Midlands Ultra


Midlands Ultra Nov 2016

After a long layoff due to a stress fracture in my ankle, the Midlands Ultra was my first race back in over five months. I absolutely love the setting and the atmosphere of this race. Staying with family and meeting up with friends the day before and then being able to check in your bike on race morning makes the whole process very stress free and enjoyable. The race organization here is absolutely on point, nothing is overstated, the entry fee included; you know you’re going to get a fair well run event and go home with a great experience.

Race day dawned on a cool and misty Midmar Dam, often a sign of hot conditions to come. After a short delay to allow the conditions clear up, we were off on the wetsuit legal 1.9km freshwater swim. Uber swimmer Rudolf Naude got a jump on us at the first turn buoy and Kent Horner and I trailed him around the swim course, exiting the water 30 seconds in arrears. Once on the bike I set to work to reduce the deficit quickly to try and create a reasonable buffer for my untested run legs. The two loop bike course with a rather strong headwind and rolling hills meant it was a long slog to the first turnaround point but made for some very fast speeds on the way back. Add the rising temperatures to the mix and it was soon apparent that either the end of a long season or too many winter lie in’s, were starting to catch up with some of the field.

With the hot and hilly 21km run course waiting to cap off your day, it’s no surprise that the Midlands Ultra is considered to be one of the toughest 70.3’s in the country or in the world in my opinion. Some enthusiastic crowd support and well manned aid stations meant that I survived the run and crossed the line first, in a new course record.

The all inclusive recovery tent and a late afternoon thunderstorm even made the wait for prize giving entertaining and capped off a fun day in the Midlands.

Ari at Ultra

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