The Outeniqua Quest took place this past weekend, emotions and sheer determination were tops for this grueling race. The race starts at Beervlei in Wilderness and runs on the Outeniqua Hiking Trail all the way to Harkerville Hut outside Knysna – this means the athletes run 108kms. They had 3 choices of race selection either doing the Non-stop option, the full 108kms without stopping, or the 2 day option where they run 48kms on day 1 to Millwood and day 2 60kms to Harkerville and then lastly the Lite Quest option, run from Beervlei to Millwood, 48kms in total. The Non-stop option seemed to be the favourite option of all.
During race briefing Friday night Hano had a few wise words for the athletes, “If you can sort your mind out, your body will take you there”. These words became the theme for this race, as it is as demanding of the mind as it is of your physical abilities. The pure determination of the athletes showed us this over the weekend.
From the start of the Outeniqua Quest the race was on. The field spreading more and more as the race went on. Samuel Holtzkampf and Brett Nattrass took the lead from the get go for the non-stop in the male category an Linda Doke for the females. Running in the mountains is a challenge in itself – not just the hills but keeping your mind in the right mindset to carry on for the 108km challenge that is ahead of you.
Alfred Thorpe at some point had changed his mind to such an extent that he had his wife phone race office to hear if he could upgrade his race and instead of stopping at Millwood (48kms into the race), he wanted to carry on. Just to give you an idea of Alfred , this was his first marathon, his first ultra-marathon and first 100km. Yes he did finish and he was still smiling and in good spirits when he crossed the line Harkerville nearly 28hours after starting his journey.
Samuel Holtzkampf beat all expectations with his astonishing win in 13:00:34. Any predictions were nowhere near this. When he crossed the line it looked like he could tackle the event again. Brett was with him all the way in the start, but said that Samuel was just too much of a machine on the hills for him. So Brett had a good time in the woods singing childrens songs too himself and trying to scare away bush pig with baboon noises. He crossed the line in 13:32:27 with his entire family waiting to welcome him home.
Linda Doke was the ultimate winner of the non-stop race in the women’s category finishing her race in elegance in a time of 16:34:20. Prieur Du Plessis who had been running with her in the first half of the race said he eventually told her to go on ahead without him as she was chatting the whole way and he could barely breath properly. Linda had such a spirit whenever she met someone on the field, this was shown at Millwood as well where she tried to encourage Cornel De Jongh and Marius van Zyl to continue on their quest with her. Unfortunately they both withdrew.
The 2 day race was dominated by Rich Cheary, Richard Schroder and Renee Cheary who took tops for their efforts and crossing the line in 15:50:58. They were having wine Friday night and Saturday night before attempting their ultra’s – it gave them the spark they needed they said. Nell Harris won the lite Quest for the ladies in a time of 6:55:19. She didn’t go and lie down after this or try and nap, nope she opted to go cheer on her husband Kevin Harris who was running the non-stop. They were running together the whole first 48km and she thinks she might opt for the full quest next year as well.
The athletes agreed that this is an event to stay on the permanent trail running calendar and that they would be back to take it on again next year. There is more than enough of a variety of terrain and challenges to keep your mind and body busy while you run your heart out on the race.
Trisport organisers, Hano and Sonja Otto are very excited about the future of this event and plan to host it annually. The Outeniqua Quest updates, photos, videos and feedback can be seen on www.facebook.com/trisportsa. For more information go to www.trisport.co.za.
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