The fourth edition of the Heaven and Hell Mountain Marathon took place on Saturday, 21 September 2019. The race was held upon Grace Hill Farm, just outside Rhodes Village in the Southern Drakensberg. The organisers are very grateful that despite the harsh race course conditions, nothing went wrong with respect to injuries or incidents. We are truly thankful to our Lord Jesus Christ for His protection and victory in each participant’s race.

44km Race:

 

Again, there was no guarantee that any runner would successfully complete the main race, the 44km. With 3760m elevation gain, 10 predominant mountain tops to be climbed, warm dry winds and a route which is brutally technical, it would take a special type of athlete to complete the 44km within the tight 13hr cut-off. Seven experienced mountain runners lined up for the challenge and four runners managed to get to the halfway mark within the cut off time of 6hr15min. Eventually there was only one successful finisher, Greg McQueen, who came back from his unsuccessful attempt last year to make things right when he persevered throughout and crossed the finish line just before dark to finish in a time of 12hr25min21sec. He is now part of an elite group of just two who have successfully completed the 44km race. We hope the other six unsuccesful runners will do what Greg, and try again to claim their cattle-bell trophy. Greg you are a true champion!

Results for 44km:

  1. Greg McQueen 12hr25min21sec

         Clint Munro              DNF

         Ross McMurdo        DNF

         Greig Pringle           DNF

         Frikkie JV RensburgDNF

         William Wilson         DNF

         Jan Morrison           DNF

22km Race:

The 22km race having 1880m elevation gain, was well supported and eleven of the fourteen starters finished within the 12hr cut off. Local farm employee Ayanda Khayakhaki from the hosting farm, Grace Hill took the win in a time of 4hr54min25sec. This was a remarkable achievement since Ayanda was involved in the recent completion of the training facilitiy’s new restaurant and gym and had limited time to train. Michiel Jonker followed 27min later to claim 2nd spot. Nic Wiltshire bettered his time from 2018 by over 2hrs to claim 3rd place in a time of 5hrs30min28sec and has now successfully finished this race for the third consecutive time. In the ladies race, Jamie-Leigh Kinmont ran a consistent race to win in a new record time of 6hrs04min56sec. Hanlie du Plessis from Zastron was 2nd in 7hrs00min12sec and Alicia Grobler, being the only runner to have completed each race at Heaven Hell since it started in 2016 was 3rd in 9hrs32min32sec. Whilst each participant needs to be congratulated for battling out there, we would like to commend the sheer determination shown by local farmers, Phillip and Deidre Gush. Phillip and Deidre have been supporting this race since the start in 2016 and both work hard before and after the race to ensure that the Friday dinner and all radio communications are in place. By the time Phillip and Deidre got to checkpoint 2 (12km into the race) they were both fatigued and Phillip had terrible muscle cramps. Phillip decided to end his race and as a result he had to leave Deidre to soldier on alone along the most remote part of the route, whilst he returned back to finish. Deidre endured the pain and despite running low on water, she was determined to finish and applied her mind to finish in just over 11 hours. We salute both of you, may this race be the stepping stone you need to finish the 65km Skyrun race in November. We gave Deidre the opportunity at the race to raise funds towards her worthy cause of supporting a child’s education at the Forest Ridge Private School in Barkly East. We encourage anyone to continue support Deidre’s Sky Run journey and educate a child. Deidre can be contacted at deidre@barkly.co.za

 

 

Full results for 22km:

 

  1. Ayanda Khayakhaki                 4hr54min25sec
  2. Michiel Jonker                 5hr21min39sec
  3. Nic Wiltshire                 5hr30min28sec
  4. Shaun Kinmont                 6hr04min55sec
  5. Jamie-Leigh Kinmont (1st lady) 6hr04min56sec
  6. Hanlie du Plessis (2nd lady) 7hr00min12sec
  7. Steven Ellery                 7hr20min22sec
  8. Marco Alexandre                 7hr21min34sec
  9. Alicia Grobler (3rd lady)         9hr32min32sec
  10. Gerhard Vosloo                 9hr32min52sec
  11. Deidre Gush                 11hr15min38sec

           Gerber Strydom                       DNF

           Jolandie Strydom                    DNF

           Phillip Gush                            DNF

14km Race:

The new 14km race, with 1120m elevation gain had three starters and all three finished within the 8hr cut off. Local Rhodes resident, Johann Swanepoel won in a time of 4hr20min18sec. Alex Jongens was only 20 minutes behind Johan and was the first lady home. Bridget Jonker was the 2nd lady in a time of 5hr58min19sec.

Full results for 14km:

  1. Johann Swannepoel                 4hr20min18sec
  2. Alex Jongens (1st lady)         4hr40min58sec
  3. Bridget Jonker (2nd lady)         5hr58min19sec

8km Race:

The 8km with 760m elevation gain had 9 entrants, all of whom finished within the 6hr cut off. Couple, Grant and Emma Johl ran together and won the race in a time of 2hr01min17sec. Keen mountain biker, and hopefully new Rhodes Resident, Eugen Gotz was 2nd male in a time of 2hr22min24sec and local Barkly resident, Ryan Small was 3rd male in a time of 2hr54min04sec.  Ilze van Zyl was 2nd lady in a time of 4hr13min21sec and Dori Moreno was the 3rd lady in a time of 4hr48min08sec.

Full results for 8km:

  1. Grant Johl                 2hr01min17sec
  2. Emma Johl (1st lady)         2hr01min22sec
  3. Eugen Gotz                 2hr22min24sec
  4. Ryan Small                 2hr54min04sec
  5. Kevin McQueen                 3hr07min34sec
  6. Anton van Zyl                 4hr13min19sec
  7. Ilze van Zyl (2nd lady) 4hr13min21sec
  8. Cormac McCreesh                 4hr48min05sec
  9. Dori Moreno (3rd lady) 4hr48min08sec

For most of the field, it would be agreed that this is very likely the most challenging race that you would ever do and for that reason, we, as organisers would like to thank you for doing the basics right like carrying your compulsory kit and for concentrating every step of the way over the rough terrain so as to avoid falling, twisting ankles etc.

There are so many persons / sponsors involved in assisting in this event and a special word of thanks to:

The Landowners:

Francois and Hannelie Nel

Stefaans and Melanie Naude

Robin and Leone Turnbill

Janbert, Caroline and James Reeders

Gerrit and Mariaan Henning

 

 

Marshalls:

Stephan and Dassie Nel

Khaya Hlalele

Thato Kabeli

Jason van Tonder

Ian Vorster

Tony Kietzmann

Johan and Gezine Coetzer

Sponsors:

Twizza

Hoka One One

UMac Poultry

And to:

Gardmed Ambulance Services

Barkly Reporter

Aliwal Weekly

Cathy Botes

Megan van Tonder

Gerrit Henning for use of the radios

Dr. Elsabe Botes for use of projector

Arne van Schalkwyk

Claire van der Walt – ProV Photography

George Stroebel – Race Timing and General Assistance

Elize Methven

Deidre and Phillip Gush

On a final note, we are super excited to announce that the 2020 edition of the Heaven & Hell Mountain Marathon will include a new 88km race boasting 7510m elevation gain and in this 88km race, the first male will receive R25 000 cash and so will the first female provided they finish within the 25 hour cut off. The race will consist of 4 x 22km laps and is open to anyone that is 25 years or older. Entries for all races open on 1 October 2019 and there will be an early bird special that will run for all races for two weeks until 15 October 2019. The 88km race will start at 18h00 on Wednesday 23 September 2020 and the 44km/22km/14km/8km and 5km funrun will start on Heritage Day morning 24 September 2020. With the Maloti 100 Miler Mountain Bike Race (Barkly East to Maclear) held to Saturday 26 September 2020, sports lovers are in for a full week of exciting racing activity.

Race information at alpineswifttrails.co.za. Enter at onlineentry.co.za

Hylton & Sunelle Dunn

Heaven and Hell Mountain Marathon

Alpine Swift Trails High Altitude Training Facility