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