Calitz and De Beer on the podium at AfricanX
This past weekend’s three-day Pronutro AfricanX TrailRun took runners along a total of 90 kilometres of tracks and trails of the Elgin Grabouw area of the Western Cape. The race saw K-Way athlete Andre Calitz and teammate Nic De Beer racing for a podium position in the competitive Open Men’s category.
“The scale of this event is immense and the organisation is excellent. Entries are pricey, but you are treated like royalty the entire weekend,” says Calitz.
He explains that the routes are quite flat and a bit too short to suit their mountain running and long distance strengths, especially for De Beer.
“He’s like an AGA stove; he takes a while to get going, but keeps going all day,” says Calitz. “I tend to start pretty quickly, so in that regard our running styles varied. He did teach me a thing or two about pacing however, for which I am very grateful,” he adds.
Team members towing each other is a technique common in adventure racing and pairs events to improve the team’s overall speed and leverage each person’s strengths.
“On Day 1 Nic’s legs arrived late for the party, so we had to improvise,” he says.
Tow ropes are far more effective than pushing so the pair created their own system using K-Way drawstrings and a carabiner for Day 2.
“We attached the front of Nic’s hydration pack to the back of mine, which worked like a charm. We went from 8th place to 4th in a matter of five or six kilometres! Nic was very strong and fast, which played to our advantage. We did most of our damage on the climbs – you can lose a lot of time if a member walks or runs very slowly up a climb,” Calitz explains.
On the third and final day they again put their tow system to good use.
“We once again resorted to using our trusty tow rope to get us up the hill together. It seemed to pay off once again as over the latter part we got stronger.”
“Nic had to dig so deep for so long over the past three days; I have nothing but praise for him. Nic has incredible endurance and talent – it’s no wonder that he won the 76km SA Ultra Trail Champs last month. Watch for him at the World Trail Championships in July!”
The men’s pair category at 2013 Pronutro AfricanX TrailRun was won by Michael Bailey and Ben Brimble with an overall combined time of 6:26:05. This is Bailey’s third AfricanX title. The Bailey-Brimble pair won Stage 2 and Stage 3 to finish well ahead of Stage 1 winners, Kane Reilly and Nicholas Rupanga (6:33:59). Calitz and De Beer placed third overall with a combined time of 6:43:13.
Calitz’s training focus now turns to preparing for the 35km Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge (5 May) and two European mountain races; the marathon-distance Zegama Aizkorri in France and the 100-kilometre Verdon Canyon Challenge – also in France.