Caroline takes the title

Wöstmann added the 26th Old Mutual Om-die-Dam ultramarathon to her list of accolades on a cool and cloudy Saturday. in Hartbeespoort

In the men’s race, Comrades and Old Mutual Two Oceans gold medallist Fanie Matshipa won the gruelling 50 km race around the  Hartbeespoort Dam in a time of two hours, 59 minutes, and 32 seconds (2:59.32).

“It wasn’t that tough, it was actually easy for me because I trained to win this race and I finally made it,” Matshipa said.

Former Comrades winner Ludwick Mamabolo finished behind him in a time of 3:01.48, followed by Khubulani Zondo hotly on his heels in 3:01.58.

The 33-year-old Wöstmann finished in a time of 3:38.38, ahead of Julanie Basson in second place with 3:45.47. Salome Cooper crossed the finishing line in third place, clocking 3:51.11.

Wöstmann is only the second woman after ultramarathon legend Frith van der Merwe to have won all three titles.

She is, however, the first person to win all three ultras within a period of a year.

The women’s race took on an emotional theme as some athletes wore green ribbons in memory of six-time Om-die-Dam winner and defending champion, Riana van Niekerk, who lost her battle to cancer in February this year.

Wöstmann paid tribute to Van Niekerk, dedicating the victory to the fallen road-running hero.

“We all know there was another lady that should have won today, I think she won in spirit even though she couldn’t be with us in person, that was Riana van Niekerk, who passed away on 13 February,” Wöstmann said.

“Last year she set a time far, far faster than this one, setting an incredible course record, and the win today deserves to go to her, so I dedicate this victory to her and I will take second place.”

The Old Mutual Om-die-Dam ultramarathon once again proved to be one of the most popular races on the South African road-running calendar, with close to 10 000 runners taking part in the 50 km, 21 km, 10 km races and the 5 km fun run. Visitors flocked to the area and supported the runners along the scenic route.

The 10 km race received a record amount of entries.

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