This weekend’s first Matroosberg Trail Challenge (MTC) takes place in the Matroosberg Nature Reserve near Ceres, in the Western Cape. K-Way athletes Andre Calitz and Annemien Ganzevoort will line up at the start on Saturday morning, ready to race this 36-kilometre route.
Aside from being Team K-Way teammates, what Calitz and Ganzevoort also have in common is that they both thrive on technical trails and lung-busting ascents.
“My favourite terrain is off road and very technical. I find tar and slightly ascending gravel roads to be the most gruelling,” Ganzevoort says. “The steeper the climb up – and down – a mountain, the better!”
Matroosberg is well known to Ganzevoort as she trains in the area. “That’s my valley and I’ve done Matroosberg loads of times,” she says. She trains on the front face of the mountain; the race will head up the back.
“It will be interesting to see what Ghaleed [race director Ghaleed Nortje] has planned for us. I am definitely expecting a decent challenge – it is not going to be easy.”
This will be Calitz’s first time in the area. “I haven’t run Matroosberg before so I am super excited! 36 kilometres is relatively short, but the altitude and amount of climbing make up for it.”
As a sanctioned SkyMarathon®, the 36-kilometre course has to have a minimum of 2,000 metres of total elevation gain. The route tops out at 2 249metres above sea level and presents runners with a spectacular view. Climbing inclines exceed 30% in places to offer favoured terrain to Calitz and Ganzevoort.
Coming off his sub-4h30 run at the Otter African Trail Run last month, Calitz took two weeks off to rest before getting back to focused training in preparation for the 100-kilometre Skyrun and 55-kilometre Lesotho Ultra Trail – both races are in November. He’s taking this 36km Matroosberg race as a hard training session.
Ganzevoort too is using Matroosberg to test her fitness. “I’ve been training for Three Peaks Challenge and Skyrun, which are in November, so I’ll have to take Matroosberg in my stride. I haven’t got a clue what to expect or if I’m over- or under-trained for it,” she adds.
The field at Matroosberg is a strong one with Nic de Beer, Ake Fagereng and Charl Soumer vying for top positions in the men’s race and Robin Kime, Linda Doke and Chantel Nienaber contending the women’s race.
With just a few days to go before the start, these K-Way runners are watching the weather. Only two weeks ago the Matroosberg mountains were still covered in snow. But, in the mountains where weather can change in a flash, one thing these runners can be sure of is that this competitive race will be one tough training run.
Follow the race on Saturday through Twitter (www.twitter.com/MatroosbergTC and #MTC2013).