Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 162 October 2023 | Page 59

Taking the win at MaxiRace made up for disappointment earlier in the year
Images : Craig Kolesky ( courtesy of MaxiRace ), Matt Bouch , Marathon Photos & courtesy New Balance
afterwards , the recovery and the legs and that were fine – probably because I was walking so much , so the race didn ’ t have that much impact on my legs . But my body was drained , so it was definitely some sort of an infection . I ’ m fortunate that trail running is not my source of income – if I did , if I was professional athlete , then I might have made the call a lot sooner to drop out , in order to get back to training and go for the next one . This was more just a personal thing of pushing my body as far as I could ... and 150 kays was as far as the body would go that day . Having said that , I still believe that I have not yet found the breaking point , and I will continue to push the boundaries .
MA : In the build-up to MUT this year , you did a fair amount of training with Ryan Sandes and others , I believe .
BH : That ’ s right . With MUT now a UTMB event , it drew a lot more interest , and some of the top guys came to train in George and recce the route . I spent time on the route with all the guys that finished in the top six , including Ryan , and I reckon they all owe me something . ( He says with a laugh – Ed .) I ’ d spent quite a bit of time with Ryan before this race , in previous years , when he was training for UTMB . Most of the guys who have raced overseas say that the mountains and training conditions in George are the most similar to the European conditions , so they really enjoy coming out here .
MA : Is the UTCT this November now the next target for you ? BH : Yes . The MaxiRace 75km was building up to the UTCT 100km , to get some speed in the legs . I ’ m not going to do the 100-miler at UTCT , because I want to let the body recover as much as possible ahead of giving the MUT Miler another go next year . I ’ ve also got a bit of a bone to pick with that UTCT 100km , because I had stomach issues during that race , so I want to go back and give it another good bash . There ’ s a few things I plan to do differently in my training and build-up to that , and I will hopefully get a decent result .
Conditions in the MaxiRace were wet and wild , but suited Brandon perfectly
MA : You clearly have unfinished business with the 100-mile distance , but it ’ s also clear that you have adopted a measured , balanced approach to achieving that goal , taking a full year to try get it right .
BH : I know it takes a long time to build up to a 100-miler . I ’ ve become good mates with Ryan , and he ’ s obviously been in the game for many years , and he says you don ’ t just run 100 miles in your first or second year of running and achieve great results . Sure , a few runners can do that , but I think history will show you that most guys take a long time to develop , and I think your body takes a while to adapt to that sort of distance .
I think the mid to late 30s seems to be the age where the guys really excel at that distance , so maybe it was a bit too soon for me to do it last year , but as I said , I love pushing boundaries , to see how far the body can go . That ’ s why I always want to take on the biggest challenges , but in terms of performance and focusing on results , I think I need to take things a bit slower , and that ’ s why I decided to scale down slightly and focus on the 100K at UTCT . Hopefully a year later , my body will have adapted more , and will be ready for the full 100 miles at MUT .
MA : Let ’ s change tack a bit … Please tell me a bit about your background . BH : I grew up on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal , in a small town called Sezela , between Scottburgh and Margate , and then attended high school at Maritzburg College in Pietermaritzburg . After that , I moved down to George to study at the Nelson Mandela Municipality University NMMU satellite campus in George – it was still called Saasveld , but that ’ s changed now – where I studied a degree in wildlife management . While I was in George , I met my future wife , Danielle , who was studying to become a teacher . We got married in April 2018 , and our daughter , Mileah , is nearly a year old now .

Brandon ’ s Highlights Reel

In his still young running career , Brandon has already clocked up an impressive list of wins , podiums and top results , including the following :
• 3rd overall SOX 3-day stage trail race ( 2019 )
• 3rd at George MUT Marathon ( 2021 )
• 3rd-fastest time on George 6 Peaks FKT route ( 2021 )
• 1st at Tsitsikamma Ultra Trail & new course record ( 2021 )
• 4th at Addo 76km ( 2022 )
• 3rd at Outeniqua Marathon ( 2022 )
• 2nd at George MUT 100km ( 2022 )
• Silver medal at Comrades Marathon ( 2022 )
• 1st at MaxiRace 75km ( 2023 )