You need to look no further than B’Sorah for that ultimate running compilation of bushveld diversity, from riverside trails and forest, to open savanna.  Underfoot it’s a kaleidoscope of fast open, to rocky hilltops and everything in between. The poplar forest closes out the final trails along which you need the footwork of Springbok winger to avoid the close packed trees.  As a stage for the closing race in the GSTS18, you could get no better.

Like the weather, the racing was hot.  For the most part, the leaders in the Series had done what they had to secure the Series win, but in many instances, second and third places were to go down to the wire. In the Championship Open category, ‘just’ 43 seconds (or 3.4sec/km) was the closing difference in the race for 3rd place, with Andrew Currie nabbing the final spot on the podium from Stephen Atkinson.  But by far the closest was the 3 second gap separating 4th & 5th in the Veteran men's Championship race, with Carl Sandrock the victor over Loic Cadion and in doing so stealing the final step on the podium from his rival.

In the Challenge Series, the closest battle was in the Masters race, with Gerrie Coetzee and Johnie Jonker tying up the Series on points at the line, leaving us to separate gold and silver based on their acculative time.  After crunching the numbers, Gerrie Coetzee proved the victor by just 1 minute 32 seconds over the four race series.

Check out the overall Gauteng Summer Trail Series® results here

The final race

It was another commanding run by Bernard van der Kuil, taking line honours in the 12.8km in 58:01.  Charging in to take second over the line was a rampant Marelize Retief, finishing only 4 minutes behind Bernard.  Tim Price rounded out the top three over the line in 1:02:33. Leon Scholtz completed the men’s podium with a 4th place over the line, closely followed by Sandra Mansvelder in 5th to take 2nd in the ladies race in 1:04:33.  Kerryn Prowse completed the ladies podium in 1:16:09.

The master men’s podium was separated by 20 seconds, with Leon Limper snatching the win from Douw O’Kelly by 12 seconds in 1:10:31 (10th overall), who in turn pipped the eventual 2018 Masters Champion Gert Steyn by only 8 seconds.

In the 6.6km Challenge route is was Rob Donkin in first in 29:02, followed closely by 14 year old ‘Minimee’ category Series champion Tiaan Dorfling in 30:58. Johan Kruger made the top three in 31:03.  Special mention needs to be made of 10 year old ‘Peewee’ Series Champion Scott Williamson and 11 year old Lean Scholtz finishing 4th and 5th over the line respectively. Lean’s race result secured him a matching 2nd place in the hotly contested ‘Minimee’ competition, behind a rampant Tiaan Dorfling - super impressive given he is 3 years his junior!

Charine Kruger led the ladies race in the Challenge, breaking the tape in 32:39.  Leanri Williams and Dominique Walters concluded the ladies over the line podium. 12 year old Claire Fisher ran in an impressive 17th overall and 3rd in her ‘Minimee’ category.  This final result secured her 3rd place in the overall Series, snatching the final podium place from Thina Makapela by 1 point! Just five seconds behind Claire in the final race was 14 year old Kaylen Scholtz. Christa Coetzee took charge of the Masters ladies race, winning in 40:08, some 4 minutes ahead of Sue Botha.  The veteran ladies race was separated by a mere 3 seconds, with Marinette le Roux the victor over Elke Thompson in 42:24.

Johan Kruger, Chris Dorfling and Craig Marshal were all separated by only 52 seconds in the battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively in the Veteran mens race, 2 minutes back from overall race winner Rob Donkin.  The open category was even closer, with just 46 seconds separating the podium, with Ryan Marshall, Ryan Walters and Daniel van der Walt finishing in that order.

Check out the final race results here

Full Facebook photo album

That’s a wrap then

A huge thank you to our sponsors and partners Jaybird, Raidlight, Steenberg, Pepsi Max and Petzl (sunset race) for their amazing support.

Last but definitely not least, a huge thank you to all of you for your support and participation!  If you have any comments or feedback please feel free to email info@wildrunner.co.za and if you took pictures or have stories to share please include either @wildrunnerza or the hashtag #GSTS18 on your posts so we can like and share!  

The Gauteng Summer Trail Series® was brought to you by Wildrunner

As so it was as civil twilight faded to darkness, we released the brave onto the tracks and trails of the magnificent Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in race 3 of the Gauteng Summer Trail Series®.  The weather for running could not have been more sublime, with clear skies and a chilly breeze keeping the body temperature down on the big climbs!

For both the 11 and 5 km routes it was the same first 2.2km, up up and up...180m of it to be precise.  Past the waterfall and onto the ridgeline above. From the split it was more rocky trails for the 11km runners and a steep descent back onto the garden trails for the 5km.  At the finish line the hills looked for all like fairy lights on a Christmas tree as the snake of runners made their way around their respective routes. There was a special treat near the end with a duck through the bird hide and surrounding forests, adding that eerie feeling to an otherwise open sky run!

Two familiar faces appeared out of the darkness to break the tape in their respective courses, Bernard van der Kuil winning the 11km in 58:57 and Tiaan Dorfling (14 yrs) winning the 5km in 26:10.  Bernard was chased hard by Craig Makapela who came in just over a minute behind. Matthew Bodenstein also gave Tiaan a hard push in the 5km, finishing less than a minute back. Piers Pirow and Stuart Phipson (14 yrs)  rounded out the podium in the 11 and 5 km respectively.

Marelize Retief took her seemingly million candle light lighthouse headlamp for a run and as usual gave majority of the 11km field a lesson in uphill running, closing out at the turn in 4th place overall.  Marelize finished in 7th overall in 1:04:04. Michel Botha ran in second in 1:13:39 and Michaela Sra’Krova took third just under a minute back.

14 year old Thina Makapela took charge of the ladies race in the 5km, finishing 13th overall in 36:32.  Leanri Williamson took second in 38:56 and 12 year old Lana Classens in 3rd in 40:08.

25 kids under the age of 14 years took to the dark trails, relishing in this adventure!  Special shout out to our youngest runner, 7 year old Emma Greubel, finishing 79th out of 102 runners and only 35 seconds behind the second youngest runner, 8 year old Riche Jonas.  

Up front however it was the usual all guns blazing with the top four in the ‘Peewee’ category (<10 year of age) all finishing within a minute of each other.  Scott Williamson (10 yrs) took line honours in 32:38, with Reece Hodgkinson and Hayden Currie in hot pursuit.

In the 11-14 year ‘Minimee’ category 11 year old Lean Scholtz rounded out his category podium in 30:13 (and a 4th place over the line!), preceded only by his fellow speedsters Tiaan Dorfling and Stuart Phipson.

Top 20 images

Full Album 

Check out the full results here

With three races in the bag, it’s crunch time in the GSTS18 Championship and Challenge!  Check out the Series results here

B’sorah magic
Concluding the GSTS18 is the final run out at a crowd favorite - the magnificent forests and bushveld trails of B’sorah!  It’s on like donkey kong this Sunday, 11th Nov. Don’t miss out and either pre enter on Trail Series® or on the day.  Registration opens at 5am with race start at 7am.  

A huge thank you to Walter Sisulu Gardens and of course all our power sponsors, Jaybird, Raidlight, Pepsi Max and Petzl!

The Trail Series® is proudly brought to you by Wildrunner.