Place your bets gentlemen! This is gonna be a mega weekend of racing. The weather forecast predicts pretty perfect running conditions! So who is going to be the winner after three days of tough racing?
I could not come up with any competitor lists in the mens category but I know that Dion Middlekoop and Bruce Arnett are competing under the Hi-Tec banner. I place them as favorites.
The really interesting race is going to be in the very closely contested mixed team category. We have three teams that are very strong:
Michelle Lombardi and Mark Collins and
Katya Sogot and Raoul de Jongh.
This category traditionally comes down to who the strongest women is so let’s compare here:
I am lucky enough to have raced in the vicinity of all three of these fine ladies so here is my take (any of them can outrun me on a good day so I hope they don’t take offence otherwise I can face a bitch slap or three!)
Sue is a phenominal runner and is really strong. She pulled away from me on all the uphills at the first Otter Trail Run. The only chink in her armour that I can think of would be the technical descents of which there are not many at AX. Sue is married to one of the fastest guys around (Ian won the Skyrun and impressed all by some strong running). I assume they will race well together.
Michelle is amazing with loads of experience and many wins to her name. She knows how to keep the pressure on and keep it on hard! She has the experience of winning last year and she is virtually a local. Mark and her have raced together plenty and work togther like a well oiled machine! Question is do they have the speed to keep up with some speedy competition?
Katya is a phenomenon! She has come from nowhere a couple of years ago to beat the best women. 1st at the HBTC beating Michelle, 1st at TMC. She has no fanfare. I have seen that look of determination in her eyes when racing hard. Luckily she is partnered with the Urban Ninja Raoul de Jongh who put up a 77 at the Two Oceans half. Not shabby at all! Can Katya and Raoul hold their enthusiasm and speed together for three days? Hmm?
I am biting my nails for these three teams! The pressure is on and I wish all of these 6 runners strength and speed and above all have fun out there!
Good luck to all taking part this year.
Hopefully see you at the start line next year.