Race Report: Ruth Avierinos – 3222 Challenge

Friday 8th March 2019

We left Pretoria at around 12:00 pm in the hopes of getting to Leshotho before dark so that we could see some of the scenery. And it was definitely worth it. We arrived at the border around 5:00pm and before we knew it we were heading to Mahlasela Pass, which is 3222m above sea level. We were fortunate to stay at the amazing Afriski Mountain Resort. Which has the highest restaurant in Africa. After a quick race briefing we headed off to bed to get in an early night before the race.

Saturday 9th March 2019

We started out on the trails at 8:00am. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into having never run at high altitude before. We started out with a big climb to the top of the mountain which didn’t help my lungs much which were craving more oxygen. But wow was the view worth all the effort. The mountain ranges in Lesotho are absolutely breath taking. The view was so incredible I found it really difficult to not just want to stop and just enjoy it for the rest of the day. That and the fact that the trails were really nice and technical made for a really amazing first stage of the race. I managed to finish 2nd over all which was a welcomed surprise in a time of 1h 25min for the 10km finishing 13min behind  Christiaan Greyling  which was really cool. The rest of the day consisted of a bit of studying and then enjoying the wonders that the resort had to offer.

Sunday 10th March 2019

We woke up to find that it was pouring with rain! That and the fact that this was the longer of the two stages made for an interesting race. Excited to test out all my waterproof kit from First Ascent we headed for the start. I was 10min in front of the next lady in my race and so my objective for the race was to see if I could possibly place top 3 over all. Not thinking that the views could of gotten any better than the previous day, I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. We started out running up the same side of the mountain but once we got to the top we split off and ran down to the river. Running past several waterfalls and at one point we even had to cross over a waterfall. My body coped a bit better with the smaller amounts of oxygen which I was really glad about. 

I managed to finish in a time of 2h39min for the 15km this time quite a bit behind Christiaan Greyling but I was very happy to hear that I had finished second overall in the Midway Challenge again, however my Dad did manage to beat me by 5min, will have to run faster next time well done Dad! After the race we were trated to some delishious burgers from the Sky Resturant. 

I managed to place 1st female and 2nd overall in the Midway challenge and take home my first international podium which was really cool. Then it was the long roadtrip back to South Africa. We obviously stopped for some photos along the way. I just wanted to say thank you so much to all my sponsors, the Nevarest Team, 

KeyHealth Medical Aid, First Ascent SA and Toyota SA, for making this possible. Also a big thank you to Shane from Trail Adventure for putting on such an incredible race. Really happy that it is still going to be put on next year. The 3222 Challenge should definitely be put on everyone’s bucket list.

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