It isn’t marketed as a race. As part of the Wildrun® Africa portfolio, it is a three-day boutique running holiday along South Africa’s Wild Coast; a slice of unfenced coastal paradise that traverses the rural homeland of the isiXhosa people and takes runners on the journey of a lifetime.
However, curiosity is a formidable force, and the organising team at Wildrunner have always wondered just how fast an individual could manage the 112km distance between Kei Mouth on day 1, and Hole in the Wall at the close of day 3. A substantial prize purse of R25 000 is the carrot, and this year, the long-standing course records for both men and women were taken in absolute style.
Josh Covenant Chigome became the first to run sub 10hrs, 09:57:49. He has broken the 2010 Cas van Ardenne's record of 10:06:50. He now holds the day one record of 3:46:38 and the second fastest day three record of 03:01:54. Bennie Roux retains the day 3 record of 03:01:25.
Josh Covenant Chigome
Marelise Nicolette Retief brought the overall women’s course record to 11:12:31, breaking Chantal Nienabers 2011 record of 11:31:30. She also sets a new day 3 record of 03:15:49. The 4th fastest day 3 time ever!
Marelise Nicolette Retief
Mother Nature plays a huge role when it comes to running the course at pace, with head winds being a major threat. There are also plenty of clever tricks and ways to navigate the unmarked route to achieve optimal times. Following cattle tracks rather than jeep tracks, for example, because cattle always seek out the shortest route! Switching from sand to rocks on certain sections or taking a tiger line down a hill would all contribute to the outcome.
The fastest route, year on year, is generally determined by on-the-day tactics, monitoring both the weather and tides, and playing to personal strengths on the varied terrain.
With the bar now categorically raised, it will be interesting to see who challenges these new course records in years to come. This certainly was a wild way to celebrate the 10th running of the Wildcoast Wildrun®.