Shezi keeps his crown at the Euro Steel Run the Rivers Trail Run

Shezi keeps his crown at the Euro Steel Run the Rivers Trail Run

The conditions may have been very different, but the outcome of Day Two of the Euro Steel Run the Rivers Trail Run was largely a case of more of the same as the leading results on Sunday closely matched those from Day One, with Philip Shezi and Janneke Leask adding to their overnight leads.

Despite playing down his chances before the race and saying he was going to struggle to defend his title, Shezi was able to notch up stage wins on both Saturday and Sunday to secure his fifth title.

The warm weather on Saturday was replaced by cool, wet conditions on Sunday, but nothing could stop Shezi. The quietly spoken farmworker from Underberg went into this year’s race as the winner in 2022, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and, although his four-minute victory overall was one of narrowest of his five consecutive titles, he was never really under threat.

Shezi cruised home in the second stage with a time of 1:51:43 for the 24km stage, almost four minutes clear of Gary Hill, who held onto his second place overall. David Lamont’s third place on Day 2 ensured the podium places remained unchanged on both days.

In the women’s race, Leask added almost four minutes to her overnight lead and ended up more than five minutes clear of Tarry Lopez, while a storming Day 2 run from Sarah Stroberg allowed her to move up from to third and swop places with Leah Sloman.

Shezi’s has become something of a hero in the area. His hero status is mostly due to his dominance in this event, as well as a series of impressive victories in other local trail running races and some top 10 finishes in other major nationally recognised events such as the Sani Stagger and Ultra Trail Drakensberg.

However, his big smile after yesterday’s run hid the fact that he has no sponsor and has to fit in training runs around his work commitments.

“I really like this race and I like to do it every year, and this year the race was good and the weather was OK,” said Shezi after crossing the line. “But I would like to have a sponsor to help me with my running costs.”

In the shorter Euro Steel Run the Rivers Lite, Gareth Marquiss was once again in a class of his own and he won the short 8km stage by over a minute, with Ezra Robertson losing time to Tristan Sebire, but holding onto second position.

The women’s shorter event also saw no change in the results as Paula Walker added to her overnight lead and young schoolgirl Kayleigh Walker was able to keep third-placed Roxanne Vale at bay.

(under pos, name, overall time, Day 1, Day2)

1 Phillip Shezi 3:44:28 (1:52:44, 1:51:43)
2 Gary Hill 3:48:32 (1:53:06, 1:55:25)
3 David Lamont 3:49:36 (1:53:46, 1:55:49)
4 Ross Minter-Brown 3:55:21 (1:56:46, 1:58:35)
5 Murray Waldeck 3:55:33 (1:54:09, 2:01:24)
1 Janneke Leask 3:56:01 (1:56:32, 1:59:28)
2 Tarryn Lopez 4:01:18 (1:58:15, 2:03:02)
3 Sarah Stroberg 4:05:11 2:03:21, 2:01:50)
4 Leah Sloman 4:06:57 2:00:43, 2:06:14)
5 Linda Shrives 4:16:42 2:05:44, 2:10:58)


1 Gareth Marquiss 1:45:34 (1:11:03, 0:34:31)
2 Ezra Robertson 1:49:23 (1:13:47, 0:35:36)
3 Tristan Sebire 2:01:49 (1:27:04, 0:34:45)
1 Paula Walker 2:01:31 (1:21:37, 0:39:53)
2 Kayleigh Lindeque 2:08:50 (1:27:05, 0:41:44)
3 Roxanne Vale 2:11:37 (1:28:44, 0:42:53)

©2023 Sani Spoors