A cool overcast morning welcomed the 242 runners who ran the inaugural Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) Nuweberg Trail Challenge in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve on Sunday November 11.
The 22km event kicked off at 8am, with 126 runners tackling the tough yet engaging course. Mostly on jeep track, the route sports some gnarly hills, but the spectacular views along the way make the hard work worthwhile.
One hundred and six runners tackled the 10km race, which although less than half the distance of the 22km route, still sports some daunting hills, and shares with the 22km event, a short but tricky technical section.
John Smelcer loped home to win the 10km race, in a time of 51:29, followed by Daniel Jubert in 57:35, with the first woman home, Natalie Danilowicz, next across the finish line in 01:00:15. Third man home, Conrad Meier clocked 01:01:02 and Jana van der Merwe romped home for second place in the women’s race in 01:05:31, just beating Antonia de Wet who was right behind her in third place in 01:05:34.
As the clouds cleared and the sun broke through, the temperature started to climb, and the runners on the 22km route started to feel the heat.
By the time Oriole Bolus crossed the 22km finish line in 01:57:49, the sun was already high in the sky.
Michael Mackintosh was under a minute behind for second place in 1:58:22, followed by Damian Will in 02:02:02 for third place.
Julie Huckle took first in the women’s 22km race in 02:27:40, followed by Jen Brown in second place in 02:28:48 and Erika Holland in 02:32:41 for third place.
A highlight of the 10km race, was 74-year old Mariame Nelson who finished in an impressive time of 02:10:58. In the 22km race, Bradley Fryer ran in full VWS personal protective equipment, complete with gloves, goggles and fireline backpack, finishing in 03:46:43. Bradley, who is not a VWS member, did the run to raise funds for the VWS on the GivenGain platform.
The feedback from runners in both races was uniformly positive, with the views getting rave reviews. Margi Hoffe of Somerset West, running with husband, Steve, in the 10km race said: “We took the most awesome photos and even ran a bit slower to really take in the nature and the beauty of it all. We are definitely doing the 22km next year.”
And pretty much everybody who ran said they would be back next year, and they’d bring their friends. Watch this space.
– Norman McFarlane
For the full results, please visit the following links:
For images, please visit the Nuweberg Trail Challenge Flickr album.