A long-distance athlete from Cape Town has become the first South African woman to win one of the most grueling international races.
Toni McCann ran first across the finish line of the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc OCC last Thursday. She beat hundreds of other contestants from all over the world to win this title. According to the race’s website, the 55 km marathon is run in the Alps in France and participants climb approximately 3.5 km during the race.
Competitors have 14.5 hours to cover the route, more time than is allowed for the Comrades marathon, but McCann completed it in just 5 hours and 28 minutes. It is also a new record.
In a post on the Facebook page of the Otter African Trail Run, a running club of which McCann is a part, they say it has always been her dream to win the race. “You made South Africa proud today. We salute you and can’t wait for you to participate in a race on your own soil again within the next month,” writes the club.
McCann’s alma mater, St. Mary’s DSG in Pretoria, congratulated her on Facebook for the win. “Congratulations on a highlight in your career and a fantastic race. What an incredible achievement.”
According to website Faces Africa, McCann took on the race for the first time in 2021, finishing 14th. In 2022, as part of Adidas’ Terrex team, she finished fifth. McCann told the site that she was nervous when the big day finally arrived, but that she was mostly excited to start running.