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