Samantha Reilly won her biggest trail title at the 2023 Cape Town Trail Marathon; on Saturday, 14 October. The Cape Town local was joined atop the 46 kilometre distance podium by Daniel Claassen, who defeated Kane Reilly to earn his first victory in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon’s trail race. In the half-marathon distance, Siboniso Soldaka and Lijan Burger ran to commanding victories too.
The absence of a cooling breeze may have helped Adriaan Wildschutt run to a new course record in the 10 kilometre Peace Race, on the road, but for the trail runners the heat was stifling. “It was very hot out there!” Kane Reilly emphasised. This fact was further illustrated by Claassen needing to be taken to the race medical centre for observation after he crossed the finish line.
Samantha Reilly suffered with the heat too, but not unduly. “I came into the race with the intention of using it for a training run, for a 100 kilometre race in December,” she confessed. “Taryn [King] and I started conservatively, but then on the climb up Platteklip Gorge I decided to just go at my own pace. I managed to climb into the lead there and then ran my own race.”
“I wasn’t keeping an eye on my splits, but I felt like I was slowing up towards the end,” Samantha Reilly added. “I couldn’t really go much faster though, so I thought if someone catches me, they can win it because then they were stronger on the day. To hang on, despite nearly starting to cramp, and win was quite a surprise. I’m a bit overwhelmed to be honest…”
Samantha Reilly’s winning time was 5 hours, 9 minutes and 11 seconds, which was 14 minutes and 19 seconds faster than Catherine Williamson. The second-place finisher is enjoying a second career as a trail runner, having raced at the sharp end of mountain biking for nearly two decades. Defending champion, Landie Greyling rounded off the women’s podium, returning to the stadium after what was difficult day in the office for her.
In the men’s 46 kilometre race, Claassen came from sixth with a strong run through the return leg of the course. Though he left everything out on the route and collapsed over the finish line. Heat and dehydration had taken their toll, but had not prevented him from claiming victory.
“Daniel [Classen] was the strongest runner on the day and really deserved his victory,” second place finisher Kane Reilly praised. “It was tough out there,” Robbie Rorich, who finished third, added. “The positive for me was that I had my rough moments out on course. I came through them and was able to finish strong and feeling good about my efforts in the race.”
Classen recovered for prize giving, where he joined Kane Reilly and Rorich on the podium. His time for the 2023 Cape Town Trail Marathon was 4 hours, 25 minutes and 8 seconds. Kane Reilly was 2 minutes and 48 seconds off Classen’s pace, with Rorich another 9 minutes and 11 seconds back.
In the 22 kilometre race Burger held off Rebecca Kohne to reclaim the title she won in 2021. “I hadn’t seen Rebecca [Kohne] for a while, so we ran together for the first bit,” Burger smiled. “Then she dropped me on the climb to the highest point of the course. I managed to keep her in sight and passed her when we hit the tar.”
“My legs were pretty tired after the Otter African Trail Run,” Burger elaborated. “I could feel I was hunching up and not running smoothly in the closing kilometres. And then the route changed a bit this year too, with a surprise steep climb with 5 kilometres to go. It hurt, but I’m happy to take the win. It was a super day out; really warm, no wind and beautiful sea views.”
Burger’s winning margin was 1 minute and 46 seconds, over Kohne. Her time was 1 hour, 48 minutes and 4 seconds, 6 minutes faster than her 2021 victory on a slightly different course. Shaen MacDevitt joined the pair on the podium, running home in just under 2 hours; 11 minutes and 12 seconds after the winner.
The men’s 22 kilometre race was an even faster affair. Even German trail running star, Marcel Höche was blown away by Soldaka. The 3 000 metre steeple chase specialist took advantage of the fast and relatively non-technical course to run a 4:04 average pace. Unlike the trail marathon competitors who were out into the heat of the day, the top half-marathon athletes were home in around 90 minutes. This meant that the heat was not as impactful on their race.
Soldaka’s winning time was 1 hour, 28 minutes and 49 seconds, which was also faster than his previous best effort on 22 kilometre race route. Like Burger, Soldaka was nearly 6 minutes faster on the updated course, which has more metres of elevation gain than the route used for 2021 and 2022. Höche was 2 minutes and 57 behind in second. Underson Ngube completed the category podium, 4 minutes and 7 seconds after Soldaka.
Trail running fans can relive the action from the 2023 Cape Town Trail Marathon by liking the race’s Facebook page, Cape Town Trail Marathon, or following @capetowntrailmarathon on Instagram. Further information can be found at www.capetowntrailmarathon.com, or by clicking through to www.capetownmarathon.com where running fans can read all about the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
2023 Cape Town Trail Marathon Results
- Daniel Claassen (4:25:08)
- Kane Reilly (4:27:55 | +2:48)
- Robbie Rorich (4:37:06 | + 11:59)
- Samantha Reilly (5:09:11)
- Catherine Williamson (5:23:29 | +14:19)
- Landie Greyling (5:35:56 | +26:46)
- Siboniso Soldaka (1:28:49)
- Marcel Höche (1:31:45 | +2:57)
- Underson Ngube (1:32:55 | +4:07)
- Lijan Burger (1:48:04)
- Rebecca Kohne (1:49:50 | +1:46)
- Shaen MacDevitt (1:59:16 | +11:12)
To view the full results, click here.