Second time is the charm for Lucky
19:38 Wed, 22 Nov 2017
Second time is the charm for Lucky | News Article
Lucky Miya - Morgan Piek
Snow couldn't stop Lucky Miya on Saturday as he claimed the SkyRun title for men in the Witteberg, in what was only his second attempt at the gruelling 100 km mountain run.

Miya, who was last year's runner-up, took 12 hrs 58 min 38 seconds to become just the third runner in the 21-year history of the event to dip under 13 hours. In doing so, he bettered his time from last year by nearly 40 minutes, although, according to him it was not good enough.

For a large part the France-based Nepalese runner, Sangé Sherpa, led the race and it did appear as if he could rewrite the history books by becoming the first-ever international runner to win the SkyRun. However, Miya ran a much better tactical race and knew exactly where to make his move.

Speaking to OFM Sport after crossing the finish line at the Wartrail Country Club, Miya said he was delighted to beat a very strong elite field.

"I'm delighted. Last year was my first event and it was the longest run I had competed in. Before that I had never run farther that a 56 km race, so it was actually all very new for me. Nevertheless, I was very happy with the way it went, and obviously my target this year was to win it. So now it's happened and I'm very, very happy."

Heavy snow in the region during the week made things all that much more challenging this time around, although the runners are well-aware that the SkyRun is notorious for adverse weather conditions.

Miya added that it was a real test out there in the mountains. "It was rough out there. There were some sections where we battled to move and we lost a lot of time. Having said that, it was also a good experience to experience harsh conditions. I was happy with that, but when it comes to my time, I wasn't happy. My target was to run at least an hour faster than my time of last year. I still, however, ran nearly 40 minutes faster."

Speaking about his closest competitor, Sherpa, Miya lauded the fight the Nepalese runner put up and put it all down to knowledge of the course being the difference between them. "He is actually a very strong runner, but I realised that he was a little afraid because he didn't know the course and perhaps he didn't trust the GPS to track the route, so he held back a little. We ran with him. I don't know what happened, but he slowed down and I made my move."

In the women's race it was not a head-to-head between the 2016 champion, Nicolette Griffioen and Landie Greyling as expected, seeing that Greyling withdrew before the race. Griffioen led the race for a large part, however, it was ultimately Tracey Campbell who claimed the win a time of 19 hrs 26 mins 58 seconds.

The 65 km SkyRun Lite route was won by trail runner AJ Calitz in a time of 9 hrs 07 min 13 seconds. A remarkable feat seeing that Calitz suffered a severe stroke in April. The man who last claimed numerous top five finishes in the 100-km race, assured Courant that he will be back for the 100 km in 2018, because, as he puts it, he has "unfinished business" at the SkyRun.

Results (top-five): 100 km men - 1 Lucky Miya, 2 Shangé Sherpa, 3 Christiaan Greyling, 4 Stewart Chaperon, 5 Hylton Dunn. 100 km women - 1 Tracey Campbell, 2 Misty Weyers, 3 Kate Swarbeck, 4 Sophia Ndlovu, 5 Karen Beherns. 65 km men - 1 AJ Calitz, 2 Cyril Cointre, 3 Brett van Coller, 4 Wesley Smit, 5 Luke Viljoen. 65 km women - 1 Sofi Ackerman, 2 Do-Jo Jordan, 3 Elani van Zyl, 4 Michelle Davis, 5 Loamie Homsek.

Morgan Piek OFM Sport

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