Record tumbles at Powertraveller 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge

MOOLMANSHOEK - Thabang Madiba won the Powertraveller 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge in a time of 02:40:54 on Saturday 26 September. Madiba’s time was some two minutes faster than the previous record set by Ryan Sandes, however, what made the time that much more remarkable was that it was set on the debut ‘reverse’ run of the iconic route. Madiba edged out defending champion, local farm labourer, Sampie Makoekoe, who also finished under the original record time.

“I feel really good,” said an ecstatic Madiba after the race. “It was my third attempt. The first one I was out of the top 10, on the second I was 30 seconds behind Sampie so winning and setting the fastest time is so good for me and it shows that my preparation for Otter is in good shape,” he said.

“I’d love to come back next year and set a new record on the classic route as well,” Madiba said.

The women’s race proved as tightly contested as the men’s, with Georgina Ayre edging out Jackie Moore by just over a minute, for the win.

“It was the first time we ran 4 Peaks in reverse,” said course designer Adrian Saffy from Pure Adventures. Saffy, who also acts as sweeper on the day, commented that the alternate route ran a a bit tougher than the original. “The descents were sketchy and gnarly and also to choose your line for certain sections was a total 180, even I made a few small navigational errors out there,” he said. 

The 24-kilometre route takes in four iconic mountain peaks in the slog up, over and along the mountain bowl that cradles Moolmanshoek Nature Reserve in the Eastern Free State. The event is known for its scenery, spectacular ridge running and toughness.

“It was perfect conditions for proper racing early on - not too hot, with a cool breeze and from the times you can see the guys really motored out there,” he said. “However it did get very hot later on and the back-markers suffered a fair amount.”

“The weather was perfect in the sense that we didn't have any big winds or other major concerns,” agreed race director, Mike de Haast. “It was very hot, which effected the back markers immensely, but in general was one of the better days to be out there.”

The institution of the ‘reverse’ route will now be used on alternate years. For more information and full results, go to 4peaks.co.za.

Top Men: 1. Thabang Madiba 2. Sampie Makoekoe 3. Chabeli Nyedimane

Top Women: 1. Georgina Ayre 2. Jackie Moore 3. Natasja Kask

Images: Thabang Madiba by Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar