The 2016 Tankwa Trail came to an emotional end at Kaleo Manor on Sunday, 21 February, as the assembled trail runners crossed the finish line for the final time. There was many a smile, but also a few tears as the event came to a close.
Crossing the line first, as he did on the previous two stages was Etienne Plaatjies. Plaatjies truly dominated the race and the ex-South African 800 meters champion showed all his pace on the final stage as he blitzed the 21km route in an astonishing 1 hour 20 minutes and 56 seconds. Following Plaatjies in was the first men’s team of AJ Calitz and Christiaan Greyling, running for K-Way/Salomon, in a time of 1 hour 35 minutes and 20 seconds.
Landie Greyling was once again the first lady to cross the finish line completing the stage in a time of 1 hour 44 minutes and 5 seconds. The first ladies team in was also the general classification leading duo of Tracy Forbes and Jana Trojan, of team Talking Machines, in 1 hour 58 minutes and 13 seconds.
Further down the field there were smiles of joy, tears of relief and a few of pain as runners crossed the line. Two of the biggest smiles of the day came from locals Charl and Jannas du Plessis. After Stage 1 Charl had needed a drip, which his doctor brother and running partner Jannas happily administered, but on Stage 3 the du Plessis bothers had their strongest day finishing in third position in the men’s teams race. Another team beaming from ear-to-ear was the Bodytec combination of Veresa Domingo and Sandra Leyck. Domingo and Leyck had been in fine form throughout the race and were as likely to be spotted posing for a photo along a scenic section of trail as they were pattering along the trails at a good pace. The Bodytec team certainly added some glamour to the Bokkeveld’s trails.
Three less joyful but undoubtedly relieved finishers were Mauritz Janse van Rensburg, Donald Mouton and Tarryn de Beer. Janse van Rensburg pulled a calf muscle while racing Calitz and Christiaan Greyling for the lead in the men’s team race and needed the support of his partner in team Soul Running, Niel Swanepoel, to reach the finish. Donald Mouton and Tarryn de Beer meanwhile started the stage against their own better judgement. Both had suffered from knee pain on Stage 2 and had also developed painful blisters, which the medical team drained and then injected with Methylate. Despite blisters reforming and popping on the trails and excruciating knee pain Mouton and de Beer made it to the finish, where they might have shed a few tears of relief.
Two remarkable stories to emerge from the Tankwa Trail are those of Piat Quentin and Chauvet Eline, and Cilla Geldenhuys and Angela Carlson. Quentin and Eline are on a two week holiday in South Africa from Switzerland and as Quentin is training for what he called “the short 100km race” at the Ultra-Trail Mont Blanc (as opposed to the “long 160km one”) in August he decided to enter the Tankwa Trail for training. His girlfriend, Eline, was convinced to join him – although she’s not an avid runner and had never run further than 21km before Stage 1 of the Tankwa Trail. Geldenhuys and Carlson, both sexagenarians, are lifelong friends who now live far apart. They meet up once a year to undertake an adventure. These adventures usually consist of a hiking trip but this year Geldenhuys, who is a multiple Comrades Marathon finisher decided that a trailrunning stage race would be their adventure. Carlson was not easily convinced but upon completing the Tankwa Trail she was elated with the chosen adventure, even though it was well outside of her comfort zone.
The dates for the 2017 Tankwa Trail have yet to be confirmed but you can pencil mid-February 2017 into your diary so long. To stay updated on all the news about the 2017 Tankwa Trail follow: @TankwaTrail on Twitter. To view more photos from the official photographers of the 2016 race like Tankwa Trail Facebook or if you’d like to see photos from 2016 entrants search for #tankwatrail Instagram. For further information about the race visit www.tankwatrail.co.za.
Tankwa Trail Results:
1. Etienne Plaatjies (Stage 3 Time: 1:20:56 | GC Time: 6:04:11)
2. Willie Roux (Stage 3 Time: 1:44:35 | GC Time: 7:24:17))
3. Robert Williamson (Stage 3 Time: 1:53:03 | GC Time: 7:48:16)
1. Landie Greyling (Stage 3 Time: 1:44:015 | GC Time: 7:24:17)
2. Katya Soggot (Stage 3 Time: 1:45:27 | GC Time: 7:38:51)
3. Marlize du Toit (Stage 3 Time: 2:04:14 | GC Time: 9:19:22)
1. Christiaan Greyling & AJ Calitz (Stage 3 Time: 1:35:20 | GC Time: 6:38:10)
2. Niel Swanepoel & Mauritz Janse Van Rensburg (Stage 3 Time: 1:57:05 | GC Time 7:22:41)
3. Jan Ham & Cole Stanton (Stage 3 Time: 1:50:20 | GC Time: 8:19:33)
1. Tracy Forbes & Jana Trojan (Stage 3 Time: 1:58:13 | GC Time: 8:44:15)
2. Veresa Domingo & Sandra Leyck (Stage 3 Time: 2:04:47 | GC Time: 9:15:56)
3. Leslee Salzmann & Tarryn de Beer (Stage 3 Time: 2:21:32 | GC Time: 9:24:13)
1. Greg Hyson & Nikki-Leigh Piper (Stage 3 Time: 2:13:03 | GC Time: 9:39:48)
2. Chauvet Eline & Piat Quentin (Stage 3 Time: 2:27:37 | GC Time: 9:38:48)
3. Douglas Davey & Jessie Davey (Stage 3 Time: 2:18:36 | GC Time: 11:18:25)
To view all the Tankwa Trail results on www.livetime.co.za