KNYSNA SPORT NEWS - A week ahead of one of the most gruelling endurance trail runs in the form of the Otter Trail Run, one of the young favourites, Robbie Rorich, is looking to conquer the race off the back of an unusual training regime.
One of UCT's top mechanical and mechatronic engineering graduates and a talented sculptor with an international calling card, Rorich has spent most of 2019 cycling slowly through Africa on the trip of a lifetime.
He burst onto the trail-running scene with a remarkable victory in the 2017 "The Beast" 50km trail run on Table Mountain and has enjoyed a number of other successes, both in solo and team events.
The 24-year-old Rorich, who has also completed the gruelling Cape Epic on four occasions, has also run the Otter African Trail Run faster than any other South African and will be lining up at Storms River next week 9 October as one of the pre-race favourites. He will be running his third successive Otter – a 40km traverse along the coast of the majestic Tsitsikama National Park, finishing in Nature's Valley – and is one of the exciting younger generation of trail athletes.
After following Christiaan Greyling and Kane Reilly across the line in his 2017 Otter debut, Rorich was first South African home last year in the reverse-direction "Retto". Rorich placed an outstanding eighth in a field stacked with the world's best trail athletes, defeating Rory Scheffer and Greyling in a sprint finish.
His time of 4:10:54 now stands as the fastest by a South African in either direction, and Rorich will have every hope of further success, based on an unusual training regime. "Cycling a heavy bike through Africa is pretty good training," reflected Rorich. "And there has been time for some good runs as well. So it will be interesting to see how this new training works out in practice!"
Rorich, his sister Michie and friends initiated the Our Africa Pole Pole (slowly, slowly in Swahili) journey from Cairo to Keurbooms, setting out in January on a mission to engage with fellow Africans to explore the question, "What do we want our Africa future to look like?"
The team have reached Blantyre in Malawi, but Rorich is planning a short break to run the Otter, set to return shortly afterwards to complete the journey. Chances are that when he starts out on the iconic hiking trail alongside South Africa's leading trail athletes next month, he won't be going "pole pole".
An indication of Rorich's confidence this year is that he has challenged race director Mark Collins to put up R100 000 for the first South African to run the Otter in under four hours, vowing to donate all of it to the Global White Lion Projection Trust.
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