Hailing from Oudtshoorn, Underson Ncube and John April (Team Ride along 2) celebrated their PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN debut in style by claiming the Stage One victory on Friday 17 March 2023 in an impressive time of 01 hour 41 minutes 53 seconds. Boasting a fast paced +-24km route, Stage One started at the Houw Hoek Hotel and finished at Paul Cluver Wines.
“Today’s stage was beautiful,” says April. “We stuck with the guys, Underson (Ncube) was chasing them just to give them pressure. After that we kept our pace, as there is still a lot of running to do over the weekend. We are now the leading team, so we’ll just stick to the group of guys tomorrow to keep the pace and we’ll see how it goes.”
“We’ve heard from other runners that the AFRICANX TRAILRUN is an awesome race, so John and I wanted to come and have a look,” says Ncube. “The Stage One route was nice. It’s pretty fast, but John and I stuck to our plan. We wanted to see how the guys go today and then take it from there. It was super amazing running together. We train together, we work together, we do everything together. Knowing your partner’s strengths and weaknesses is key when taking on a team event like AFRICANX.”
Kyle Bucklow and Oli Morris (Team New Balance) came in second, while Siviwe Nkombi and Retsepile Khotle (Team Here To Win) finished third.
The brother and sister pairing of Team New Balance #WeGotNow’s Stuart Marais (Addo, Eastern Cape) and Kerry-Ann Marshall (Newlands, Cape Town) took stage honours in the Mixed Team category in 01 hour 57 minutes 50 seconds.
“Today was amazing,” said Marais. “We had a conservative start. Kerry and I ran nicely together. We kept the pace relatively consistent over the first and second half, so all in all it was a good day. The vibe at AFRICANX is awesome. It’s a “Party On Foot”, what more could you ask for. The race was exciting from the start. People bring the vibe to AFRICANX and it’s fun to be part of it. I am looking forward to the next two days.”
“It’s always awesome running with Stu,” says Marshall. “We know each other so well. He knows when to push me, he knows when to encourage me, he knows when to just be there for me. We had a lekker run together. Our plan for tomorrow is probably the same as today, just to go out conservatively, see how we feel and push when we can.”
Kirsten Heath and Jarryd Dunn (Team Nearly Dunn) came in second, while Chantel Nienaber and Chris Visser (Team COWrageous) finished third.
Namibian runners Alexa Rack and Julia Jansen Van Rensburg (Team Nam Power) took the lead in the Women’s Team category also securing the stage victory on their debut attempt in a time of 02 hours 07 minutes 44 seconds.
“I entered AFRICANX because of Alexa, she’s the army sergeant of this team,” laughs Jansen Van Rensburg. “Coming from Namibia, we’re used to dry conditions. These trails are just so lovely, and the weather is lovely. We’re in our element to be here.”
“It’s so much harder to train in Namibia,” says Rack. “It was so nice running here today. The altitude makes it so much easier. I expected the event to be beautiful, it really is breath-taking. We will try to push harder tomorrow. We have to take the stage victory again.”
Nicola De Villiers and Jani Kruger (Team Riot) came in second, while Leani Potgieter and Isel Barnard (Team Grimes Sisters) finished third.