NEW ZEALAND, SOUTH ISLAND - Stellenbosch local, Robyn Owen (Best4Sports/ Jeep / Salomon) is on top of the world after the 27-year-old multisport sensation raced to victory in the World Multisport Championships at the Kathmandu Longest Day Coast to Coast this past weekend. The Kathmandu Coast to Coast is an iconic multisport event based in the South Island of New Zealand. Held every February, the race starts at Kumara Beach on New Zealand’s West Coast, and traverses the width of the South Island, crossing the main divide, finishing on the East Coast at the Pier on New Brighton Beach in Christchurch. Across six stages, competitors cycle 140km, kayak 70km and run 34.1km. The women’s race was set for a titanic battle between the strongest women in multisport racing history - four-time Coast to Coast winner, Elina Ussher (New Zealand); three-time adventure racing world champion, Sophie Hart (New Zealand); 2015 runner-up, Simone Maier (New Zealand); and Owen, who has represented South Africa at world championship level in canoeing, mountain running and adventure racing. Owen, the Otter African Trail Run record holder and second-place finisher in the 2017 Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100km, showed her running and cycling prowess at the start with a short, sharp 2.2km run to get onto the first leg of the bike. If left behind here, catching up is impossible, as Owen experienced in 2017, but a stronger, smarter Owen emerged this year. It was on the running stages that Owen created the biggest gap, a 16-minute lead over Hart and Maier during the 30.5km mountain run. Five-time winner and current record-holder of the Dusi Canoe Marathon, Owen’s illustrious paddling proficiency then extended her lead to 20 minutes heading into a nail-biting final 70-kilometre bike leg. Coast to Coast winner in 2011 and 2013, Hart, gained on Owen, cutting her lead to just under four minutes. Owen held on for a memorable victory in 12h44m56s, 45 minutes faster than her time in 2017. Second . . .
After a dominant week, South Africans HB Kruger and Stuart Marais were crowned overall winners of the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter in Franschhoek in the Western Cape today. The ASG-Ellsworth pair set the pace in the UCI Men's category from the start of the 73km final stage between Houwhoek and La Couronne Wine Estate to add a sixth stage victory to their tally. In today's stage, the French-German team of Antonin Marecaille and Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) were second, followed by Hanco Kachelhoffer and Pieter Seyffert (Ellsworth-ASG). Kruger and Marais took the lead on the opening day and never looked back as they went about their business - completing the seven-day race in 19:32:36. In their debut in the race, they finished comfortably ahead of Eirik Fiskvik and Thomas Engelsgjerd of Norway (20:19:02) and Marecaille and Biefang (20:44:00). The Paarl-based Kruger said claiming the title in the 614km race was immensely satisfying. "We came in with the big goal to win the race so we were very happy with the way it turned out," he said. "Getting the stage wins were a bonus. "Luckily Stuart and I clicked well. We got a good partnership going and we really enjoyed riding together." Kruger said the block of riding in the TransCape, which is supported by STANLIB and Volvo Cars, had fitted in perfectly with his programme for the year. "There's a different dynamic to the TransCape because it gives you an excellent test while preparing you for the other big events." He said he would be competing in two road races - the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope and Cape Town Cycle Tour - before heading to the Cape Epic, all of which take place in March. Marais, from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal, explained they had decided to go hard from the start of the ultimate stage, which set up their win. "There was quite a lot of single-track and I went to the front from the beginning because I didn't want to get stuck behind on that section," he . . .
Employing a strategy to attack early in the stage, HB Kruger and Stuart Marais rolled on to another win on the sixth day of the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter today. After studying the profile of the 74km route from Greyton to Houwhoek, the ASG-Ellsworth outfit struck about 8km into the stage, attacking on the first single-track climb up Bakenskop. With their plan reaping dividends, they were able to consolidate their overall lead after yesterday's leg from Swellendam to Greyton was neutralised following confusion over the route. Crossing the line today in 2:44:31, the Paarl-based Kruger and Marais, from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal, head the general classification with a time of 16:42:20. Going into tomorrow's final stage, the South Africans enjoy a buffer of almost 22 minutes over Norwegian professionals Eirik Fiskvik and Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team Happysalmon), who were second across the line today, 11 minutes behind the leaders. Third place on the podium today went to Japan's Yuki Ikeda and South African partner Grant Usher, riding for Topeak-Ergon-Sprocket & Jack. However, the French-German team of Antonin Marecaille and Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) remain third overall. Kruger said they were delighted with another stage win, especially as their plan to open a gap proved successful. "We decided our strategy would be to test our rivals early on and we hammered it up the first climb," he said. "We knew it was a steep and rocky climb, which is quite technical and gives you a chance to put up a bit of a gap. "After that we just rolled through the rest of the stage steadily and the gap grew quite significantly. "So we were happy with that and our plan to consolidate our position in the general classification." With a sizeable lead, Kruger said their focus tomorrow would be to avoid any final-day mishaps. "We will take it steadily, try to make sure we do not get any mechanicals and keep the bikes in one piece all the way . . .
(HOWICK) – Participants in this year’s aQuellé Midmar Mile will have their sights set on a fundraising target of R3 million for charity when they hit the water for the world’s largest open water swim this weekend. Over 13,000 swimmers from across the country are expected to descend on Midmar Dam near Pietermaritzburg for the 45th edition of South Africa’s premier open water race. Among them will be the 200-plus members of the 8 Mile and 16 Mile Clubs, who have already surpassed last year’s R2-million benchmark for worthy causes in the lead-up to race day. The 8-Milers – so called for the distance each member swims for charity – will swim each of the eight mile-long events on Saturday and Sunday to collect as much money as possible for their seven chosen charities. These are breast cancer charity Pink Drive, Singakwenza Education and Health, Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC), Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, KZN Wildlife for Save the Rhino, Wildlands Conservation Trust and the Cancer Association of South Africa. Former East Coast Radio DJ Brad Ray, 40, now living in Johannesburg, will be completing his fifth 8-Mile challenge. He and his sister, Abigail Ray, will be swimming on behalf of Singakwenza, a non-profit organisation that works to improve the lives of disadvantaged children through early childhood education programmes. “I knew the bigger charities would have support already, and the smaller charities probably need the money more. I am a huge believer in education having the power to change people’s lives for the better, and what Singakwenza does for young children is amazing,” said Ray. Joining the 8-Milers is former Paralympic silver medallist Terence Parkin, who is on a 902km cycle-swim-run journey to raise funds for the Deaf Children’s Learn to Swim and Water Safety Programme. Their 16 Mile Club counterparts will also complete all the events, swimming back to the start after each one to double the distance. All monies raised by . . .
In February 2018, New Media Publishing will release the 268th issue of Golf Digest, making it one of the country's longest running sports magazines. The March Issue (on shelf from the 19th February) is the iconic Top 100 Edition. The prestigious course ranking was first published in 1998, and this year will mark its 20th anniversary. In a print environment where only the strongest survive, the magazine has gone from strength to strength. The latest circulation figures reveal that Golf Digest SA has grown its total circulation by 53.29% since the corresponding period of the previous year. The golf-related market average of total circulation is 11 197; ahead of which Golf Digest sits a comfortable 8%. The reasons for this success are twofold. The first is the fact that 253 of the 268 issues of the magazine have been edited by the legendary Stuart McLean. Over the last five decades, McLean has covered the careers of SA's top golfers, witnessing everything from Ernie Els' multiple SA Amateur, SA Open and major championship victories to South Africa's successful hosting of the World Cup, Women's World Cup and Presidents Cup. During his 21 years at the helm of Golf Digest, McLean has written three books on South African golf courses. He started Golf Digest's Top 100 Course Rankings, which was first published in 1998 and will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with the 2018 March issue. "Editing Golf Digest has been the pinnacle of my career in the media. It gave me a VIP pass to watch the greatest events in golf, and play the finest golf courses," says McLean. "My 21 years coincided with some of the most amazing developments in the game, from Tiger Woods to Jordan Spieth, and persimmon woods to the latest technology. All you need to know about golf over the last 21 years is packed into 250 issues of great Golf Digest content." The second reason for Golf Digest's success is that since 2015 the magazine has been published by New Media Publishing - South . . .
The status quo remained unchanged in the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter after the fifth stage between Swellendam and Greyton was neutralised in unfortunate circumstances today. Uncertainty over the route in the leading bunch after about 20km of the 99km eventually resulted in the UCI Elite riders, after discussion with race commissaire Deon Steyn, agreeing that the fairest decision would be to neutralise the stage and resume afresh tomorrow. Apparently a farmer, through whose land the route took the riders, thought the cyclists had gone through and removed the route markings, which ended up fragmenting the race. To compound the situation, the marshal on the lead bike was stung by a swarm of bees which made it difficult for him to continue. He was treated and later pronounced to be alright. The race commissaire said it had been a difficult decision to make. "When we realised something was wrong, we didn't know how many kilometres the different groups had done," said Steyn. "At water point two I gathered the information available and realised the race was essentially back to front, with the elite group behind everyone else." He said the options were to have a shortened race from the 50km mark onwards or to hold a time-trial. "A time-trial in this situation is not common, but it can be done," he said. "But after discussion with the elite riders it was agreed that there were too many riders ahead to have a proper contest and it was decided to neutralise the stage. "I communicated this to the race organisers and the owner of the event and they agreed with the decision. It's tough but that's just the way it is." This means race leaders HB Kruger and Stuart Marais (ASG-Ellsworth) will maintain their 11-minute overall lead going into the penultimate stage of 74km from Greyton to Houwhoek. Second in the general classification are Norwegian professionals Eirik Fiskvik and Thomas Engelsgjerd (Team Happysalmon), followed by the French-German . . .
FNB Madibaz rugby coach David Maidza wants to see better finishing from his team when they run out for their second Varsity Cup fixture against Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein on Monday. Playing their first home game in two years, the Nelson Mandela University side went down 27-17 in their opening fixture against University of Cape Town at Madibaz Stadium last Monday. Maidza said while they were pleased to have had a home game after last year's stadium revamp forced them to play all their fixtures away, they were disappointed with the result. "I thought we were effective with the ball in hand, especially in the outer channels, but at the same time we did not finish off," said the coach. "For example, in the first half we had a number of opportunities to put some points on the board, but we did not use them properly." He said there were a couple of areas in their game they needed to work on. "We need to make sure we get our attacking shape right and concentrate on finishing off those moves. "On Monday, we had to move a loosehead prop to tighthead so we struggled a bit in the scrums and that is something we'll be focusing on." He added that they would also work on tidying up their lineouts to create stable set-pieces, which would provide a better base from which to attack. Maidza said he was positive about the path ahead. "I am confident there will be an improvement. This was our first game, so a little bit of match fitness is required, but we will pick that up as we go along." While CUT are struggling somewhat after losing their first two games, the Madibaz mentor said they preferred to focus on their own play. "We have to understand that we need to fix our own game," he said. "If we start concentrating on CUT we might lose our own focus, so that is our approach going forward." He acknowledged that CUT were a capable outfit and said the Bloem side would also be aiming to improve their own game. "We need . . .
08 February 2018 – MORE than 800 runners are expected to compete in the annual Caltex Border Masters Half Marathon taking place this Sunday, 11 February 2018. Now in its 41st year, the race promises to be highly contested in all five categories. “The course is fast, and we expect much excitement in all categories – especially the younger category where the winning title is up for grabs in the absence of Lusapho April who take the honours in 2016 and 2017” said Border Masters Athletics Association’s John Oatley. Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer is once again sponsoring the Border Masters Half Marathon, open to runners age 35 years and older, which starts from Winterstrand winding through the harbour, along the esplanade - ending at the Buffalo Club, East London. CECM chief executive Clive Berlyn, himself an avid runner and previous participant, said the company was proud of its long-standing association with the event. “We came on board as naming sponsors 3 years ago and must commend Border Masters Athletics Association on their professionalism and dedication – it is no easy task growing event entries with 10 to 15% year on year especially in this tough economic climate” Berlyn noted. Into the 35-39 age group for the first time are Andrea Ranger (Old Boys) and Hanlie Botha (Born2run) both of whom regularly show many a younger runner, including the men, a clean pair of heels. In the other women’s age groups those to watch include Karen Davis (40-44), Debbie Gee and a resurgent Sharon Wood both in the 50-54 category Much is also expected from the 2017 Border Masters awardees Makhaya Masumpa (50-54) and Pastor Madlavana (40-44) both out of the Born2run stable. Pastor has posted two excellent overall race 2nd places in recent outings but should still look over his shoulder for the determined Nedbank AC stalwart Doran Fritz. In the 45-49 group perhaps Desmond Witbooi (Born2run) 6th overall at the recent Gonubie Coastal Challenge is a podium contender, . . .
A thrilling sprint finish to the fourth day of the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter saw South Africans HB Kruger and Stuart Marais narrowly edge out Norwegian rivals Eirik Fiskvik and Thomas Engelsgjerd for stage honours. At the end of the 106km leg from Riversdale to Swellendam just two seconds separated the leading teams in a desperate dash for the line, which saw the ASG-Ellsworth outfit take their fourth stage victory. Engelsgjerd, riding for Team Happysalmon, was in fact the first rider home in 4:09:58, but was followed across the line a second later by Kruger and Marais. The Norwegian's teammate, Eirik Fiskvik, was a further two seconds off the pace, giving the European outfit a time of 4:10:01. Kruger and Marais maintained their overall lead, stretching it to 11 minutes after Antonin Marecaille and Julian Biefang (Chiru-Magura-Canyon) fell off the pace slightly to come home third, seven minutes behind the front-runners. The stage's outcome means the Norwegians have moved into second place in the general classification, overtaking the French-German combination of Marecaille and Biefang. Fiskvik, who said racing the TransCape was a dream come true, acknowledged that the South Africans remained the strong favourites to win the race. "They managed to get away from us at about the 70km mark where there was an uphill," he said. "But then, with about 10km to go, they were having technical problems due to the muddy conditions and we caught up with them. "We rode with them to the finish and the aim was to try to beat them in the final sprint. Thomas crossed the line first, but unfortunately I just fell off a bit and they were able to get in-between us." The Norwegian added that they were delighted to move into second spot in the general classification, but admitted they would have a tough time making up the gap on Kruger and Marais. "They are definitely the strongest team, but we are very happy with being second overall at this . . .
Race organisers ASG Events have assured riders that, despite the crippling drought in the Western Cape, the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope and the Liberty Winelands Encounter will go ahead as planned. The Tour of Good Hope takes place near Paarl from March 5 to 9, while the mountain-bike event, also in the Cape Winelands, will be held from April 13 to 15. Due to the ongoing drought in the region, several queries have been raised by cyclists, but ASG Events chief executive Wynand de Villiers has given an assurance that the events will take place. "These are boutique events with a maximum participant total of 500 riders and we are comfortable we can host them without impacting on the current scarce water resources in the Western Cape," he said. "I would like to take this opportunity to ensure cyclists that they do not have to worry about whether the events will take place or that their quality will be compromised. "We have been assured by the City of Drakenstein that guest houses, hotels, restaurants and other businesses will function as normal over the staging period of these events." Mindful of the water situation, however, De Villiers added that they encouraged entrants "to be very aware of the water crisis". He said this applied, in particular, to the shower time at events. "We are sensitive to the current situation and we ask riders who are staying in guest houses and hotels to use water sparingly." De Villiers said mass-participation events such as the Cape Town Cycle Tour faced a real challenge in the current environment, but that these two events would have minimal impact on water usage. "We also have a wonderful beer sponsorship from Cape Brewing Company, who ensure bottomless beer at both events. So rather than drink water, drink beer!" he added with a chuckle. He compared the challenge they faced to a similar situation years ago with events in Gauteng and North West, where water restrictions were in place. "It's easy to forget . . .