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Media Release: Otter Trail record shattered

Date: 21st September 2009

Not everyone is afforded the privilege of doing ‘The Otter’ in one day, and it is also most definitely not in everyone’s ability to do so. At dawn that morning, 200 athletes assembled at Storms River Mouth of the Garden Route National Park to do just this.

Not everyone is afforded the privilege of doing ‘The Otter’ in one day, and it is also most definitely not in everyone’s ability to do so. At dawn that morning, 200 athletes assembled at Storms River Mouth of the Garden Route National Park to do just this: they were the first athletes to take part in a trail run along the Otter Hiking Trail after a historic agreement was reached between the event organisers Magnetic South and the management of SANParks.

Although some runners were purely aiming to finish, others had a loftier goal; they wanted to see whether it was possible to run the five-day hiking trail, stretching over a distance of 42km, in less than five hours. Although the majority of athletes and crew thought this to be utterly impossible, there were a few competitors who believed in the dream.

Fortunately for all concerned, this impossible ‘dream’ was also supported by a range of sponsors, not least of all Hi-Tec, who came on board as primary supporters for the Otter African Trail Run. “We are already intrinsically involved with SANParks”, said Marketing Manager Shayne Vervoort, “and sponsor hiking boots for the majority of national parks guides, so the symbioses was natural”.

Stunning weather and superb organisation by the Magnetic South crew saw the launch of the Hi-Tec Otter African Trail run unfold flawlessly under blue skies and with hardly a breath of wind. The pace was gruelling from the word go, with local Knysna boy, John Collins, going head-to-head with Ian Don Wauchope.

Speedsters Rohan Kennedy and Bruce Arnett put in a superb effort, but local knowledge saw Collins claiming a hard-fought second position in a brilliant time of 5hrs 01min. And in the end, Ian Don Wauchope did manage to pull off the ‘impossible’, charging in to beat the magical five-hour barrier by mere seconds with a time of 4hrs 59min 02sec!

Pic by Jacques Marais Media

Not satisfied with the spoils in the Men’s Division, Ian’s wife Sue Wauchope dominated the ladies race right from the word go. She seemed untouchable for the duration, finishing at the top of the field in a blistering time of 5hrs 58min, thus sealing a double victory for the family who flew down from KwaZuluZ-Natal for the event.

“A new benchmark has been set in South African trail running”, said Mickey Mallet, MD of outdoor shoe manufacturers Hi-Tec. “We expect this event to grow immensely, not only amongst local racers, but also within the wider international running community. In my opinion, this is not only the most technical trail run in SA, but also the most beautiful”!

According to event organiser Mark Collins, the key ethos around the Hi-Tec Otter African Trail Run focuses on environmental preservation. “The only way we can make this event sustainable for competitors, landowners and other outdoor enthusiasts is to be 100% eco-friendly in how we present and run the race, and we have therefore made an unflinching commitment to this”.

Although the inaugural “Otter’ is over, it makes up part of the Southern Storm Duathlon, presented by Hi-Tec. Day Three saw competitors taking on the infamous Robberg Trail Run, before heading out on a gruelling mountain biking leg into the MTO Forest area around Diepwalle.

Enquiries:
Christine Collins on Christine@magneticsouth.net, or visit the web site at www.magneticsouth.net for results and information.

Images:
Images of the Otter African Trail Run, presented by Hi-Tec, is available from Jacques Marais Media on (083) 444 5369 or tel (021) 78 22 849, or email: jmmedia@telkomsa.net

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