In the first ever reverse run of the annual event in the Eastern Free State, Madiba clocked a time of 2:40:54 to shatter trail running great, Ryan Sandes' record by nearly two minutes. What makes the record more remarkable is that the reverse run is a lot tougher than the traditional run, with the route being more of a climb.
Heat played a major role in the event, with temperatures soaring well over the 30 degrees Celsius mark, making it much tougher. Apart from the actual heat, hydration was imperative and carrying extra fluids meant each runner had to carry more weight.
Heading into the last kilometre of the race it was still a head-to-head battle between Madiba and the defending champion, Sampie Makoakoe, who works at the picturesque Moolmanshoek farm. This is something the winner told OFM Sport he used to his advantage.
"I was a bit scared to run away from him (Makoakoe) because I don't know the route and I was afraid of getting lost.
"Sampie is a cool guy. I have a name for him – he is Sampie the Navigator, so he just helped me, especially coming down.
"I just kept asking Sampie, are we going left, are we going right – we just kept hammering. 'Just keep pushing, please don't stop, let's go, let's go!'
"I kept motivating him because he was not feeling well.
"I did this until we could see the finish line, then I outsprinted him."
Makoakoe crossed the line some 5 seconds off the pace to joyous ululating by his colleagues and friends on the farm for a very emotional welcome. This was truly a scene to be witnessed and left a lump in the throat.
Chabeli Nyedimane was the first Bloemfontein runner to cross the finish line in a time of 02:43:42 to complete the podium.
Chris Strydom of Hoërskool Sentraal ran in fourth in 03:04:02 in an impressive run by the youngster to achieve his personal goal on achieving a top-five finish.
Strydom told OFM Sport he is delighted with his run, but the top-three finishers just had too much gas and he will now focus on the SkyRun Marathon.
"I'm very happy with how my run went and my time, but the guys were just too fast the last five or six kilometres. I am, however, very happy and now my focus shifts to the SkyRun Marathon."
The women's race was another interesting affair with it being neck-and-neck between Georgina Ayre and Jackie Moore right until the end. Ayre took the honours in a time 04:06:03 to pip Moore by 52 seconds, with Natasja Kask completing the podium in 04:15:07.
With the success of the debut reverse run, the organisers, Pure Adventures, have decided that the reverse route will be used every alternate year.
Men – 1 Thabang Madiba, 2 Sampie Makoakoe, 3 Chabeli Nyedimane, 4 Chris Strydom, 5 Bruce Arnett (V), 6 Mark Michell, 7 Stewart Chaperon, 8 Isaac Mazibuko, 9 Andrew Erasmus, 10 Steven Erasmus.
Women – 1 Georgina Ayre, 2 Jackie Moore, 3 Natasja Kask (V), 4 Jeanne Havinga, 5 Alice Rawlinson, 6 Hannetjie Pretorius, 7 Kerry Kee (V), 8 Claudia Gouws, 9 Marcelle le Grange, 10 Kate Rees.
V = Veteran
Morgan Piek / OFM News