Kleynhans takes it again!

Martin Kleynhans ran a superbly judged race to win the Three Peaks Challenge for the second year in succession.

Martin Kleynhans on Devil's Peak

Martin Kleynhans on Devil’s Peak

Weather conditions were about as good as they could get for the 140-something participants who lined up for the 5 am start in Cape Town’s Long Street. The heavy mist and light rain that greeted runners in Deer Park made for a pleasant all-round early morning atmosphere, although it left the mountain slippery underfoot, in parts.

After his 2014 tussle with Lucky Miya, Kleynhans started as the favourite. It didn’t take him long to realise where his main competition was to come from. Piet Calitz crested Devil’s Peak first, about a minute ahead of Rupert Becker, with Kleynhans, Lucas Adams and Simon Raubenheimer a minute further back. Kleynhans passed the early leader on the way down and had a lead of 68 seconds on arrival at Greenmarket Square.

However, Calitz turned the table on Kleynhans on the gruelling second leg, reaching Maclear’s Beacon in front, and was just over two minutes clear of his rival when he turned at Greenmarket Square for the third and final peak.

As with the year before, Kleynhans stamped his authority on the challenge on the way up Lion’s Head and romped home in an excellent time of 5:20:29, over seven minutes before Calitz. Raubenheimer finished third.

Three Peaks debutant Melany Porter led the women’s race from start to finish, winning easily from Jana Trojan in second and Canadian national Brenna Coupland in third.

Women's winner, Melany Porter

Women’s winner, Melany Porter

There were a number of outstanding performances, with 135 people finishing the challenge, all of them ‘winners’ on the day! None was perhaps as significant as that which occurred at seven minutes past one, when Shaun Schneeberger stopped outside the Inn On The Square hotel, to comfortably complete his debut run. Just a year previously, Shaun had been enjoying a leisurely hike on Table Mountain with a group of friends when he stumbled across the Three Peaks Challenge. It wasn’t the first time he had heard of the tradition. It was his great-great grandfather, the now legendary Carl Wilhelm Schneeberger, who had first conquered Cape Town’s famous three peaks in one day, nearly 120 years before!

Results 2015

 

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THREE PEAKS IN ONE DAY – THE STORY…

“He undertook to do his self imposed task between six in the morning, and six in the evening, and finished with an hour and ten minutes to spare. In each ascent he was accompanied by a friend as pacemaker, Mr. E.V. Bentley and Mr. C. Otto sharing this duty, while Mr. G.M. Anderson officiated at the Johannesburg Hotel, which was the starting post and finishing goal from which Mr. Schneeberger had to start and return to each time.”
The Cape Register – Saturday March 13th, 1897

Trimble (left) and Schneeberger

In March 1897, 25-year-old Carl Wilhelm Schneeberger successfully ascended Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, starting from, and returning each time, to the old Johannesburg Hotel in Long Street, Cape Town. He completed the challenge in ten hours and fifty minutes (including rests) and was duly presented with a gold medal.

Thirty years later, Sandy Trimble, then in his early thirties and a regular climber on Table Mountain and other peaks in the Western Cape, met Schneeberger’s son and a discussion ensued over whether the time could be bettered. Trimble took on the challenge and accomplished the feat in record time. Another medal was struck and presented to Trimble by Mr CW Schneeberger in person. It was inscribed: ‘To Mr Sandy Trimble who climbed Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head in 7 hours 17 minutes on September 25, 1927.’ 

Trimble's 1927 medal

Trimble’s 1927 medal

In June 1977, 26-year-old Geoffrey Pitter “came across the reminiscences” of Trimble’s friend, A.B. Berrisford, who had recounted the event in the 1963 Mountain Club of South Africa Journal. He decided that the 50th anniversary should not go unnoticed and on the 25th of September, 1977, 50 years to the day, he commemorated and emulated the feat, completing the three successive climbs in 6 hours and 51 minutes in the process.

The tradition continues…

In September 1997 Don Hartley, an experienced mountain climber and marathon runner – he won the Two Oceans Marathon twice in the early 1970s – initiated and organised a 100-year commemoration of Schneeberger’s achievement. Eleven of the thirteen starters completed the ‘inaugural’ Three Peaks Challenge which was won, appropriately, by Hartley. Intended to be a one-off affair, it revived a tradition that has since entrenched itself amongst the toughest physical and mental challenges of its kind.

With its intriguing blend of mountain and city, culture, history and adventure, it has become a truly quintessential Cape Town event.

Header image by Ark Images and Shawn Benjamin Photography

 

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