Top-10 ‘dou­ble’ for SA pair in French Alps

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - STEPHEN GRANGER

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.

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