Top-10 ‘double’ for SA pair in French Alps
STELLENBOSCH trail athletes, Landie and Christiaan Greyling, ran to convincing top ten podium positions at the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail Marathon, run over 92km and 6026m of vertical ascent in the French Alps yesterday, once again underlining their abilities against top international competition.
Landie Greyling overcame the effects of a leg injury sustained in a fall in training near Chamonix two weeks ago and another fall over a cameraman during the race to clinch fourth in a competitive women’s competition, while husband Christiaan moved through the field in the second half to take sixth place overall.
French athlete, Xavier Thevenard, took line honours in 11 hours 3 minutes, with Swede Mimi Kotka winning the women’s competition in 12 hrs 59 min.
“I’m really pleased with my run,” said Christiaan. “These ultras are always very tough, but somehow the ultras seem to like me! I went through a bad patch just after half way, when faced with yet another lung-searing climb of a 2000m plus summit, but managed to pull it back and enjoyed passing some of the guys in the last quarter.”
Thevenard went out hard from the start and was never headed, increasing his lead throughout the race to win by 13 minutes ahead of Spaniard Clemente Cristofer. Greyling was rewarded with his more conservative start, enabling him to move from 11th position to 6th in the second half of the race.
Running a courageous race, Landie went out confidently, running in the tracks of top Swedish runner, Mimi Kotka, and ahead of leading ultra-trail athletes, Russian Ekaterina Mityaeva and Australian Lucy Bartholomew, in the early stages.
Kotka was well clear at half way, with Greyling running strongly 14 minutes back in second, eight minutes clear of Mityaeva and Bartholomew.
But a combination of the decision by organisers to extend the route by 8km and dehydration proved tough challenges to Greyling and she was unable to respond as her rivals overtook her on the final mountain climb to relegate her to fourth position in 13 hrs 31 min - well clear of American Marianne Hogan and many of the favoured athletes.