‘Dou­ble-ea­gle’ Kre­mer might teach the lo­cals a thing or two

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - STEPHEN GRANGER

ONE OF the world’s lead­ing trail ath­letes will be in ac­tion on the slopes of Cape Town’s moun­tains this morn­ing with lo­cal ath­letes ex­pected to be left to con­test the mi­nor plac­ings in the women’s com­pe­ti­tion.

Only se­ri­ous nav­i­ga­tional er­rors could ap­pear to stand be­tween 29-year-old USA star, Ste­vie Kre­mer, and vic­tory in the tough 36km Hout Bay Trail Chal­lenge, run from Hout Bay Har­bour, over Kar­bonkel­berg to Suiker­bossie, up Llan­dudno Ravine and along the top of the Back Ta­ble to Con­stan­tia Nek, up Vlakken­berg and around Con­stan­tiaberg to East Fort at Chap­mans Peak and along the beach back to the start.

But with Kre­mer, who only ar­rived in Cape Town on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, and who ad­mits to be­ing nav­i­ga­tion­ally chal­lenged, run­ning off track and get­ting lost in a race where tra­di­tion dic- tates that the route re­mains un­marked, is a real pos­si­bil­ity. “I get lost even when they have ar­row mark­ers and bunt­ing,” Kre­mer con­fessed. “Imag­ine what will hap­pen on Satur­day with no mark­ing!”

Kre­mer has only had four years of com­pet­i­tive run­ning be­hind her and has dom­i­nated trail rac­ing dur­ing that time – ini­tially in lo­cal events around her home state of Colorado, then na­tion­ally and fi­nally in­ter­na­tion­ally, cli­max­ing in a bril­liant vic­tory at the World Long Dis­tance Moun­tain Cham­pi­onships in the Jun­grau in Switzer­land last year.

And liv­ing in the moun­tains of Colorado, Kre­mer switches ef­fort­lessly to skis in the win­ter, ex­celling and rep­re­sent­ing her coun­try in the sport of ski moun­taineer­ing, pro­vid­ing an ideal aer­o­bic base for her trail rac­ing and mak­ing her a “dou­ble ea­gle” hav­ing rep­re­sented the USA in two dis­ci­plines.

But sur­pris­ingly for an ath­lete in the top ech­e­lon of global trail rac­ing and ski moun­taineer­ing, Kre­mer is not a full time ath­lete, de­vot­ing most of her work­ing day to el­e­men­tary school teach­ing in her home town of Crested Butte.

“I love go­ing to school with the kids – my life is more than just run­ning,” Kre­mer ex­plains. “I like to start my day with a run, but to have some­thing else to look for­ward to. I also en­joy a run at the end of the day. With limited time, I think I put more into my runs – make full use of my train­ing ses­sions which I usu­ally do at a good pace.

“But some­times I think it would be good fun to take a year off to run. Af­ter win­ning at Jungfrau I re­ceived so many in­vi­ta­tions to take part in races all around the world. I would love to have said yes to all of them, but I just could not af­ford to take the time off.

“I have taken a year off from my school, but that was to take up a teach­ing post in Tri­este in Italy, which has just ended. It was a tremen­dous ex­pe­ri­ence, but un­for­tu­nately there were no moun­tains near Tri­este for train­ing!”

One of the in­vi­ta­tions Kre­mer felt she sim­ply could not refuse was to come to race in Cape Town. She met up with South African trail star, Linda Doke, in the Sierre-Zi­nal moun­tain race in Switzer­land last year and ac­cepted Doke’s in­vi­ta­tion to race the Hout Bay Trail Chal­lenge.

“I’m pretty ner­vous about the Hout Bay race,” ad­mit­ted Kre­mer. “It is so much more tech­ni­cal than those in the States, so I’m not sure how I will do. And then there is the chal­lenge of find­ing my way on the un­marked route. Al­though I ran two of the legs with Linda on Thurs­day, I’m sure I won’t re­mem­ber much on Satur­day! But I’m look­ing for­ward to the race and will give it my best shot.”

FOR­EIGN FOE: Top Amer­i­can trail ath­lete, Ste­vie Kre­mer, races to­day in the Hout Bay Trail Chal­lenge

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