Brendan Lombard run to a hard fought Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail victory over defending champion Roelof Mostert on Saturday the 15th of June 2019.
The women’s race, over the flagship 60 kilometre distance was won by Annalise Scholtz. The event also saw 25 and 9 kilometre distances contested on highly technical mountain running trails in the Outeniqua Mountains, outside George.
Lombard had made no secret of his intentions to contest the victory in the build up to the Discovery George Mountain Ultra Trail, which is best known by the abbreviated Discovery MUT. To achieve that goal he set out fast and had established what he estimated to be a 5 minute lead half way up the Cradock Pass climb. The pre-dawn start caused Lombard to take a wrong turn though. “I went off route for about 5 minutes, but fortunately I saw Roelof’s light” the race winner explained. The pair then stayed within sight of each other for the next 40 kilometres.
“I’ve never raced an ultra like that” Mostert confessed. “Usually the field splits up with everyone running their own pace, but Brendan and I ran together like it was a 25 or 35 kilometre race. By the 38 kilometre mark I was pretty broken” the second placed finisher elaborated. “Brendan simply outclassed me today” he retold, recounting how Lombard kept up a relentless pace in the closing 15 kilometres. The man from Cape Town eventually distanced Mostert towards the end of the Tonelbos section in the run into to Check Point 7, at the 55 kilometre mark.
“It is probably the toughest 60 I’ve done” Lombard puffed upon crossing the finish line at the Witfontein Forest Station. “It has got a bit of everything and it’s proper technical. It was a proper dog fight with Roelof. We ran quite a bit together. I pushed it on the climbs but technical downhills are sort of my downfall so he would come past and I would fall in behind him. When we reached those runnable jeep tracks I just decided ‘let’s put the hammer down and go’” he elaborated as to how the race unfolded.
Lombard’s winning time was 7 hours, 3 minutes and 25 seconds. Mostert crossed the line 5 minutes and 5 seconds later. Mvuyisi Gcogco completed the podium places finishing 14 minutes and 38 second after the race winner.
Women’s race winner Scholtz had a lonelier run to victory. “It was fun” were the first words out of the new Discovery MUT champion’s mouth upon crossing the finish line. “I really enjoyed it. It was a tough day out but it was beautiful. I felt very strong, had some hiccups along the way but it wouldn’t be an ultra without them. But overall I’m very happy” Scholtz smiled.
The trail runner from Port Elizabeth was joined on the podium by former George local Chantel Nienaber who did her first ultra race since tearing her hamstring at last years event and Mia Uys, a Stellenbosch University post-graduate student.
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