“There are some big mountains in that area!” says K-Way athlete Andre Calitz, fresh off his win at this weekend’s Matroosberg Trail Challenge. Fellow K-Way athlete Annemien Ganzevoort placed second in the women’s race, despite starting out with a knee niggle.
For Calitz, the race played into his hands. He excels in environments where there is a lot of ascent. “Using the race as part of my training, I didn’t specifically taper. So I went into it with tired legs and no real game plan,” he explains. That said, he always tries to make a break on the climbs and then see how things go.
From the start Calitz struggled to find his rhythm on the climb. “After about 30 minutes or so I started to relax and could maintain a good, hard pace,” he says.
Near the top of the Matroosberg mountain conditions were cold – with rain. “I put on my K-Way jacket, which helped a lot. We ran around the top of the mountain – at 2,000 metres above sea level – for about 12 kilometres, which I found more uncomfortable than the actual climb,” he says. “And we even saw some snow!”
Heading down, Calitz found his stride. “I was relatively relaxed and I didn’t have to take unnecessary risks on the descent. And then I picked up the pace on the flatter sections and final climb.
“This is an epic race with a serious mountain in the way!”
Although Ganzevoort placed second in the women’s race, she was disappointed in her run. “I went into the race with my knee strapped and hoping that the little niggle I’ve had for a while wouldn’t be too much of a bother,” she explains. She found the last 13 kilometres to be absolutely gruelling; it was a hard push to get to the end.
“It was a tough race. But hey, it was great run and great race with a great vibe and organisation, so not all bad,” she adds with a smile.
For both athletes, their attention turns to their preparations for the 100-kilometre Skyrun, which takes place in the Witteberg mountains on the weekend of 16 November.
Men’s race (36km)
1. AJ Calitz, 3:43:08 (also ‘King of the Mountain’, 1:19)
2. Anele Mnukwa, 3:59:57
3. Ake Fagereng, 4:02:20
Women’s race (36km)
1. Robyn Kime, 4:03:55 (Queen of the Mountain,1:29)
2. Annemien Ganzevoort, 4:32:58
3. Linda Doke, 5:04:43