If you thought Kane was good; meet Maxine Reilly
11 November 2016
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Welcome onto this edition of Old Mutual Live, I’m Brad Brown. Great things start here, great things start now. A short while ago we caught up with one of the up and coming big names in South African trail running, he’s really carving a niche for himself. He’s doing some amazing things. Had a great run at the 2016 Otter as well and we’re joined now by his mom, Maxine Reilly. Maxine, talking obviously about Kane but you’re an avid trail runner yourself. Thanks for joining us here on Old Mutual Live today.
Maxine Reilly: Well thanks Brad, great to be on the show, quite a surprise, privilege but great to chat to you.
BB: Maxine, has running always been part of your life? I mean we’ll chat a little bit about some of the stuff that you’re up to now. But have you always been a runner?
MR: Yes, I think I probably started later than most of the people are starting these days. I mean my mid 20’s did a lot of road running but we were always out looking for the off trail running or the ones that were seen as off trail. Up the coast, to Saldanha, but never thought of running in the mountains.
No knee problems on the trails
On my last Two Oceans which I did six of, I just had really sore knees coming down the hill. I thought: No, this was it, I’m not going to do any long distance running anymore and I can’t be doing it. Then a few years later I started on trail and there’s just been no turning back. Running much further distances and just loving it and never had a knee problem again.
BB: I’m glad you say that because you said you’re not doing any long stuff again but the trails are a lot easier on the body than pounding on the roads, isn’t it?
MR: No definitely. I don’t think I could do a 42km on the road easy without coming out injured. Even the training and now I am able to train, I spend hours on the mountain and it’s much easier. I think definitely even as a youngster, it’s easier for the youngsters and as you get older it’s definitely something that I would advise. I’m just surprised that there aren’t more women of my age going onto the trails because it is that much easier on your body.
BB: Yes, absolutely. Let’s talk about Otter for a moment. You ran the 2016 edition and you were telling me before we started recording it’s not your first Otter. But it was your first in this direction and you were hesitant to do this one but you had a pretty good experience.
MR: Yes, I was hesitant, the technical section is at the end on this route and last year I did the opposite direction and the first section which, I must say we did start in the rain and the dark, seemed to take forever and was very hard.
I thought: This year on tired legs cramping it’s going to be impossible. But actually didn’t turn out like that. It actually was fantastic, you could see and I think adrenaline is going by that stage and it was great, I had a really good run. I was really surprised at how good I felt at the end.
The allure of Otter
BB: Maxine, what makes the Otter special? I mean we’re so blessed, you live in Cape Town, so do I and there’s incredible runs here. There’s amazing trails all over the country but there’s something special about the Otter, what do you think it is?
MR: Well, I think firstly the route. I don’t think you can get a route that is as beautiful as that. I’ve run in the mountains a lot; we’re very blessed with mountains here. I’ve seen the pictures in the Alps and that, the mountains are fantastic. But to have that coastline is just something special.
I mean and when we ran on Thursday the seas are huge and the waves crashing onto the rocks and just the fynbos and the trail itself is very special. I think that the whole event, the way it’s organised by Magnetic South, it also adds a different take on it. It’s the excitement and the build-up and the way they do it.
I took Kane out the first time in 2012, it was his first run. When I was part of that weekend and the way it was organised, I mean I didn’t go on the route then. I just thought: No, this is a race I really have to do, number one on my Bucket List and the next year I went and did it.
BB: Let’s touch on Kane and particularly the last two years he’s’ had a couple of close misses. If you look at this year’s race again as well he’s just come up again, someone who’s just been in unbelievable form. Not that he ran badly, particularly this year also dipping under the record but not winning. He’s really running well at the moment, isn’t he?
Kane is getting stronger and stronger
MR: Yes, I think Kane is running really well, I think he’s loving it. I think Marc is an awesome athlete, I think he’s got ten years more experience on Kane and he is phenomenal. I think Kane is still going to get stronger and he’s not quite as analytic, I think as some of the runners. He just goes out to run and loves it. I think he was very pleased with his run, I mean we were very pleased, he went in stronger than he’s ever gone in. I think he’s just going to carry on and get stronger and enjoy it.
BB: I think you probably have to be philosophical about it, particularly in a run like this year’s run. Where, like you say, he went in stronger than he’s ever been, essentially he ran the record. He just got beaten by somebody who was better on the day and there’s not much more than you can do than that.
MR: Yes, I think even going in Kane recognised that he was, he said his own words: Going to hang onto Marc for as long as possible. I think he realised he’s not quite up there yet in Marc’s thing, I think he’ll get there definitely.
But Marc has had a fantastic year overseas and I must say the one thing about seeing him running if you watch the video footage now as well, he just runs with pure delight. His arms waving and humour, it’s amazing and I think he’s a fantastic role model for Kane. I think to be beaten by somebody like that, it’s fine. On the day it’s great, you’ve done the best you can and it was a great race.
BB: How proud are you of what Kane’s done in trail, in his career? It’s still a very young career, I think you’re right, he’s going to get a lot stronger. He’s going to have a long career but you must be pretty proud as his mom to see what he’s been able to achieve.
MR: Yes, I think the thing for me mostly is that I just love trail running. I just can appreciate his love for it and his love of being in the mountains. He had a setback, I mean that’s public knowledge, he has arthritis and it was incredibly sad for us. Just the prospect of maybe him not getting back up onto the mountains and doing what he loves. But he did and it’s great.
I get incredibly nervous when he runs and it’s not actually at all about whether he’s going to win or not, it’s more about I know I do those trails. I know it’s quite treacherous and the speed that they move at, it’s dangerous. You can get injured and especially like the Otter or something like Lion 10, the Red Bull event, but we love it. We love watching him, we love the places he goes to run and the enjoyment he gets out of it.
What trail races are still on the bucket list?
BB: Your running, like you say, you’ve been running for a while, you’ve done a lot on the road, you also now are just doing trail. But there’s some incredibly runs and lots that you want to tick off. What’s still to do for you from a trail running perspective?
MR: Well, I want to do some more multi-stage runs. I didn’t do any this year, I did a few last year and I really enjoyed it. I think those are just a fantastic you’re like in a cocoon for two or three days and just the mountains and the running and the whole atmosphere of a race village. So next year I’m thinking of doing one in Southern Africa, there’s the Wildrunner one which I think will be amazing.
Then one run in the Alps I think, definitely. After Kane was there this year and seeing his pictures and that I just thought it just looks like an amazing place to run. It’s probably the centre of trail running and so I’m definitely going to try and get into a race for next year in the Alps.
BB: Let me ask you this question, I always joke about it; I grew up in a running family. My dad has done multiple Comrades. I always joke to people that, and say to them that if they’re running and they’re running whatever it is, if it’s an Old Mutual Two Oceans or a Comrades or if they’re running multi-day stage trail races and they’ve got children. Their kids are invariably going to get sucked into it. It’s just one of those things.
What advice would you give to a parent who has young kids and they want them to run but they’re not too interested or they are very interested and they want to hold them back. They don’t want them to do too much, is it a difficult thing to do or just let kids be and if they want to run, let them run, if they don’t, leave them?
MR: Yes, I think that’s a good question because my husband’s a surfer and he was desperate that his kids enjoy surfing and it wasn’t a case of forcing them. It was a case of: Well, they did their schools sports and when they could he took them surfing. I think running is something that you can’t force on a child. They either love it or not.
All my kids, fortunately I think living in Cape Town helps. If you expose them to the mountains and the sea, then they will pick up that love of it. The trail running. So you can’t force kids to do what they don’t want to do and I think team sports are also good for a bit. Obliviously the trail running is something you can do after school and wherever you go and to me that’s very special.
Trail Running is more than worth a try
BB: And let’s just touch briefly on the transition from road to trail, you mentioned that you’re surprised that there aren’t more ladies your age running trails. But I think it’s daunting for a lot of people, particularly who have just run road their entire running career, to make that switch. Because they think: It’s very technical and I could fall and this and that. But what advice would you give to someone who’s contemplating it but is hesitant to get out on the trails?
MR: Well, I think we’re very lucky here in Cape Town and in the rest of the country in that we have these amazing trail series which are sort of technical but not that bad and it’s for shorter distances. That was certainly my first exposure and to just go out and try those slowly and just give it a go and see what it is that is so amazing about it, just go for it.
BB: Well Maxine, it’s been great chatting. Congratulations on your Otter as well and keep enjoying it. I can just hear in your voice how much you love the trails and how much you love getting out there. Let’s hope you can keep on ticking off those amazing runs on that list that you want to run.
MR: I hope so. I had great inspiration out there because there was a gentleman of 65 who ran the same race as I did. I think he came in as second male and just is running strongly and injury free so there’s my inspiration, another ten years I hope.
BB: That’s the goal, life goals, there we go. Maxine, thank you so much for joining us today, much appreciated and we look forward to catching up again soon.
MR: It’s great, thanks for having me.