Hugo blitzes Triple Challenge
If possession is nine tenths of the law, then Dan Hugo has certainly made the Triple Challenge his own, taking his fifth consecutive win in the event’s nine year history.
A cool but dry morning greeted a strong field of multisporters who lined up for the start at the top of Polly Shortts just outside Pietermaritzburg. It was the Change A Life contingent of Eric Zondi, Nhlanhle Cele and Lucas Mthalane who set the pace over the 21km trail run to arrive at the first transition in Camperdown in just over one hour, twenty-two minutes. Defending champ Hugo looked comfortable amongst the lead pack and made his intentions clear once onto the testing 54km mountain bike leg down to Inanda Dam.
Being the only individual athlete to break the two hour mark on the bike leg (1h55.04) meant Hugo led onto the final 18km paddling leg with a secure margin over the rest of the field. Despite having only returned from an intense racing season in the States two day’s prior, Hugo displayed true professionalism as he paddled home to his fifth consecutive victory at the Triple Challenge, making him the most prolific winner of the event which will celebrate a decade next year.
In a repeat of last year, Zondi claimed a well deserved second place overall – leading home team mates Cele in third and Kwanda Mhlophe in fourth. Mhlophe clocked the fastest paddle split of one hour fifty-three minutes. Gauteng athlete Gertjie Harmse concluded a consistent race in fifth place overall.
The women’s multisport race belonged to Jeannie Bomford (USN) who led from the start to claim the honours in a time of six hours, six minutes and 53 seconds to finish eleventh overall. Defending champ Jean Hackland (Team Jeep) was all smiles across the finish line in second place while Hillary Pitchford placed third.
The Triple Challenge Multi-X (duathlon) event, which was introduced two years ago, has now superceded the multisport event and attracted some of the country’s top contenders. With ten minutes between the top five men home, the racing was intense – but the day belonged to Justin Porteous (Future Life) who dug deep over the final 6km trail run to break the tape just under four hours (3h59.14). Newcomer John Ntuli (Change A Life) showed exceptional potential to place second ahead of defending champ Raoul de Jongh. Cas van Aardenne (Team Jeep) and Stuart McConnachie (New Balance) were fourth and fifth respectively.
Cape Town’s Hanlie Booyens (Team Jeep) – undoubtedly SA’s most versatile and talented woman multisporter – added another title to her long list when she took the honours in the women’s Multi-X race, to lead home a classy women’s field. Kerry Koen (Team Jeep), one of the country’s rising marathon stars and defending champ, led the race over the first run leg before being caught by Booyens on the bike. Koen ran home to second while Sue Chapman made a strong comeback to top level racing as she placed a deserved third.
RESULTS – MULTISPORT, Men overall: D Hugo 5h15.56, E Zondi 5h33.49, N Cele 5h36.01. Women: J Bomford 6h06.53, J Hackland 6h23.34, H Pitchford 7h45.16.
MULTI-X, Men overall: J Porteous 3h59.14, J Ntuli 4h01.03, R de Jongh 4h01.23.
Women: H Booyens 4h28.39, K Koen 4h41.36, S Chapman 4h47.23.