WORLD CHAMP ULTRA-RUNNERS PAIR UP WITH SA CHAMPS
09 November 2020
When South African champion Christiaan Greyling lines up on Saturday (November 14) for the SkyRun 100 against World Champion Spanish Pere Aurell, the two runners will have more than just a good sense of how their competition will fare, having lived and trained side-by-side for the past 3 weeks.
Both are married to professional ultra-runners, champions in their own right, and Pere and his Dutch wife Ragna Debats, have been staying in Stellenbosch with Christiaan and his wife Landie while on their “Rolling Mountains” world tour, where they aimed to run trail runs on every continent. The Covid-19 pandemic saw them isolating in Costa Rica from March to May, but their travels began again in July 2020.
The foreign runners swept the boards at last weekend’s 2020 Otter African Trail Run, with Pere winning the Men’s race and Ragna winning the ladies Vets.
The Greylings, who met Ragna and Pere at the Trans Alpine Race in Europe in 2015, understand the pressures of being one half of a professional athletic outfit. “Ragna and Pere are both our competition and our friends. Landie and I are thrilled to be sharing South Africa’s trail running hotspots with them, including Grootvadersbosch, Garden Route, Samara game reserve, Drakensberg, Stellenbosch, Cederberg,” said Christiaan.
Christiaan, whose main focus is the SkyRun 100, will line up against Pere in Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape. Both men are serious contenders for the podium – Christiaan won it in 2016 and came third the last time he competed, in 2017.
“It’s going to be a mental battle this year like always and it’s all about planning, hydration nutrition. I learned lessons from my previous Heaven to Hell Mountain Marathon and I hope to take those lessons forward to SkyRun this year,” Christiaan said.
“The SkyRun is not just any race. When you talk to people about it they all say the same thing, that it is an adventure and that the places you pass are unique and difficult. I want to enjoy this adventure and be able to explain my version,” Pere said.
“I can’t wait to run the SkyRun 100 after all the exciting stories I’ve heard about it! I think the Drakensberg is a magical mountain, and Skyrun seems just as dreamy and inviting as well as daunting. Surely it will transmit senses of freedom, spirit, solitude and happiness. I am ready to enjoy all the beautiful landscapes that are awaiting me!” Ragna said.
Landie, a three-time winner of the SkyRun 100, will not be pulling on her running shoes this year as she is six months pregnant, but will look after Ragna and Pere’s five year-old daughter Onna as Ragna tackles the trails.
The couple are making a short documentary on each continent they visit, and South Africa will feature in episode 5 of Rolling Mountains, available on www.rolling-mountains.com
More about Pere and Ragna’s world trip
Pere and Ragna are travelling around the world making a short documentary of around 25minutes on each continent. After the conclusion of their journey, they will make a complete film of the whole trip which will be screened on the social networks, called Kiss the Mountain and on television channels, with Spain and Netherlands confirmed. The prologue and the first three episodes are available at www.rolling-mountains.com and the fourth episode will be out soon.
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