Media Release: The KZN Spur Trail Series culminated in an epic finish at the Aloe Wildlife Estate recently as top athletes competed for top spots. Comprised of four long (Championship) and four short (Challenge) courses taking place throughout October at venues in and around Durban, the series drew a strong contingent of runners eager to explore the trails at the four newly selected venues.
Competition was stiff in both the Championship and Challenge courses and, with three of the four races counting towards the final standings, it was a close finish. In the men’s Long Course Championship overall standings, Mandla Zulu achieved top honours, finishing ahead of Jonathan Korb and David van der Veen. Meanwhile, in the women’s Long Course Championship overall standings, national running champ, Puseletso Dladla secured first place ahead of Zoe Papadakis and Kate van der Bank.
Dladla is a strong cross country runner who has represented South Africa in track and field 10 000m in 2010 and travelled to compete in Germany, Mozambique and Reunion Island. Speaking about the event, she was full of praise.
“The series were fantastic as usual,” said Dladla. “It was so well organised and the venues were very exciting. I am so excited to have won the series last year and this year again.”
Dladla said she was now looking for a few weeks down time from racing before starting preparations for next year again.
Papadakis, who is a Fry’s ambassador and has been making a name for herself on the trails, was elated with her finish.
“For me, this series was more about spending time with amazing people and exploring new trails, so I was so happy to have finished second,” she said. Papadakis has been using her performances as a way to promote healthy and ethical living through a plant based lifestyle. She has featured strongly at trail events this year and credited her strong performance to the guidance of her coach, Clinton Hunter from Race Pace Coaching, as well as changing to a plant based lifestyle.
“My coach has been been phenomenal,” she said. “And I also need to thank the team at Fry’s, who have been so amazing in helping me get the message across that you can be healthy and fit and not have to resort to eating animal products.”
In the men’s Short Course Challenge, trail legend, Owen Bengo, bagged the win, finishing ahead of William Dyer and Craig Hallowes. In the women’s Short Course Challenge, Malu Zuma finished top of the log, with Victoria Coetzee in second and Hendrika Liebenberg in third.
The veteran men’s Long Course Championship division saw Grant Cummings finish first, with Donovan van Gelder in second and Ryan Smith in third while, in the veteran ladies, Anita Pohl finished ahead of Sihle Kraai and Leona Lamont respectively.
The master men Long Course Championship saw Martin Birthwhistle in first, with Rammy Govender in second and Gordon Truluck in third and, in the master ladies, Karen Bargate, Alison Chadwick and Kim Robinson rounded off the podium.
The veteran men’s Short Course Challeng division was won by Steven Gossman, with Kevin Williams in second and Wayne Dos Santos Niz in third while, in the masters ladies, Sharon Geeson finished in first, ahead of Charmain Shandu and Adele Wickerson.
The master men’s Short Course Challeng division was won by Patrick Wynne, with Kurt Landsberg in second and Jacques de Rauvill in third. The Master ladies was rounded off with Suzanne Dos Santos Niz in first place, with Wendy Constantine in second and Adrienne Champion in third.