Spotted on Strava: Cape Epic, FKTs... and a Unicorn


Photography courtesy of: Anne Terpstra

From the aptly named Cape Epic to one of the toughest ultramarathons on the planet, by way of Belgium's cobblestones and a unicorn, there's been plenty to look out for on Strava this week.

There are plenty of races that carry grandiose titles, but many struggle to live up to them. One that undoubtedly does live up to its name is the Cape Epic, a mountain bike race so challenging that it is categorized by the UCI as hors catégorie (which basically means it's really tough). Every year, teams of two tackle roughly 435 miles / 700km of trails over eight days, taking in up to 52,500 feet / 16,000m of climbing. Germany's Anne Terpstra and Nicole Koller not only won the women's race overall but also won every single stage along the way. In the men's race, Matthew Beers and Howard Grotts secured the victory by over 11 minutes.

Needless to say, Cape Epic wasn't the only bit of epicness happening on Strava this week.

Over in the wilds of Tennessee's Frozen Head State Park, the legendary Barkley Marathons was thwarting the dreams of yet more pain-hungry runners. Sometimes called 'the race that eats its young', only 15 people had managed to complete the 100 mile / 160km course with 60,000ft / 18,288m of elevation gain before this year. In 2024 that number skyrocketed to 20. Amongst those five finishers was Jasmine Paris, who became the first woman to ever finish within the time limits (59:58:21). Ihor Verys (58:44:59) was the fastest overall finisher, with John Kelly (59:15:38) second, Jared Campbell third (59:30:32), and Greig Hamilton fourth (59:38:42).

Back on more 'civilized' ground, another one of the cycling 'classics', the Gent-Wevelgem, was taking place in Belgium. In a fantastically tight race, Lorena Wiebes took the win in a dramatic photo finish with Elisa Balsamo. It was the 76th win of Wiebes' career, and her first at Gent-Wevelgem after five previous attempts.

From organized events to individual challenges, we love them all at Strava. And one thing we celebrate more than most is a solid FKT (Fastest Known Time). Over the course of the past week we've seen a few claimed around the world, including Pavel Krokovny on Japan's Okumusashi Long Trail, Pawel Cymbalista on Sctoland's Rob Roy Way, and Emilie Feral who completed the Traversée des Alpilles. Meanwhile, over in Australia Stephen Redfern set a new FKT on the 50 mile / 81.8 km Blue Mountains Express Glenbrook to Mount Victoria route. A tough traverse of some technical and remote terrain, Stephen finished the route in 10:07:31.

And finally, who doesn't love a unicorn? Strava Artist Lenny Maughan was back at the 'canvas' again this week, this time wishing good luck to everyone competing at the Boston Marathon. For those who may have confused Lenny's drawing of a unicorn for a simple act of whimsy, the symbol is synonymous with Boston and appears on the medals, bibs, and around the course of one of the world's great running races.

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