The Seventh annual ProNutro AfricanX Trailrun enjoyed a cool start in Grabouw on Friday when just under 600 keen trail runners toed the line at the picturesque Houw Hoek Inn to partake in South Africa’s premier three day stage trail run.
Edwin Sesipi and Johardt Van Heerden of Team 32gi Gauteng Men’s clinched the Stage One victory, completing the 34-kilometre route that started and finished at the Houw Hoek Inn in a blistering fast time of 2hr 21min 37sec.
The route involved 890 metres of climbing.
‘This is my first AfricanX Trailrun,’ says Van Heerden. ‘I actually only entered the event last week Sunday on invitation. I’ve always wanted to take part. We had an easy start, with a big group running together. Around about the 13km–14km mark a smaller group broke away.
‘It was at the 22km mark that we made our breakaway up a hill. The rest of the teams fell back. From the last water point we just kept it steady to the finish. The route was tough, but runnable, while weather conditions were perfect. Crossing the finish line first was amazing’.
AJ Calitz and Bernard Rukadza of Team KWAY came in second, while Eric Ngubane and Thabang Madiba of Team Salomon Men finished third.
Yolande Maclean and Nic De Beer of Team CW-X Ultraspire took the lead in the mixed team category securing victory in a well-deserved time of 2:42:39.
‘Although Nic and I have been corresponding with each other for quite some time, we only met for the first time on Thursday,’ says Maclean. ‘He was great today, very positive and supportive. The stage one route was very nice, tough on some parts.
‘My feet are actually burning. There was one point where the helicopter was right above us. I actually got goose-bumps. Tomorrow is going to be tough. Our plan is to just go with it and enjoy’.
Sister and brother duo Natia and Antoine Van Heerden of Team Twinning came in second, while Kerry-Ann Marshall and Morne Van Greunen of Team Enduro Hub finished third.
The women’s team stage victory went to Meg Mackenzie and Landie Greyling of Team Salomon Blondies.
Greyling said it was an awesome day out. ‘We decided to keep within ourselves, keep a steady rhythm and have fun. Taking part in a women’s team is great as we control the pace, where if you race in a mixed team you are pretty much always trying to keep up with the male runner as he is usually the stronger runner
‘Tomorrow is a big day, but luckily we both enjoy technical running’.
Team Salomon Blondies claimed gold in 2:49. Nicolette Grifioen and Carla Van Huyssteen of Team ProNutro Timefreight came in second, while Inge Visser and Liesbeth Van Der Merwe of Team Ganbei finished third.
Picture of the leading women’s and mixed teams in day one action, courtesy of Volume Photography