100-mile warriors

25 May 2009

William RobinsonOn 2 May, 21 extreme marathoners set out on a mission to conquer 100 miles of rugged terrain. Of the twelve finishers, two of the top three were from UCT.

William Robinson, a postgraduate student in the mathematics department, finished second (19:51) and cardiologist Professor Andrzej 'AO' Okreglicki finished third (23:06). They were running the 5th Addo 100 Miler, South Africa's only 100-mile trail run, in the Addo Elephant National Park.

"Yes, one hundred miles is a long way," said first-timer Robinson. This was double the length of his previous longest trail run. Okreglicki, on the other hand, has run every one, and won it too, in 2007.

The 100-mile race, equal to almost four marathons, with 19 check points, 8 to 11km apart, is not for the faint-hearted. At 06h00 on Saturday runners started their trek through some winding passes, sidestepping rocks in their way, to complete the course by Sunday - in less than 24 hours.

"The sun rose, the sun set; the moon rose, the moon set," Robinson said.

But completing such an iconic race is worth the effort. After all, this is about going for a run "miles away from the urban hum of traffic and people and enjoying the bushveld serenity of one of South Africa's biggest national parks".

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