Day 2 of the Wildcoast Wildrun Departure 1 2016

Day 2 on the Wild Coast dawned bright and warm with conditions looking beautiful, for the first batch of runners who had an early start, at 6:30. Batches left at 30 minute intervals after that, giving all of the runners a chance to get to know each other and check out the ‘gazelles’ as they loped past, having started last.

Ahmed Mahomed was first in to ACP at the 22.9kms mark, but Mark Middleton was hot on his heels, having chased down the rest of the pack already. Mags Wright and Neal Markham were only 1 minute behind Mark at this point, with Stijn Laenen cruising along just behind them.

Early conditions did not lie and it was a superb day for running, making for easy river crossings. The mighty Mbhashe River is 2.5kms from day twos’ finish at the Haven Hotel and the last big river to cross in the event. Once Mark caught Ahmed he stayed in the lead and his knowledge of the route, having done the coast on a number of previous occasions and last year mostly in the dark during the Wildcoast Wildrun Non-Stop event, was no doubt a useful advantage.

Stijn and Neal were not far behind, however, and finished together only 5 and a half minutes after Mark. This could make tomorrow an interesting run, although current standings after two days of racing put Mark about 14 minutes ahead of Neal and 21 minutes ahead of Stijn. At this stage, it seems the race is wrapped up by Middleton, and the real race tomorrow will be between Neal and Stijn for second!

In the ladies race, Mags took the lead early on and kept it that way, despite a flare-up of her achillies injury just after leaving the ACP, which undoubtedly slowed her down somewhat for the remainder of the run. Tasha Botha, on course to complete her fifth Wildcoast Wildrun this year, ran in strong to the ACP and was in second place at that stage. Jenny Janisch, second place to Mags on day 1, appeared to be slowing down and was one of the last to get to the ACP today. Something must have been in the water though, as she found her legs and picked up speed after the ACP and maintained her second place on day 2 as well. This puts Mags and Jenny in first and second in the race so far, with 9:13:34 and 9:57:01 respectively. Not far behind today was Tasha Botha again, only five minutes of Jenny and everything to play for tomorrow on the final day. Tasha’s route experience may likewise win the day tomorrow, needing to gain just 20 minutes on Jenny to put her in second overall. As with the men, however, it looks like Mags has the ladies race signed and sealed. 

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