Rhino Peak Challenge Media Service

 No: RPC1906

05 Oct 2019

Embargo: None

Written By: Dave Macleod


Rhino Peak Challenge records shattered

Underberg – Perfect weather conditions and strong small field of elite runners combined to see the Fastest Known Time (FKT) record for the Rhino Peak Challenge smashed on Saturday by Kane Reilly, while the event set a new record for funds raised for wildlife conservation.

Reilly came into the event as the current record holder, and with hardly any wind blowing and clear and warm weather predicted for the tough outing, he fancied his chances of lowering the FKT for the 23,5 kilometre round trip from the Ezemvelo office above Drakensberg Gardens hotel to the Rhino Peak summit and back.

The fact that he had a fired up Johardt van Heerden, fuelling the fiercely competitive rivalry between these two trail-running pacesetters this season, helped contribute to Reilly's record breaking run.

Reilly reached the summit of Rhino Peak two minutes clear of van Heerden and enthused about the brutal ascent that had slowed down all the other fundraising athletes who left two hours earlier in the morning.

Reilly flew down the  return leg to reach the finish in two hours and seventeen minutes, shaving three minutes off his own record.

Toni McCann won the women's elite race, completing the course in three hours and eleven minutes, ahead of a struggling current Ultra-Trail® Drakensberg champion Naomi Brand.

The first non-elite athlete home was just as impressive as Thabo Madlala, a 37 year old Underberg local, who is part of the Endangered Wildlife Trust Crane Conservation project operating in the area and one of the beneficiaries of the event, was all class as he cantered into the finish in three hours and twenty seven minutes.

The event is a fundraiser involving elite athletes, people of influence and so-called 'everyday heroes', each striving to raise money through personal pledges and offering an assortment of prizes to those that contribute.

Underberg local Andrew van Rensberg will not forget the event in a hurry as he raced with iconic ultra-distance trail runner Ryan Sandes after winning the Salomon team competition.

In the previous years the event has raised just over R1 million, and this year's record of R834 596, exceeded the previous annual fundraising record by a massive margin.

The event raises money for rhino conservation as well for the conservation of the endangered species that live in the Southern Drakensberg like the Bearded Vulture and the various crane species.

For more information go to www.rhinopeakchallenge.co.za

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Elite race winner Kane Reilly descends from the Rhino Peak (in the background) at the 2019 Rhino Peak Challenge in the Southern Drakensberg on Saturday. Reilly broke his own FKT record for the 23km outing. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

On top of the world! Kane Reilly is handed a beer by his girlfriend after his fast ascent to the summit at the Rhino Peak Challenge on Saturday. The Capetonian was just as fast on the descent and smashed his Fastest Known Time record by three minutes. Dave Macleod/
Gameplan Media

Kane Reilly races up to the summit at the 2019 Rhino Peak Challenge in the Southern Drakensberg on Saturday. Anthony Grote/
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Johardt van Heerden kept the pressure on Kane Reilly throughout the 2019 Rhino Peak Challenge in the Southern Drakensberg on Saturday. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Toni McCann was impressive in winning the elite women's race from Naomi Brand at the 2019 Rhino Peak Challenge in the Southern Drakensberg on Saturday. Anthony Grote/
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Underberg local EWT Ranger Thabo Madlala was in superb form winning the non elite honours at the 2019 Rhino Peak Challenge in the Southern Drakensberg on Saturday. Madlala works on the EWT Crane Conservation project that is one of the beneficiaries of the annual event. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Ryan Sandes leads Underberg local Andrew van Rensberg on the 2019 Rhino Peak Challenge in the Southern Drakensberg on Saturday, after Van Rensberg won the Salomon competition to partner the ultra-distance trail running icon. Anthony Grote/
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