THE Washie 100 Miler had a new winner in Mcebisi Yose last Saturday morning, who finished in 15:54:05.
Yose was a previous three-time runner-up. The first woman home was Megan Davey of Johannesburg, taking her third win in 18:25:50.
Of 98 entrants who set out from Port Alfred in chilly conditions last Friday evening, 80 made it to the finish line in East London within the 26 hour cut-off time. Twenty-five finishers were women, up from 10 last year.
The race drew international participants from the USA, France and Argentina.
“We would have had a guy from Malawi but he had an injury and pulled out,” said Martin Neethling, the head of the Athletes Tracking Team who has been involved with the Washie for six years.
“It was good field. Not the most we’ve ever had – that was 110 a few years ago.”
The youngest runner was 20 and two veterans did their 26th race.
Varying reasons draw runners to participate in this gruelling ultra-marathon, aside from those looking for a challenge.
Among the entrants were two women from Kimberley who were running for charity, collecting blankets for the less privileged in and around the Northern Cape.
“We want to collect 160 000 blankets – one blanket per metre of this race,” said Surien van Litsenborgh. They were almost halfway there by the start of the Washie.
Anthony Bold of Pretoria ran the race in memory of Riana van Niekerk, a friend and gold medallist in the Comrades who died from pancreatic cancer.
It was Bold’s first time running the Washie, having seconded the race in 2013. A veteran of 17 Comrades marathons and the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon 250km race run over seven days, he nevertheless found the prospect of the 100-miler daunting.
Edward Potzee of Cape Town, running his first Washie, said he was doing it for the “joy of running”.