Reilly wins Whale of Trail

The Merrell Whale of Trail, a 53km ultra trail set in the pristine De Hoop Nature Reserve, saw a star-studded cast of South Africa’s top runners line up at the start on Saturday 18 August. With a hefty cash injection from new sponsors, PSG Wealth, and an additional performance bonus for breaking the existing course record, the top runners were competing for a cumulative R100 000.

The iconic five-day hiking route is offered as a challenge to runners capable of embracing all 53km and 1900m elevation of spectacular mountain fynbos, technical rocky ridgelines, sandy beach stretches and endless, mind-blowingly beautiful vistas in one day.

Cape Town’s Kane Reilly took off in front from Potberg, forming a breakaway group with Robbie Rorich and Bernard Rukadza. The three had established a seven-minute lead by the first checkpoint (CP), 14km in, arriving at the CP well within record time. By the next CP, Rukadza had made a move into second place, with Rorich hanging on to third, but dropping off the pace.

“The race really started when we hit the beach,” says Rukadza. From the halfway point, where the trail meets the coastline, Rukadza continued to chase, working to slowly lessen the gap between himself and Reilly.

Reilly, who got off to a blistering start, maintained his lead and pace through to the coastline. “The first half of the Whale of Trail really invites fast, smooth running. I knew I was racing Bernard (Rukadza), so I wanted to use the mountainous section to get ahead. That was my plan, but when we started it ended up being such an enjoyable trail to run that we maybe went a bit faster than we planned.”

Like Rukadza, Reilly agrees that the beach section was tough.

“I just thought about people that do those long runs across deserts and get through it.” Despite closing the gap from 8min to 4.5min, Rukadza just couldn’t catch Reilly, and it was Reilly who crossed the line first, obliterating the existing course record and earning himself the record bonus from De Hoop Collection. Reilly finished in a time of 04:39:52 and Rukadza in 04:44:15.

Rorich was overtaken by Christiaan Greyling with 7km to go. Greyling, who finished second last year, maintained third position for the final 7km, finishing and earning the last position on the podium in a time of 05:06:28.

In the women’s race, Vredekloof resident Meg Mackenzie established and maintained a lead from the start through to the finish, unrivalled from the beginning. “Despite Tweet (Graham Bird) warning me against it, my plan was to climb hard in the first half on the mountains, putting my EU experience to good use, and hopefully getting a bit of a lead on the competition.”

Mackenzie continued to slowly increase the gap between herself and the second and third places, edging her way up into the overall top 10. “The second half was much tougher than I expected – there wasn’t any flat! It was unexpectedly tough.” While she soldiered on across the beach, the race for second and third between Karine Bezuidenhout and Annelise Scholtz heated up.

Mackenzie crossed the line first, outside of the record in a time of 05:50:55. Bezuidenhout, in a time of 06:16:33, snuck in just ahead of Scholtz in 06:17:54 .

Winning Whale of Trail was a special moment for Mackenzie, who crossed the line in typical Meg-style, grinning from ear to ear. “From the get go I was just grinning the whole race, I was just so happy to be home. Just the vibe, the classic South African hospitality, the good food and unbelievable beauty – everything. It always feels good to win on home soil!

“Tweet and Tatum put on an unbelievable event, definitely something everyone should put on their race bucket list.”

It wasn’t only Mackenzie who was blown away by the event and location. “The ocean was absolutely unbelievable. At one point, where the trail joins the coast at Noetsie, I actually was forced to stop and just look at it. There was a stupid amount of whales and the trails are really just something to write home about,” says Reilly.

Of the 83 entrants, only one failed to finish the daunting trail, with each finisher gushing about a different element of the scenic ultra trail through the reserve.

“For us, this event is about all the runners. From Kane to Hirayama Isao who crossed the line in 10:59:48 and all the runners in between – each one achieving their own personal triumphs over the 53km. To see the sense of achievement and enjoyment on each finisher’s face is what makes this event very special for us,” says race director Graham Bird.

The Merrell Whale of Trail, a 53km ultra trail set in the pristine De Hoop Nature Reserve, saw a star-studded cast of South Africa’s top runners line up at the start on Saturday 18 August. With a hefty cash injection from new sponsors, PSG Wealth, and an additional performance bonus for breaking the existing course record, the top runners were competing for a cumulative R100 000.

The iconic five-day hiking route is offered as a challenge to runners capable of embracing all 53km and 1900m elevation of spectacular mountain fynbos, technical rocky ridgelines, sandy beach stretches and endless, mind-blowingly beautiful vistas in one day.

Cape Town’s Kane Reilly took off in front from Potberg, forming a breakaway group with Robbie Rorich and Bernard Rukadza. The three had established a seven-minute lead by the first checkpoint (CP), 14km in, arriving at the CP well within record time. By the next CP, Rukadza had made a move into second place, with Rorich hanging on to third, but dropping off the pace.

“The race really started when we hit the beach,” says Rukadza. From the halfway point, where the trail meets the coastline, Rukadza continued to chase, working to slowly lessen the gap between himself and Reilly.

Reilly, who got off to a blistering start, maintained his lead and pace through to the coastline. “The first half of the Whale of Trail really invites fast, smooth running. I knew I was racing Bernard (Rukadza), so I wanted to use the mountainous section to get ahead. That was my plan, but when we started it ended up being such an enjoyable trail to run that we maybe went a bit faster than we planned.”

Like Rukadza, Reilly agrees that the beach section was tough.

“I just thought about people that do those long runs across deserts and get through it.” Despite closing the gap from 8min to 4.5min, Rukadza just couldn’t catch Reilly, and it was Reilly who crossed the line first, obliterating the existing course record and earning himself the record bonus from De Hoop Collection. Reilly finished in a time of 04:39:52 and Rukadza in 04:44:15.

Rorich was overtaken by Christiaan Greyling with 7km to go. Greyling, who finished second last year, maintained third position for the final 7km, finishing and earning the last position on the podium in a time of 05:06:28.

In the women’s race, Vredekloof resident Meg Mackenzie established and maintained a lead from the start through to the finish, unrivalled from the beginning. “Despite Tweet (Graham Bird) warning me against it, my plan was to climb hard in the first half on the mountains, putting my EU experience to good use, and hopefully getting a bit of a lead on the competition.”

Mackenzie continued to slowly increase the gap between herself and the second and third places, edging her way up into the overall top 10. “The second half was much tougher than I expected – there wasn’t any flat! It was unexpectedly tough.”

While she soldiered on across the beach, the race for second and third between Karine Bezuidenhout and Annelise Scholtz heated up. Mackenzie crossed the line first, outside of the record in a time of 05:50:55. Bezuidenhout, in a time of 06:16:33, snuck in just ahead of Scholtz in 06:17:54 .

Winning Whale of Trail was a special moment for Mackenzie, who crossed the line in typical Meg-style, grinning from ear to ear. “From the get go I was just grinning the whole race, I was just so happy to be home. Just the vibe, the classic South African hospitality, the good food and unbelievable beauty – everything. It always feels good to win on home soil!

“Tweet and Tatum put on an unbelievable event, definitely something everyone should put on their race bucket list.”

It wasn’t only Mackenzie who was blown away by the event and location. “The ocean was absolutely unbelievable. At one point, where the trail joins the coast at Noetsie, I actually was forced to stop and just look at it. There was a stupid amount of whales and the trails are really just something to write home about,” says Reilly.

Of the 83 entrants, only one failed to finish the daunting trail, with each finisher gushing about a different element of the scenic ultra trail through the reserve.

“For us, this event is about all the runners. From Kane to Hirayama Isao who crossed the line in 10:59:48 and all the runners in between – each one achieving their own personal triumphs over the 53km. To see the sense of achievement and enjoyment on each finisher’s face is what makes this event very special for us,” says race director Graham Bird.

The Merrell Whale of Trail, a 53km ultra trail set in the pristine De Hoop Nature Reserve, saw a star-studded cast of South Africa’s top runners line up at the start on Saturday 18 August. With a hefty cash injection from new sponsors, PSG Wealth, and an additional performance bonus for breaking the existing course record, the top runners were competing for a cumulative R100 000.

The iconic five-day hiking route is offered as a challenge to runners capable of embracing all 53km and 1900m elevation of spectacular mountain fynbos, technical rocky ridgelines, sandy beach stretches and endless, mind-blowingly beautiful vistas in one day.

Cape Town’s Kane Reilly took off in front from Potberg, forming a breakaway group with Robbie Rorich and Bernard Rukadza. The three had established a seven-minute lead by the first checkpoint (CP), 14km in, arriving at the CP well within record time. By the next CP, Rukadza had made a move into second place, with Rorich hanging on to third, but dropping off the pace.

“The race really started when we hit the beach,” says Rukadza. From the halfway point, where the trail meets the coastline, Rukadza continued to chase, working to slowly lessen the gap between himself and Reilly.

Reilly, who got off to a blistering start, maintained his lead and pace through to the coastline. “The first half of the Whale of Trail really invites fast, smooth running. I knew I was racing Bernard (Rukadza), so I wanted to use the mountainous section to get ahead. That was my plan, but when we started it ended up being such an enjoyable trail to run that we maybe went a bit faster than we planned.”

Like Rukadza, Reilly agrees that the beach section was tough.

“I just thought about people that do those long runs across deserts and get through it.” Despite closing the gap from 8min to 4.5min, Rukadza just couldn’t catch Reilly, and it was Reilly who crossed the line first, obliterating the existing course record and earning himself the record bonus from De Hoop Collection. Reilly finished in a time of 04:39:52 and Rukadza in 04:44:15.

Rorich was overtaken by Christiaan Greyling with 7km to go. Greyling, who finished second last year, maintained third position for the final 7km, finishing and earning the last position on the podium in a time of 05:06:28.

In the women’s race, Vredekloof resident Meg Mackenzie established and maintained a lead from the start through to the finish, unrivalled from the beginning. “Despite Tweet (Graham Bird) warning me against it, my plan was to climb hard in the first half on the mountains, putting my EU experience to good use, and hopefully getting a bit of a lead on the competition.”

Mackenzie continued to slowly increase the gap between herself and the second and third places, edging her way up into the overall top 10. “The second half was much tougher than I expected – there wasn’t any flat! It was unexpectedly tough.” While she soldiered on across the beach, the race for second and third between Karine Bezuidenhout and Annelise Scholtz heated up.

Mackenzie crossed the line first, outside of the record in a time of 05:50:55. Bezuidenhout, in a time of 06:16:33, snuck in just ahead of Scholtz in 06:17:54 .

Winning Whale of Trail was a special moment for Mackenzie, who crossed the line in typical Meg-style, grinning from ear to ear. “From the get go I was just grinning the whole race, I was just so happy to be home. Just the vibe, the classic South African hospitality, the good food and unbelievable beauty – everything. It always feels good to win on home soil!

“Tweet and Tatum put on an unbelievable event, definitely something everyone should put on their race bucket list.”

It wasn’t only Mackenzie who was blown away by the event and location. “The ocean was absolutely unbelievable. At one point, where the trail joins the coast at Noetsie, I actually was forced to stop and just look at it. There was a stupid amount of whales and the trails are really just something to write home about,” says Reilly.

Of the 83 entrants, only one failed to finish the daunting trail, with each finisher gushing about a different element of the scenic ultra trail through the reserve.

“For us, this event is about all the runners. From Kane to Hirayama Isao who crossed the line in 10:59:48 and all the runners in between – each one achieving their own personal triumphs over the 53km. To see the sense of achievement and enjoyment on each finisher’s face is what makes this event very special for us,” says race director Graham Bird.

The Merrell Whale of Trail, a 53km ultra trail set in the pristine De Hoop Nature Reserve, saw a star-studded cast of South Africa’s top runners line up at the start on Saturday 18 August. With a hefty cash injection from new sponsors, PSG Wealth, and an additional performance bonus for breaking the existing course record, the top runners were competing for a cumulative R100 000.

The iconic five-day hiking route is offered as a challenge to runners capable of embracing all 53km and 1900m elevation of spectacular mountain fynbos, technical rocky ridgelines, sandy beach stretches and endless, mind-blowingly beautiful vistas in one day.

Cape Town’s Kane Reilly took off in front from Potberg, forming a breakaway group with Robbie Rorich and Bernard Rukadza. The three had established a seven-minute lead by the first checkpoint (CP), 14km in, arriving at the CP well within record time. By the next CP, Rukadza had made a move into second place, with Rorich hanging on to third, but dropping off the pace.

“The race really started when we hit the beach,” says Rukadza. From the halfway point, where the trail meets the coastline, Rukadza continued to chase, working to slowly lessen the gap between himself and Reilly.

“The first half of the Whale of Trail really invites fast, smooth running. I knew I was racing Bernard (Rukadza), so I wanted to use the mountainous section to get ahead. That was my plan, but when we started it ended up being such an enjoyable trail to run that we maybe went a bit faster than we planned.”

Like Rukadza, Reilly agrees that the beach section was tough.

“I just thought about people that do those long runs across deserts and get through it.” Despite closing the gap from 8min to 4.5min, Rukadza just couldn’t catch Reilly, and it was Reilly who crossed the line first, obliterating the existing course record and earning himself the record bonus from De Hoop Collection. Reilly finished in a time of 04:39:52 and Rukadza in 04:44:15.

Rorich was overtaken by Christiaan Greyling with 7km to go. Greyling, who finished second last year, maintained third position for the final 7km, finishing and earning the last position on the podium in a time of 05:06:28.

In the women’s race, Vredekloof resident Meg Mackenzie established and maintained a lead from the start through to the finish, unrivalled from the beginning. “Despite Tweet (Graham Bird) warning me against it, my plan was to climb hard in the first half on the mountains, putting my EU experience to good use, and hopefully getting a bit of a lead on the competition.”

Mackenzie continued to slowly increase the gap between herself and the second and third places, edging her way up into the overall top 10. “The second half was much tougher than I expected – there wasn’t any flat! It was unexpectedly tough.” While she soldiered on across the beach, the race for second and third between Karine Bezuidenhout and Annelise Scholtz heated up.

Mackenzie crossed the line first, outside of the record in a time of 05:50:55. Bezuidenhout, in a time of 06:16:33, snuck in just ahead of Scholtz in 06:17:54 .

Winning Whale of Trail was a special moment for Mackenzie, who crossed the line in typical Meg-style, grinning from ear to ear.

“From the get go I was just grinning the whole race, I was just so happy to be home. Just the vibe, the classic South African hospitality, the good food and unbelievable beauty – everything. It always feels good to win on home soil!”

Of the 83 entrants, only one failed to finish the daunting trail, with each finisher gushing about a different element of the scenic ultra trail through the reserve.

“For us, this event is about all the runners. From Kane to Hirayama Isao who crossed the line in 10:59:48 and all the runners in between – each one achieving their own personal triumphs over the 53km. To see the sense of achievement and enjoyment on each finisher’s face is what makes this event very special for us,” says race director Graham Bird.

The Merrell Whale of Trail, a 53km ultra trail set in the pristine De Hoop Nature Reserve, saw a star-studded cast of South Africa’s top runners line up at the start on Saturday 18 August. With a hefty cash injection from new sponsors, PSG Wealth, and an additional performance bonus for breaking the existing course record, the top runners were competing for a cumulative R100 000.

The iconic five-day hiking route is offered as a challenge to runners capable of embracing all 53km and 1900m elevation of spectacular mountain fynbos, technical rocky ridgelines, sandy beach stretches and endless, mind-blowingly beautiful vistas in one day.

Cape Town’s Kane Reilly took off in front from Potberg, forming a breakaway group with Robbie Rorich and Bernard Rukadza. The three had established a seven-minute lead by the first checkpoint (CP), 14km in, arriving at the CP well within record time. By the next CP, Rukadza had made a move into second place, with Rorich hanging on to third, but dropping off the pace.

“The race really started when we hit the beach,” says Rukadza. From the halfway point, where the trail meets the coastline, Rukadza continued to chase, working to slowly lessen the gap between himself and Reilly.

Reilly, who got off to a blistering start, maintained his lead and pace through to the coastline. “The first half of the Whale of Trail really invites fast, smooth running. I knew I was racing Bernard (Rukadza), so I wanted to use the mountainous section to get ahead. That was my plan, but when we started it ended up being such an enjoyable trail to run that we maybe went a bit faster than we planned.”

Like Rukadza, Reilly agrees that the beach section was tough.

“I just thought about people that do those long runs across deserts and get through it.” Despite closing the gap from 8min to 4.5min, Rukadza just couldn’t catch Reilly, and it was Reilly who crossed the line first, obliterating the existing course record and earning himself the record bonus from De Hoop Collection. Reilly finished in a time of 04:39:52 and Rukadza in 04:44:15.

Rorich was overtaken by Christiaan Greyling with 7km to go. Greyling, who finished second last year, maintained third position for the final 7km, finishing and earning the last position on the podium in a time of 05:06:28.

In the women’s race, Vredekloof resident Meg Mackenzie established and maintained a lead from the start through to the finish, unrivalled from the beginning. “Despite Tweet (Graham Bird) warning me against it, my plan was to climb hard in the first half on the mountains, putting my EU experience to good use, and hopefully getting a bit of a lead on the competition.”

Mackenzie continued to slowly increase the gap between herself and the second and third places, edging her way up into the overall top 10. “The second half was much tougher than I expected – there wasn’t any flat! It was unexpectedly tough.”

While she soldiered on across the beach, the race for second and third between Karine Bezuidenhout and Annelise Scholtz heated up. Mackenzie crossed the line first, outside of the record in a time of 05:50:55. Bezuidenhout, in a time of 06:16:33, snuck in just ahead of Scholtz in 06:17:54 .

Winning Whale of Trail was a special moment for Mackenzie, who crossed the line in typical Meg-style, grinning from ear to ear. “From the get go I was just grinning the whole race, I was just so happy to be home. Just the vibe, the classic South African hospitality, the good food and unbelievable beauty – everything. It always feels good to win on home soil!

“Tweet and Tatum put on an unbelievable event, definitely something everyone should put on their race bucket list.”

It wasn’t only Mackenzie who was blown away by the event and location. “The ocean was absolutely unbelievable. At one point, where the trail joins the coast at Noetsie, I actually was forced to stop and just look at it. There was a stupid amount of whales and the trails are really just something to write home about,” says Reilly.

Of the 83 entrants, only one failed to finish the daunting trail, with each finisher gushing about a different element of the scenic ultra trail through the reserve.

“For us, this event is about all the runners. From Kane to Hirayama Isao who crossed the line in 10:59:48 and all the runners in between – each one achieving their own personal triumphs over the 53km. To see the sense of achievement and enjoyment on each finisher’s face is what makes this event very special for us,” says race director Graham Bird.