lead.
“I am very happy to have won for a second time. It’s an amazing race, a very difficult and technical race. A very beautiful community with friendly people,” said Mityaev.
Local legend Ryan Sandes (ZA) took eighth place, and says he experienced bad cramping near the start of the race going up Platteklip after possibly going out too fast. He suggested that he should perhaps do the 100-miler next time: “There was such amazing community support that kept me going in some dark patches. This is a tough route with a high level of technicality, you can never get into any rhythm, especially when you are tired.”
Grobler Basson, another South African expected to do well, withdrew at Llandudno (41,5 km), and Konstantinos Paradeisopoulus withdrew at Hout Bay (56.6 km).
Ruth Croft (NZ) powered through the 100km achieving tenth place overall in 12:12:20, dominating the women’s race. “I just wanted to do my own race and I was being told the splits at the aid stations, so I knew I had a solid lead and just had to keep up the momentum,” she said.
Aleksei Tolstenko won the second edition of the 100-miler (166km) event in a time of 21:53:04. While slower than the winning time of 21:30:17 set by Fotis Zisimopoulos at the inaugural UTCT last year, Tolstenko was well ahead of the next placed man, South Africa’s Douglas Pickard from KwaZulu-Natal, who finished in 23:53:23. Cape Town local Chris Ngaka had an incredible run to finish third in 25:53:33.
Vasily Korytkin, who had surged to the front in the early stages of the race, withdrew at Constantia Glen after 139 kms, and Vincent Viet, also in the front pack, withdrew at Noordhoek (119.6 km).
Tolstenko says that he had felt unwell in the week before the race, and even the day before was not sure if he would start. “So when I decided to start, I pushed in the first half, to get the gap between me and the others as much as possible, so that if I don’t feel good in the second half, I could maybe still keep the lead.
“This is one of the most technically difficult races in the world, the only thing similar is in Reunion. The most beautiful experience was running for six kilometres on the beach [Noordhoek], the sand was hard and it was great running. It is a very beautiful race and the views and landscapes are amazing. This was my second 100 miles at UTCT, and I think I will choose 100 km next time!”
Nicolette Griffioen was the first woman to cross the line after a long night and day in the mountains, in a time of 26:11:08, which earned her fourth place overall. Having withdrawn in the last stages of the race last year, this is a very pleasing result for Griffioen.
“I had a good day. I have had a couple of bad runs lately, so it was really great running at my full capacity both physically and athletically, and not having issues like nutrition or cramping. I had a great run and loved it. I came into the race with the mentality of hiking rather than racing. I took the descents easy, kept the intensity low, ate real food and hydrated properly.
In the PT55, Robbie Simpson (GB) took the win convincingly in a time of 05:31:30, while Toni McCann from South Africa blitzed the course to take third place overall in 05:47:39.
Full results are available at www.ultratrailcapetown.com