A Year for the Record Books - Global Pandemic Cannot Hold Back Mountain Runners
While 2020 may go down in the record books for all of the wrong reasons, the 2020 K-Way Skyrun has made sure it also goes down in the history books for all of the right reasons. Perfect running conditions saw multiple records fall and showed just how dominant the ladies can be in the mountains!
For the first time in the 24 year history of the race a foreigner has taken podium position for the 100km route. Spaniard, Pere Aurell Bove took 1st place in time of 13hrs 56min 43sec; 2019 K-Way SkyRun champion and local favourite, Lucky Miya, took 2nd place in a time of 13hrs 59min 39sec, with Pere’s partner and 2018 World Skyrunning Champion, Ragna Debats taking 3rd place and setting a new ladies course record in a time of 14hrs 21min 23sec.
“I had a lot of fun up until 60km, then I really started to struggle with my breathing, so I had to sit down a few times, but at least I got to admire the incredible landscape,” says winner, Pere Aurell Bove. “At 80km I was about to abandon the race, but managed to pull myself together and got to win this amazing race!”
“I absolutely loved this race!” says ladies winner, Ragna Debats. “Self-navigating was very new to me, and I managed to take the wrong path a few times, but the views and the landscape out here are so spectacular it makes the race easy on the mind!”
Ragna and Pere are almost at the end of their year long journey around the world, where they have visited 7 continents, while competing in 9 of the world’s toughest mountain races.
Lucky’s 2nd place comes as his 2nd race after recovering from Covid19 earlier this year. “We went out fast early and struggled to pace ourselves – we definitely paid for this in the tougher parts of the race, but we were both able to recover well and finish strong,” says Lucky. “I am very happy with my result for this year!”
The 65km race was still dominated by the South Africans with Simon Tshabalala took podium position in a time of 8hrs 37min 48sec, beating AJ Calitz’s previous course record of 8hrs 40min. Second place went to Quintin van Heerden in a time of 9hrs 58min 10sec, with Benjamin van Niekerk in 3rd place in 10hrs 41min 54sec.
"The race was great, but it was hot! It was my first time running SkyRun and doing self-navigation, so I have to say a big thanks to Jock Green who helped me a lot on the course,” says Simon. “I'm happy with my win and I'd like to thank my coach Lucky Miya for his help and insight.”
The ladies race for the 65km route was won by Deanné Horn (4th overall), setting a new course record of 10hrs 47min 19sec. “Today I once again realised how blessed I am to be able to run, you can so clearly see the hand of God in these beautiful mountains!” says Deanné. “It was hard, and the self-navigation was tough, but I'm thrilled to have won, especially as it was my first Skyrun."
Second place went to Trude Carstens (5th overall) in a time of 11hrs 18min 19sec with 3rd place going to Johanet Cilliers (6th place overall) in a time of 11hrs 25min 23sec.
The 38km route was won by Skippy Claassens in 05hrs 27min 51sec, with Bryan Mclagan in 2nd place in 06hrs 04min 10sec and Ben Labuschagne in 3rd in 06hrs 36min 05sec. The ladies race was won by Elise Wiese in 07hrs 07min 01sec, Henriette Nieuwenhuizen in 2nd place in 07hrs 33min 30sec and Marlize Bosch in 3rd place in 07hrs 33min 38sec.
“In the few days leading up to Skyrun, we had a lot of rain predicted, so we were sure we were going to be in for a wet one this year, but fortunately the weather played along and we had a fabulous day out in the mountains today,” says Race Organiser, Mike de Haast from Pure Adventures. “It was a great duel upfront between Lucky and Pere, who were going at it hammer and tong, and by their own admission a bit too fast at the beginning, which they paid for in the second half. Ragna had an amazing race, smashing the women’s record which is just incredible on this course finishing 3rd overall.”