02 June 2017

Greyling Wins Tough Mid-Atlantic Faial Coast To Coast Ultra Trail Race In Azores

Submitted by Viv Quann
Greyling Wins Tough Mid-Atlantic Faial Coast To Coast Ultra Trail Race In Azores

PIETERMARITZBURG, 2 June 2017 – Arguably South Africa’s top men’s trail athlete, Christiaan Greyling (Jeep Team SA), has won the extreme Faial Coast to Coast 47km Ultra Trail Race, which took place on Faial Island in Azores, an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, on Saturday, the 27th May, fighting the worst weather conditions imaginable. Portugal’s Faial Coast to Coast Ultra Trail traverses some 47km, with a cumulative elevation gain of 2385 metres, from the village of Ribeirinha, near Boca da Ribeira Port on the east coast at 0m altitude, to Capelinhos on the west coast, at 2385m altitude.                               

The Azores Trail Run takes place in Faial Natural Park, considered a European Destiny of Excellence (EDEN) by the European Commission. The race takes runners on a journey through the history of the geology of the island following the formation of the island, from east to west passing landmarks and geological features, showcasing the volcanic nature of the Azores islands. A large part of the trail takes place in the largest and most remarkable "Graben" of the archipelago, a large section of land that collapsed between two tectonic faults. The trail ends at the biggest volcano on the island, the dormant Capelinhos Volcano. Greyling, who only took the lead only in the last 6km of the race, crossed the finish line in first place in a time of 03:54:07. Second place went to island local, Dário Moitoso, in a time of 04:02:36, and third place to Nuno Silva, in a time of 04:04:00. 

Says Greyling on his outstanding race, “This race was significant as it marked my first race as a full-time athlete. It was amazing to run on this land mass caused by the 1957 Volcanic action in the Azores. It looked like Mars, while the rest of the course was lush green. “We started off in a group of about 5 athletes leading and holding a comfortable pace on the volcanic line of Faial. At about 9km, local trail champion, Dário Moitoso, made a break and I responded. I kept contact with him until 17km where I stopped at the waterpoint.

“The race organiser had warned us about the intense winds and rain, but I underestimated the extent - the wind was so extreme it could blow you off your feet! I saw some runners on hands and knees crawling the 1km of trail on the Caldera’s edge (crater edge). In extreme conditions and poor visibility, I lost sight of Dário Moitoso. I gave it everything on the muddy downhills to try to catch up with him, and it took me another 17km before I saw him again on the last climb.

I sprinted past him, missing the last waterpoint knowing another stop would lose me the race. I managed to open an 8min gap on him in the last 7km and finished the 42km in 3h54.07, certainly one of my best trail marathons, especially in these conditions and altitude.”Landie Greyling, Christiaan’s wife, and a renowned Trail Champion, won the female overall category, an hour ahead of second placed runner, Raquel Andrade.  



1. Christiaan Greyling     03:54:07

2. Dário Moitoso            04:02:36

3. Nuno Silva                 04:04:00


1. Landie Greyling           04:21:56

2. Raquel Andrade          05:21:59

3. Maria Goulão              05:24:12 

###Greyling Second In Vertical Km Skyrunning World Series Race In Azores, Portugal

Vertical KM racing is common in Europe, It’s an ascent 1000m vertical run in the shortest distance possible. Christiaan Greyling (Jeep Team), took part in the Vertical KM Race in Azores Portugal during his recent race meet on the weekend, 27 and 28 May 2017.The Azores Vertical KM takes the runner up the side of a Volcano - a mere 3.5km up - one of the steepest ascents on the Skyrunning World series calendar.

The Azores VK took place on the island of Pico. The landscape features an eponymous volcano called Ponta do Pico, which is the highest mountain in Portugal, the Azores, and the highest elevation of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.Say Greyling on his race, “We were transported by ferry to the other island and then by bus to the start of the race.

The weather was extreme! To explain the conditions does not do justice to what we experienced, but at least 2 people almost lost their lives due to hypothermia. No matter how fast, how confident you are, mother nature is not your friend. Due to the extreme weather, the route was changed to a 700m ascent.“I did not know how to race a VK, and because we started 30 seconds apart, I had little idea of the competition pace. The general rule is go as hard as you can, and if in doubt, go up! I have never experienced wind and rain to this extent. I completed the 700m ascent in 33 minutes and was surprised and very happy to see I was only 1 minute behind winner, Tsubasa Fuji (Superstar Fuji), to place second overall.


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Photo Credit: Filipe Goncalves 

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Published in Sports Range