Prodigal Khumalo takes first place at Ultra-trail Cape Town presented by Salomon, 21-year old Lucy Bartholomew wins the Women’s 100km event.
Ultra-trail Cape Town (UTCT) presented by Salomon, which this year forms part of the Ultra-trail World Tour, saw Zimbabwean Prodigal Khumalo smash the men’s race record by just under an hour, in a time of 9:51.00. Other race favourite Ryan Sandes was only minutes behind him in a time of 9:56:03, with Scotty Hawker from New Zealand in third place in a time of 10:04:27.
UTCT presents three trail races of 100km, 65km and 35km that traverse the mountains of the Cape Peninsula. The races cover sections of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, Orangekloof, Llandudno, Hout Bay, the Constantia Winelands, the upper slopes of Kirstenbosch Nature Reserve and Devil’s Peak.
The first woman across the line in the 100km race was Salomon team athlete Lucy Bartholomew, the 21 year-old trail-running sensation from Australia, in a time of 11:21:49, well ahead of second placed South African, Robyn Owen, who crossed the line at 12:06:40. Naomi brand, also South African, was in third place in a time of 12:20:23.
“There are not big mountains here compared to what I run in Chamonix in France, but this was tough, you have to have the full package – run fast and climb hills – I learnt a lot from this race, “ Bartholomew said. Prodigal Khumalo said of his win: “The guys really wanted it, we raced from the gun. I used the same strategy as last year but was better prepared, and with the competition around me, I had to push.”
All of the first three men finished under the current record, reflecting the elite calibre of competition in the race.
Ryan Sandes was happy with the end result: “It was really tough against the Comrades guys; I tried to push early on the technical bits, so I had to work harder on the flats and the downs. It was really awesome to run a big race at home, and the encouragement from the crowds has been incredible, all along the route at the aid stations we felt that support.”
Nic Bornman, founder of the race, said he has seen the race grow exponentially since the inaugural event in 2014: “Each year the race has doubled in size, but this year, with being included in the World Tour, it has exploded, attracting numbers of elite international runners, which is fantastic to see.
“Having the support of the South African National Parks makes this possible, and now with the City of Cape Town, we expect the race to double again in size next year, putting us on the map for elite Ultra-trail runners worldwide,” Bornman said.