Trail blazer Reilly

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

BACK from in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Europe, Kane Reilly raised the South African trail run­ning bar to new lev­els with a su­perb record-break­ing vic­tory in the 16th Hout Bay Trail Chal­lenge yes­ter­day.

Two hun­dred and fifty par­tic­i­pants, run­ning solo or in teams, com­pleted the chal­leng­ing 40km cir­cuit of Hout Bay moun­tain peaks in per­fect con­di­tions, start­ing and fin­ish­ing at the har­bour and sum­mit­ing Kar­bonkel­berg, Suther Peak, Llan­dudno Ravine, the Back Ta­ble and Vlakken­berg be­fore travers­ing Con­stan­tiaberg and de­scend­ing to East Fort for a fi­nal beach cross­ing.

By his stan­dards, Reilly had be­low-par per­for­mances at Zegama in Spain and Mont Blanc in France in the past six weeks – the first two of the high pro­file Golden Trail Series. Bad si­nusi­tis scup­pered his chances at Mont Blanc, where his fifth place the pre­vi­ous year had promised hopes of a top 10 fin­ish.

But Hout Bay is Reilly’s happy hunt­ing ground. Hav­ing achieved the un­think­able by break­ing the four-hour bar­rier for the new, longer course last year in 3hr 59min 34sec, he sim­ply cranked up the ante, rac­ing clear from early on to cross the fin­ish line in 3:54:34 – ex­actly five min­utes in­side his time last year.

“I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to go for the record to­day,” ad­mit­ted Reilly, “but I felt re­laxed and strong and was able to race well. The pres­ence of top ath­letes like Ben Brim­ble and Rob­bie Rorich in the field made me keep up the pace as I was ex­pect­ing them to chal­lenge me.”

Robert Shaff, run­ning the first leg in the mixed team com­pe­ti­tion, stayed within con­tact of Reilly for the first half of the climb up Kar­bonkel­berg, be­fore con­ced­ing.

Brim­ble placed sec­ond, al­most half an hour be­hind Reilly, with Rorich, who spent time nav­i­gat­ing his was back on the trail after run­ning off course more than once, third.

Every­green veteran, Katya Sog­got, was too strong for Sam Reilly – Kane’s sis­ter – re­turn­ing to the scene of her 2010 record-break­ing tri­umph to re­gain the ti­tle in an ex­cel­lent 4: 59:17.

EL­LIS PARK: The Lions will con­test a third straight Su­per Rugby fi­nal – this time against the Cru­saders in Christchurch next Satur­day.

It’ll be a re­peat of the 2017 fi­nal and the first time the same two teams will be in ac­tion in the fi­nal game in suc­ces­sive years – only this year the match will be played at the home ground of the mul­ti­ple and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons after the Lions came un­stuck at home a year ago.

War­ren White­ley and his men will hope it is third time lucky after they also lost the 2016 fi­nal, to the Hur­ri­canes in Welling­ton.

The Lions qual­i­fied for the fi­nal after com­ing from be­hind to beat the Waratahs here yes­ter­day af­ter­noon. Thanks largely to a pow­er­ful dis­play by the for­wards the Lions hit back from be­ing 14-0 down in­side 10 min­utes to tri­umph quite hand­somely at the end.

Led once again by the mag­nif­i­cent Mal­colm Marx, who scored two tries and was again

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