Robert Rorich surprised the field of experienced Fairview Dryland Traverse runners to cross the line first on Stage 1 of the four day adventure trail run, on Friday 4 November. The first men’s team across the line were the Team 1 duo of John April and Francois Maquassa, while South African trail running superstars Landie and Christiaan Greyling claimed victory in the mixed category and Chantel Neinaber and Katja Sogot were the first of the women’s teams to finish.
The Fairview Dryland Traverse story started on Thursday evening when the assembled trail runners were treated to a 1km loop through the magnificent Cango Caves in the 8km Prologue. The inclusion of the Cango Caves in the route truly sets the Fairview Dryland Traverse apart as a trail running experience, but the caves are by no means the only highlight of the route.
The Prologue was won by seasoned Fairview Dryland Traverse campaigner, Gershwill Jacobs, but disaster was to strike for him on Stage 1 when he twisted his ankle and was forced to withdraw in the heart of the Swartberg Mountains.
Rorich, a 21 year old sculptor and engineering student, ran his own race on Stage 1. The stage started 4km from the summit of the Swartberg Pass, and the leading men’s teams blazed a frantic pace up the pass lead by April and Maquassa of Team 1 along with eventual second placed men’s team finishers Mvuyisi Gcogco and Obey Mtetwa. Rorich made up time on the speedy road running specialists ahead of him on the technical Swartberg hiking trail, and after running with them on the rocky 4×4 track between water points one and two he out descended the rest of the leading group on the breakneck singletrack drop towards the race village at De Hoek. Rorich crossed the line in a remarkable 2 hours, 15 minutes and 51 seconds for the 27km course.
In the mixed category the Greylings are up against Su and Iain Don-Wauchope in a battle of the stars; though it is fair to say that both couples entered the Fairview Dryland Traverse more for the legendary vibe than as a hard-core end of season race. Christiaan Greyling in particular was keen to take it a little easier than usual and even stopped for a slice of ostrich fillet, off the braai, at water point two. Despite the Don-Wauchopes and the Greylings running within themselves both teams managed stellar times with the Greylings finishing eight minutes ahead in a time of 2 hours 41 minutes and 08 seconds.
The leading solo lady, Danette Smith, crossed the finish line of Stage 1 in a time of 2 hours 45 minutes and 10 seconds to take the general classification lead from Prologue winner Yolandi de Villiers who finished in second. The women’s category stage winners Neinaber and Sogot, running as the fittingly named Fairview Fairies for title sponsors Fairview Wine and Cheese, dominated both the Prologue and Stage 1. The pair happily chatted their way through the stage, with not even the tough climb up the Swartberg Pass able to take the wind out of their sails.
On Saturday 5 November Stage 2 of the Fairview Dryland Traverse sees the trail runners take on a 23km route from the Rust en Vrede waterfall, past the Raubenheimer Dam and along the foothills of the Swartberg Mountain, in a stage of constant ascents and descents, back to the race village at De Hoek. Following Stage 2, on Saturday evening the much anticipated Beach Party will get into full swing as the Fairview Dryland Traverse lives up to its reputation for providing fun and games both on and off the trails.
Fairview Dryland Traverse General Classification after Stage 1
- Robert Rorich 02:52:15
- Andrea Biffi + 17:42
- Daryl North + 26:52
- Danette Smitt 03:28:40
- Yolandi de Villiers +10:09
- Gail Willimott +17:03
- Francois Maquassa & John April (Team 1) 02:56:13
- Obey Mtetwa & Mvuyisi Gcogco (Raidlight/Free Spirit) + 10:15
- Warren Dickson & Jade Muller (Wolf Pack 1) + 15:45
- Landie Greyling & Christiaan Greyling (Salomon) 03:20:53
- Su Don-Wauchope & Iain Don-Wauchope (Over the Hill[billies]) +11:22
- Rudolf van Rensburg Janie van Rensburg (Tortoise and the Hare) + 01:11:19
- Chantel Nienaber & Katja Sogot (Fairview Fairies) 04:02:43
- Rezani Scholtz & Zonia Scheffer (Grys Sweetpakbroeke) + 28:42
- Katherine van der Walt & Claire van der Nest (The Thunderbolts) + 35:58