Newcomer Johardt van Heerden wins Long Distance Championship at Molweni 2015

Johardt van Heerden Molweni 2015 winner
 Johardt van Heerden collapsed Molweni Trail Run 2015 - See more at:
Johardt van Heerden collapsed at the end of his successful battle for SA Long Distance Champion! photo Heloise Hunter/TRAIL magazine 2015

Race day on 3 May 2015 was warm and sunny, which matched the mood perfectly.

Most Gauteng participants had never run Krantzkloof before, and boy did their eyes open.

Supporters waited expectantly at the Molweni finish line, getting updates about the leaders from Altus Schreuder. When at last the winner was spotted, he crossed the line to huge applause and immediately collapsed.

Johardt van Heerden, a 21-year-old track athlete from Potchefstroom, won the championship in 3h 1min.

“I worked so hard for this. I trained so so hard for it,” said the surprised and grateful winner, lying on the sports massage table. “I got my lead just before the third massive climb. I didn’t let myself push too hard and blow up. My goal was to conquer the course.

“I ran with a GPS but somewhere it just lost its connection, I still had the time but I didn’t have distance, so I didn’t know how far it is. Maybe it’s a good thing.

“The last kay on the tar back was so sore! I just wanted to get to the finish.”

Thabang Madiba and Lucky Miya are firm friends. photo Heloise Hunter:TRAIL magazine 2015
Thabang Madiba and Lucky Miya are firm friends. photo Heloise Hunter:TRAIL magazine 2015

Lucky Miya crossed the line five minutes later, running into the arms of his son and wife.

Last year’s winner, Thabang Madiba, followed in 3h 9min, with a big smile on his face. Thabang injured his calf winning the Two Oceans Trail Run a month before, so pulled off the podium finish without training.

Andrew Erasmus and Owen Bengo were out of the running with injuries.

SA Long Distance Champ Megan Mackenzie and Nicolette Griffioen Molweni Trail Run. photo Heloise Hunter:TRAIL magazine 2015
SA Long Distance Champ Megan Mackenzie giving runner-up Nicolette Griffioen a hug. photo Heloise Hunter/TRAIL magazine 2015

The women’s race was much closer, with Megan Mackenzie taking the title only 22 seconds ahead of Nicolette Griffioen, SA’s reigning Ultra Trail Champion.

“Any one of those ladies could have won on a good day, so a lot of it comes down to grit and how much you want it. I wanted it,” explained Megan, overwhelmed by her hard-fought victory in 3h 39min.

“I haven’t run here before. I recced the route a couple of days ago, a few kays of it. I took a tumble right at the beginning. I just tweaked my leg but otherwise I’m fine.

“The cramps in my feet hurt the most, but the feeling of winning is overwhelming. Only as I crossed the line did I know I was the winner Nicolette was 50m behind me so I had to give it my all.

“There was one point on the descent that Nicolette took me. She’s better on the descent. And then I managed to take her on the climb a little bit.”

Ten minutes after the top two ladies crossed the line, Su Don-Wauchope appeared with a slightly bloodied head, to round the women’s podium.

Events like this are a reminder that the runners you see in glossy magazines are human, and kind, friendly, determined humans at that.

See the full video of the event [14min55s]

Molweni 2015 Results


Athlete Time


Johardt van Heerden 03:01:22


Lucky Miya 03:06:54


Thabang Madiba 03:09:18


Muzi Makdikwa 03:14:37


Mark Michell 03:17:32


Ayanda Mlotshwa 03:19:06


Lonwabo Magwa 03:29:39


Pedro Calderon 03:32:24


Graeme McCallum 03:35:03


Jock Green 03:37:10


Megan Mackenzie 03:39:49


Rowan Williams 03:40:12


Nicolette Griffioen 03:40:12


Craig Turton 03:40:19


Mapepane Mahlangu 03:43:34


Alisair Leslie 03:46:25


Nathan Hunt 03:46:27


Thanda Mbatha 03:46:33


Su Don-Wauchope 03:49:08


Sizwe Mkhize 03:54:42


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2016 Race Report


On 3 May, South Africa’s best trail runners raced for the 2015 Long Distance Trail Championship title at the Molweni Trail Run. Assistant editor Heloise was at the finish line to capture the joy and drama.

Posted by TRAIL magazine on Sunday, 3 May 2015

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