Reigning men’s team champion, AJ Calitz together with Ben Brimble of Team KWay North Face obliterated the 34-kilometre route to win day two of the Cell C AfricanX trail running Grabouw on Saturday.
The two clocked 2hr 45min 51sec. ‘Today went exactly according to plan. It was textbook stuff,’ says a delighted Calitz.
‘We went out hard up the first climb at Gantouw Pass, just to check the legs and gauge where the other teams where at. From there we shared the workload with Johardt Van Heerden and Henno Havenga, pushing hard as we didn’t want the roadies to have fresh legs for the climbs.
‘It was at the second climb at Applegarth that Henno started to take strain, that’s when I told Ben that it was time for us to go. We took the lead and managed to maintain a good pace.
‘If anybody heard us out on route today they’d think that we had a bro-mance going,’ laughs Calitz.’We were constantly encouraging each other. This was the hardest that I’ve ever had to work for a win. I think people wrote us off after Stage One, so it is really nice to be able to show everyone that the old ballies still have what it takes. Going into Stage Three we’ll play a defensive game.
‘We’ll just sit back and play to our strength.’
Van Heerden and Havenga of Team Windhoek Light Pro’s came in second, while JC Visser and Rohan Kennedy of Team ASICS Run Tough finished third.
In the women’s race Megan Mackenzie and Landie Greyling of Team KPMG Salomon Ladies continued their winning streak, crossing the finish line in a time of 3:17:30. ‘The stage was awesome,’ says Mackenzie. ‘It was really hot out there. We just ran within ourselves. I love AfricanX. I think this is my third one. I can’t imagine not coming back to race. Tomorrow we’ll see how we feel, give it a good shot and hopefully blow it out the water.’
Taryn King and Dunya Ansems of Team Takkie and Heels came in second, while Katya Soggot and Chantel Nienaber of TeamThe Ladybirds finished third.
Picture of Brimble (left) and Calitz courtesy of Tobias Ginsberg