08 Dec, 2015

Fairy-tale finish for the Munga

John Ntuli won the Munga. Photograph by Erik Vermeulen

It’s done. What a ride!

It is not just the culmination of five frenetic days of racing, but of years of planning and dreaming.

“Often we attribute the genesis of an idea to a single moment in time, or a specific event. But thats not the case with the munga. Days, weeks spent on the bike on lonely trails, misty mornings, high up in forgotten country, wondering, sometimes doubting, but in the end believing,” says Munga organiser Alex Harris.

First rider home was John Ntuli from the Change A Life Academy in a time of two days, 21 hours, 10 minutes. Second rider home was Grant Usher in a time of three days, one hour and 26 minutes and third rider home was Leon Erasmus in a time of three days, two hours and 16 minutes.

“My excitement was not just for John Ntuli from the #Change A Life Academy who came over the line first, nine hours after my predicted winning time, but also for the two Wim’s who rolled in 90 mins before the five day cut-off. John was the recipient of the ‘Directors Cut’ entry, the person who most personified what the Munga stands for. So for him to win the inaugural race was incredibly thrilling.”

First woman home was Amy Beth McDougall in a time of three days, 11 hours and 56 minutes, with Hannele Steyn (three days, 16 hours and 25 minutes) second and Hanlie Booyens (three days, 17 hours and 25 minutes).

“To see them leave each day in the early hours and push through every type of pain confirmed once again how indomitable the human spirit is. When given the right mix of compelling ingredients, and motivating moments, people will dig deeper than ever before,” commented Alex, “they will find something else, a little bit more, somewhere, and keep going. This is what the Munga ultimately is about.”

Out of a 42-rider field, 32 riders finished.

“To the 32 riders who made it to the end, i salute you! You personify the best that is human. You stand as a beacon to the discouraged that anything is possible. In you, random people found new heroes. In a strange kind of way, your journey might just have been the spark to begin their own. Thank you for digging deep!” concluded Alex.