Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 139, March 2021 | Page 16


13 Peaks

for 13 Turtles

In December , Cape Town trail runner and environmental campaigner Karoline Hanks set a second women ’ s FKT ( Fastest Known Time ) for the 13 Peaks Challenge , and she did it all to help efforts to rehabilitate and conserve turtles . – BY SEAN FALCONER , WITH KAROLINE HANKS

It comes as little surprise that the 13 Peaks Challenge has quickly grown into one of the ultimate bucket list items for South African trail runners . The idea was conceptualised in 2019 by one of South Africa ’ s top trail runners , Ryan Sandes , who lives in Hout Bay and does much of his training on the various peaks of the Cape Peninsula . Stringing them all together , he came up with 100km circuit featuring 13 peaks , including Maclears Beacon on Table Mountain , with over 6200m of climbing , and then challenged his fellow runners to try post a FKT on the route .

To date , some 450 runners have tackled the challenge , either in one day or over more than one day . Ryan himself holds the men ’ s FKT at 13:41 , which he logged in August last year . A year earlier , the original women ’ s FKT was set by Linda Doke , when she clocked 22:57 , and that mark stood until this past August , when Karoline Hanks , coached by Linda , took more than an hour off the mark as she ran a 21:55 .
However , that mark stood for just two months before Amri Williamson lowered it by a few minutes to
21:51 in October … but that just spurred Karoline on to try again in December . The 49-year-old openly admits that she wanted her record back , but that was not enough for this well-known environmental campaigner , who has been a leading figure in the antiplastic and carry your own campaigns in road running for the past few years . She decided that she would like to run the challenge to benefit an environmental cause close to her heart , but let ’ s allow her to tell her story in her own words …
Karoline Hanks on her way up another peak , with partner Filippo Faralla for company
16 ISSUE 139 MARCH 2021 / www . modernathlete . co . za