Cape Town - KwaZulu-Natal-born, Cape Town-based trail athlete Meg Mackenzie claimed her first Golden Trail World Series podium when she took third place in Sunday's Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado, USA.
The iconic race saw entrants start their journey on the streets of Manitou Springs, run a half marathon to the top of 14 115-foot Pikes Peak on the historic Barr Trail (while climbing 7 770 feet) and then descend to the finish line back in Manitou Springs, some 42.195km later.
Factoring in the altitude challenge as well as Colorado’s hot summer temperatures and an at times sandy trail, the race produced some incredible performances.
In the women's battle, Switzerland's Maude Matthys smashed American Meg Kimmel's 2018 record (4:15.04) when she stopped the clock in a time of 4:02:45 - a full 12 minutes and 19 seconds quicker.
Norway's Yngvild Kaspersen finished second (4:27.26) with Mackenzie following in 4:32.19.
The Pikes Peak Marathon forms part of the Golden Trail Series which comprises six races - four in Europe and one each in the United States and Scotland.
Runners - both male and female - have to compete in at least three races in order to qualify for the overall top 10 standings.
Those top 10 runners in each category will then be flown to the Grand Final which this year is set to take place on Annapurna in the Himalayas in Nepal having being contested on South Africa's Otter trial in 2018.
Thanks to her third-place finish in Colorado, and coupled with her sixth spot at the Mont Blanc Marathon in France and eighth-place at the DoloMyths Run Skyrace in Italy, Mackenzie finds herself in sixth place in the overall standings with just one race remaining in the series.
Meanwhile, the men's race at the Pikes Peak Marathon was won by Spanish star Kilian Jornet who claimed his third title in the 2019 series in as many attempts in a time of 3:27.29 - the race's fastest time in 24 years.
However, he fell agonisingly short of American Matt Carpenter’s "impossible" 26-year-old race record of 3:16.39.
American Sage Canaday took second place in 3:39:03, with Swiss runner Marc Lauenstein in third (3:40:29).