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Work life integration, we talk to Mountain Ultra Trail Champ, Kane Reilly

Kane Reilly talks to DoughGetters about George MUT and holistic approach to life

Work life integration, we talk to Mountain Ultra Trail Champ, Kane Reilly

INTERVIEW: George MUT champ 2021

Kane Reilly won the 60km George Mountain Ultra Trail in spectacular fashion on Saturday 26 June. The Capetonian lead from start to finish, to finish in a time of 6:18:11, some 24 minutes and 10 seconds ahead of second place finisher, Roelof Mostert.

Reilly, who is not a professional runner, has been taking big strides in some high profile races over the past 18 months as he sets his sights on some international goals, including the much-revered CCC at UTMB (hyperlink to https://utmbmontblanc.com/en/page/21/21.html). We caught up with him after his big win.

  1. Firstly, talk us through the race in broad sweeps: Did you have a strategy going in and did things play out according to that plan?

Kane Reily wins George MUT 2021

Kane Reilly ran to a commanding victory in a new course record time. Reilly was joined on the podium by Roelof Mostert (right) and Mvuyisi Gcogco. Photo: Zane Schmahl

I planned to run my own race and that’s what I did on the day. I started at a relatively cruisey pace and then picked up the intensity as I went. The strategy was to leave some gas in the tank for the end. That didn’t quite workout out! The last 20km were pretty tough and in retrospect I could have possibly gone a bit easier early on.

I love climbing, so I always end up taking advantage of the climbs and it was no different at the MUT. If I could have finished with a bit more energy that would have been ideal, but I am still pretty new to the ultra game.

Overall I’m happy!

  1. You mentioned on an Instagram post that you’re still ‘still a relative ultra rookie’ are you taking advice from mentors on the longer distances, or are you kind of making it up as you go along?

Yeah I’ve run a few shorter ‘ultras’ and had some pretty long days on the mountain in the past, but have mostly focused on marathon (and under) races to date. This year I’ve started a bit of a journey into the ultra world, with CCC at UTMB the big goal for the year. To get there I’ve recently started working with a coach – James Montgomery from The Run Project – and he’s adding a lot of direction to my running.  Ryan Sandes and I always bounce things off each other and I’ve learnt a lot from him about running long distances. I have also been working with Mike Watson (aka Gunshow) for a few years. I definitely consider myself very lucky to be surrounded by these great mentors and coaches.

  1. Tell us a bit about the route and the conditions?

The MUT 60km Route is absolutely epic! It’s ‘real’ mountain running, the likes you’d find in the Alps, right here in the Western Cape. Big mountains, great trails and a bit of everything really….Climbs, descents, some fast runnable sections and some phenomenal panoramic views.

  1. Aside from the route, what makes this event so special?

The local runners are super passionate and invested in building the sport in the area. It’s awesome and because of that MUT had a great vibe! You know, it’s the kind of vibe that can only come as a bi-product of having a great community who are heavily involved in the event. I think this is an element that really makes some of the great events, great.

I can see this event going from strength to strength. In my opinion it’s got the two things that really make an event – the route/mountains and community.

You might not be about to tackle an ultra mountain trail race, but you can learn a lot about fitting training time into your daily routine from Reilly, who balances a full-time job with elite running. These are his top four tips:


  1. Amateur runners learn from the professionals

    Ryan Sandes and Kane Reilly Photo: Zane Schmahl

    You need to make the conscious decision about what is important

The amateur athletes of the past are a huge inspiration to me, athletes who achieved amazing things whilst living full lives, very often guided by a set of firm ideals. I’ve learnt that to achieve the things they did (and what I want to) you have to make sure your personal values are the guiding factor in this decision-making process. For me the important things are running, progressing in my ‘day job’ (career in marketing) and prioritising family.

  1. Now, do your best

Once you’ve decided what is important to you, go for it and make sure you are giving your best in every aspect. This doesn’t mean you have to be a machine and not make any mistakes, but I do think that if you are choosing to live an holistic life, you need to make sure you are doing your best in all areas, or none of them will really feel right.

Zane Schmahl planning the roete with Ryan Sandes and Kane Reilly

3. Plan and commit

Something I’m learning this year (and it’s been hugely valuable so far) is that having a solid long-term and short-term plan goes a very long way! It’s great for becoming a better runner in general, but also stops you from being overly committed to either work or running – your plan needs to consider a good balance of both and then you need to stick to it. It’s easy to get pulled in one direction at times and a plan helps keep you in check.


4. Focus

Sure, it can be difficult to carve out the time you need to excel as an athlete, without feeling guilty about the opportunity cost. I think this effects a lot of people, particularly those with kids. I believe a good plan helps. It forces you to commit to the training you need to do and, importantly, keeps you present when training. There is nothing worse than worrying about what you aren’t doing, when you are out there running (or doing your sport). It’s very important to be present in training and allow yourself to enjoy your sport-time as much as possible.



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