Modern Athlete Mag Issue 155 MA_Issue 155 | Page 47

Landie blitzed the second half of the PT55 after a conservative start
Images : Sportograf , Jared Paisley , Stephen Granger and courtesy Landie Greyling , UTCT

With just 10 kilometres to go in the Peninsula Traverser 55km race that formed part of the Ultra-trail Cape Town ( UTCT ) festival of trail running on the last weekend of November , SA ’ s Landie Greyling was told by spectators and supporters at the University of Cape Town checkpoint that she was a massive 17 minutes behind women ’ s race leader , Kim Schreiber of Germany . “ I was also told that the third lady was only two minutes behind me , and at that point I told myself , ‘ Landie , you are so far in , you ’ ve worked so hard these past few years , you can ’ t give up now . Fight for the front !’ I knew there was no reason not to race my heart out .”

From that point , and in spite of having already run 45km , Landie says she raced those last 10 kays as if it was a 10km race . “ I took a gel and a CrampNot and went as hard as I could , and I did the Block House climb like it was the start of the race .” Then , with seven kilometres to the finish line , Greyling came upon the woman ’ s race leader , Schreiber , standing still . “ As I passed her , I asked if she was okay , but she didn ’ t respond , so she must have been in agony . I decided to do my thing and race .”
Realising that victory was within her grasp , Greyling ran “ conservatively hard ,” but with just three kilometres from the finish line , Schreiber reappeared . “ She had led the whole day and obviously didn ’ t want to give up , but my animal instinct kicked in . I bolted onto the boardwalk , managing to get a little gap , and finished a few seconds ahead of her ,” says Landie .
The South African sprinted across the line in 6:23:31 and fell to ground , elated but spent , as the German came home five seconds adrift in 6:23:36 . Overwhelmed with her dramatic victory , a breathless Greyling said everything had come together in a unique way . “ I would never have anticipated that this would be how my year ended – with the race of my
career . I am relieved and grateful for the support of the trail community and my sponsors for believing in me and backing me .”
Change of Plans
Landie had not originally intended to race UTCT , as she had made the Sanlam Cape Town Trail Marathon in mid-October her focus for the second part of the year . Earlier in the year she had won the George Mountain Marathon 42km , the Whale Trail 53km and the Langeberg SkyRace , and finished second in the Ultra-trail Drakensberg 62km ( both winner Meg Mackenzie and Landie finished under the previous course record ). She had gone on to win the women ’ s title in the 46km Cape Town Trail Marathon , but similarly to her PT55 win , she had to overcome some dark patches before overtaking the long-time race leader , good friend Kerry-Ann Marshall , late in the race to take line honours . As a result , she says she had mixed feelings about the win .
“ I really struggled from the first kilometre in the Cape Town Trail Marathon , but luckily my legs finally kicked in around 30 kays , just after the Block House climb , and I could finish strong . I just knew that if I saw Kerry , I could reel her in , but when I eventually caught her between Platteklip and the Cable Car , on that downhill , I could see she was struggling . I stopped to check on her and she said she was cramping badly , but I had just taken my last CrampNot , so I told her to ask Christiaan [ Landie ’ s husband , Christiaan Greyling ] for something at the next aid station . I couldn ’ t really do anything for her , so I pushed on , and I ’ m really happy to have won .”
Kerry-Ann adds , “ I felt so good , light on my legs , and the course and weather were good , but with 18 kays to go , my body started to cramp . After that I just wanted to get to the end standing up ! At one point I tripped and fell into a bush , and I literally couldn ’ t straighten my foot or stand up , until another runner came past and just held me up for a while , until I was able to go again . Landie is a special friend , and we have a good rivalry . It ’ s fun to race each other , and we push each other , but we also always encourage each other – and we ’ re both moms , too , so we understand each other well . And yes , her husband gave me some cramp stuff on Signal Hill , and that got me to the finish . I need to find out what it was !” she laughs .
Ready to go Again
With that win in the bag , Landie says she had to decide whether she had one more race in her legs for 2022 , or to take it easy the rest of the year and start thinking ahead to 2023 racing plans . However , her decision was sealed after UTCT race director Stuart McConnachie sent her an invite to run the their new 55km event .
“ The RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town is always a highlight on the calendar , as it is such a great event community-wise and showcases Cape Town to the international runners , so I decided to use my fitness and motivation after the Cape Town Trail Marathon to give it one last shot for the season . I was excited about the new route and the opportunity to line up against internationals , as with young children , I didn ’ t have the chance to travel this year .”
It wasn ’ t just a case of training for and lining up for the UTCT event , though , and Landie says she had to overcome several challenges in the six weeks between the two races . “ I missed key training
Landie passes German Kimi Schreiber to take the lead in the PT55