Nedbank Running Club’s Eric Ngubane the King of Golden Gate
October 26, 2021  

After a disappointing performance in his own right at last weeks Cape Town Marathon 46km trail run, Nedbank running club’s Eric Ngubane made amends with a total domination of the 3-day Golden Gate challenge run over 70km of beautiful yet challenging terrain in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park

From the start of day 1 which saw athletes face an uphill battle for the first quarter of the 27km terrain, Ngubane shot to the front and ended day 1 with a lead of 4:27 over the second placed athlete. “I was very surprised that I managed to end day 1 with that type of lead because there were two local boys who know the course well who I was looking at fighting the podium with, but I kept waiting and then told myself I must just go,” said Ngubane. 

Setting off on day 2 which saw the runners navigate 29km of undulating terrain as the runners headed out of little Serengeti, Ngubane again found himself in the same position the previous day where his body just felt so much stronger than any of his competitors and was unchallenged again as he extended his overall lead even further ahead of the penultimate day 3 which runners would have to navigate 17km to cross the finish line. 

“I knew already now that even if I had a bad run on the final day, I was going to win the event and it surprised me because of last week’s bad race in Cape Town. To tell the truth, I was expecting to fight hard just to make the podium here.”

As with the previous 2 days, Ngubane ran a solo final day to end victorious with a total 3-day time of 07:19:25, which saw him over 26 minutes ahead of the 2nd placed finisher. “I am happy to bring this title back home because the previous 2 years the local runners got the better of me,” said an elated Ngubane after the race. 

It was an emotional prize giving at the Golden Gate 3-day challenge with hardly a dry eye in the crowd when Ngubane paid a touching tribute to Travis Wawrick-Olivier who 8 months earlier had his leg amputated due to a motorbike accident. Olivier also competed in the event finishing some 7 hours behind the champion Ngubane.  When Ngubane was handed his prize, he handed it over to Olivier. 

“Travis is really an inspiration to many people and people should look up to him because no matter his problems, he faces them head on and he is no ordinary mountain trail runner,” said Ngubane. 

For now, Ngubane looks to take a bit of rest and go into the new year injury free before setting some bigger goals. “I might run an event in December but for now I want to let my body recover and stay positive ahead of next year. I want to thank the Nedbank running club, it’s management and the club’s sponsors for not giving up on us when the pandemic was in full force. We really appreciate it,” said Ngubane.