South African trail running officially became part of the international calendar this weekend as the 10th running of the Otter African Trail hosted the Grand Finale of the inaugural Golden Trail Series. The race brought together the world’s top 10 men and women marathon distance trail runners to compete not only for the prestigious Otter title, but the Golden Series trophies too.
In the men’s race, Polish runner Bartlomiej Przedwojewski took the lead from the start and set a new RETTO (the reverse direction to the Otter) record of 3:40.48 for the 42km.
Trail running superstar Kilian Jornet was forced to withdraw within the first 10km due to a hip injury. Marc Lauenstein, the RETTO and OTTER record holder, had a rough start to the race, but after a mid-way pep talk moved up the field to finish in second place, 10 minutes behind Przedwojewski.
Robbie Rorich was the first South African over the line in eighth after outsprinting Rory Scheffer and set a new record for a South African. Last year’s winner, Christiaan Greyling, finished tenth.
In the women’s race the UK’s Holly Page took the win in another new record 4:37.48 after local South African runner Toni McCann led the race until the 30km mark. McCann held on for third just behind storming New Zealander Ruth Croft.
Croft and Norway’s Stian Angermund-Vik became the first-ever season-long Golden Trail Series champions and were crowned at the final awards ceremony.
The Golden Trail Series featured five most iconic “short-distance” trail races on the planet— Zegama Mountain Marathon in Spain’s Basque Country, the Marathon du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland, Pikes Peak in Colorado and the Ring of Steall in the Scottish Highlands. The Grand Final will be held in a different country each year. #ottertrail2018 #ottertrail #goldentrailseries #trailrunning @jacqmaraisphoto