The 2022 RMB UTCT was greeted with a heaving South East wind, bellowing down the face of Table Mountain and over the start line at the Gardens Rugby Club. This year’s 6am start meant that racing would get underway in daylight instead of darkness, giving a less moody and intense feel to affairs though the challenge that lay ahead was certainly no less than before. The event had once again attracted a strong field of international competitors across the men’s and women’s categories and our South African stars were preparing to fly the flag high for the host nation.
The WILD AIR Crew were getting involved in the action, bringing live updates of ASICS runner Matt Healy to fans and followers on the @wildairsports Instagram Stories. You can catch the recap of that here. The pace is always hot off the start at UTCT over the trails of Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, and Table Mountain; even the intense winds weren’t cooling it down all that much! Reaching the Signal Hill Check Point in 10th position at 12km in, Matt put his head down, backed himself and ran consistently through the inevitable ups and downs of and ultra marathon. After 12 hours 4 minutes and 10 seconds, Matt crossed the line in 6th position, 38mins behind fellow South African Daniel Claassen, to wrap up a stellar season for the young athlete.
Matt shared some insight into his race experience with us on the finish line as he soaked in the emotions of a successful day out.
WA: How did you feel at the start? Did you have a calm mind or were you having to work hard to keep your focus and chill?
WA: Managing the effort in the first 20 – 30km can be tricky. Do you think you did that well? What were the challenges?
WA: When we saw you at Llandudno you were looking like you were in a pretty good headspace, what contributed to that?
Follow up: Your momentum got put under pressure at Suther Peak, what was going on there?
WA: Chelsea (girlfriend and support crew) said that you made some changes to your nutrition plan during the race?
WA: Passing through Hout Bay where you pulled the plug last year, where was your head at? Did you have that on your mind at all?
WA: Your plan was to open the taps from Alphen trail when things become more runnable, did you have as much gas left as you expected to?
WA: So Daniel came through in 5th overall and first South African and yourself 6th and 2nd South African, what are your thoughts on his performance today?
WA: What is the plan from now on? A bit of off season? Then when do things kick off in 2023 for you?
Hats off to Matt for executing a fantastic race. We know he had his eye on being the first South African home and it is tough to come so close and not achieve that goal, competition is an opportunity to sharpen oneself and we’re sure that both Matt and Daniel will be better athletes because of it! At the end of the day, the man is still early on in what is looking to be a long and strong career in the ultra running world. We revelled in the occasion to be out on the mountain watching him do what he does best with front row seats and we see bright things ahead for Matt Healy!
To get to know this athlete a little better, you can catch our podcast with him that we recorded after his FKT attempt on the 13 Peaks route.