The 25th annual Caltex Sole Destroyer has attracted a top field as runners take on the daunting race when it kicks off in Cambridge tomorrow.
The popular race is set to draw a massive field that will be gunning for top honours, with a terrific morning of running in store.
Last year’s race champions Luthando Hejana and Andrea Ranger will not be back to defend their titles this year, which paves the way for a new champion.
“It is a lovely race, last year was the first time that I won but I will definitely be back to do it again next year,” said Ranger.
Real Gijimas chairman Alex Kambule confirmed that Hejana was injured, so he was unlikely to be involved in running the race at all.
“Luthando was supposed to run in a Sanlam race, but he wasn’t able to as he is carrying an injury, so I don’t think he will even be able to run this weekend,” said Kambule.
“He is our best runner by far and has done very well in the Sole Destroyer, but now it will give some other runners a chance.”
With the Legends half-marathon taking place next weekend, some of the top runners in the region might be taking it easy tomorrow, in preparation for that race.
Therefore the race could be wide open for an outside pick, with the top prizes and prestigious King and Queen of the Mountain titles there for the taking.
One of the contenders on the women’s side could be Hanlie Botha, however she is still deciding whether she wants to do the 9km Sole Teaser and Legends Half, or the 21km Sole Destroyer and the shorter run at the Legends.
Botha won the title in 2014 and 2015 before missing out on last year’s race.
“I will definitely be at the race, I really enjoy it and I am happy to be back after I missed last year, which I was planning to run but wasn’t feeling a 100% so had to make the call to pull out,” he said.
Premier Eastern Cape marathon runner Lusapho April will also be at the race, but he has confirmed he will be taking it easy in the Sole Teaser to ease himself back into competitive running.
This year, in honour of the 25th edition of the race, there will be special medals for the top three male and female runners as well as the top male and female in each off the categories.
Race organiser, Dillon Pretorius said that the weather predicted for tomorrow could not be more favourable for the runners.
“We are expecting a slightly cooler day with possibly a sprinkling of rain along the way and a slight easterly wind picking up later in the morning, as runners we cannot ask for better conditions” said Pretorius.
Caltex Eastern Cape marketer and CEO Clive Berlyn (sponsors for the past 11 years) will be participating in the Sole Teaser.
“You will be seeing me at the finish line but not at the Heartbreak Hill as I opted to rather do the 9km Sole Teaser and leave the Sole Destroyer to the big guns on Sunday,” said Berlyn.
The 21km Sole Destroyer will set off at 6.30am tomorrow morning in Smithfield Street in Cambridge and finish at Oxford Striders, while the 9km Sole Teaser will get going at 7am, starting and finishing at Oxford Striders.
The final chance to register for the race will be at Oxford Striders from 9am to noon this morning as no entries will be accepted on the day of the race.