Next Ocean2Ocean is on Saturday 25 April 2015
A 50km guided mountain trail run.
Next Ocean2Ocean is on Saturday 25 April 2015
A 50km guided mountain trail run.
Back in the day – before I found my trail running feet – I used to own one pair of hiking boots at a time, generally the basic Hi-Tec model. Comfortable and suitable for basic day-hiking – no waterproofing to speak of. They would last me
maybe five years and then get replaced by a similar pair.
Trail running means I spend much of my mountain time in trail shoes. Comfortable and light, they are also more than suitable for day hiking, without the ankle protection that high-top boots provide.
Last year I got to try out the Hi-Tec Para Boots, and in the snow and serious wet conditions, they were awesome. The new neoprene material is pretty hardy, soft and immune to snow and water. The boot is heavy though and not particularly suitable for summer hiking.
So I was pretty chuffed to get hold of a pair of Hi-Tec Altitude V I Wp
earlier this year. They are similar to the comfortable Hi-Tecs of old, just waterproof and sturdier. Having waterproof boots that don’t cost the earth is a big win and something not around in my early days of hiking. This is particularly useful for winter hiking in the Western Cape, where the mountains sometimes resemble a sponge that’s being soaked in water and squeezed. A rather beautiful sponge, but water oozing out of every nook and cranny is only great when your feet don’t get wet. With these boots they don’t.
A hike in Orange Kloof, a particularly wet, beautiful and protected part of Table Mountain was a great opportunity to test my boots, they passed with flying colours, leaving my non-webbed footed friends with…well wet feet, while I walked comfortably though water with no need to rock hop, keeping my feet dry at all times. Made even better when it started to rain. You can’t put a price on dry feet.
Having enjoyed these boots for the better part of this year, I was already suitably impressed but they needed a real test. This test presented itself when we took on the mighty Hex River Traverse, which consisted of a 13-hour day of walking on rough, uneven terrain, mostly with no path to speak of. With most of our party in trail shoes, I was more than happy to have the boots on, both for protection for my feet and support, as we had heavier than usual backpacks.
It wasn’t all comfort though, with the sloped uneven terrain taking its toll on my feet, and a few blisters popping up. Nothing a plaster here and there couldn’t fix up. The boots ultimately passed with flying colours and my hiking companions in their trail shoes passed more than one envious look at my boots.
These boots are definitely the new simple, comfortable and hardy pair of boots, that I got used to use all those years ago. They are light, hardy, have a a good grip and they’re waterproof. Now if they can last me five years, that would really be something.
Here’s to a good few more years.
Red Bull LionHeart played out on Saturday on Cape Town’s Lion’s Head where runners faced off against each other in elimination rounds. For the third year in a row,
K-Way athlete AJ Calitz dominated the event to claim a hat trick of LionHeart crowns. He set another new course record of 25.54 in the process.
“LionHeart is one of my favourite races of the year and I always look forward to it,” says Calitz. “When I get to the start line I remember how hard it is. This year was no exception.”
Last year the competitors ran a 3.7-kilometre qualifying circuit in the morning with three elimination rounds in the afternoon. This year runners qualified for the 22 men’s and 11 women’s places by using Strava – a free-for-download GPS route tracking app – in the lead-up to the event, which meant four ascents during the race.
“It makes a difference to race four times, instead of three,” says Calitz. “Luckily, more ascents suits me.”
Fortunately the forecasted rain stayed away on race day, although gusty winds high up on the peak made for cold temperatures and tricky conditions underfoot on the technical and rocky terrain.
“I had friends and family waiting at the bottom with my warm K-Way jacket, some food and water so that I could keep warm and recover after each heat. My wife, Paulette is an amazing support at these events.”
Calitz had a tough draw, running against Ben Brimble in the first heat and quarterfinal and then against Thabang Madiba in the semifinal and final.
“The first three rounds were a lot faster than last year and we had to push from the word go,” he says.
“I was very nervous before the final as Thabang beat me at Otter in September and he was tipped as the man-to-beat at LionHeart this year. But I stuck to my guns and did what I had planned; to start the climb hard and break early. My plan paid off and I had about a 40-second gap at the top. I managed to keep the gap until the gravel section where Thabang’s leg speed would be a real danger. Gladly the gap was big enough and I could hold him off.”
Calitz ran the final in 25.54, beating Madiba by 21 seconds and again setting a new course record – a time that is almost one-minute faster than his record set in 2013.
Landie Greyling won the women’s race for a second time (33.58), beating Cape Town runner Megan Leslie in the final by only 29 seconds. 16-year old Leslie is the newest member of K-Way’s junior athlete stable.
FINAL MEN’S RESULTS
1 AJ Calitz 25.54
2 Thabang Madiba 26.15
3 Martin Kleynhans 29:39
4 Ben Brimble 30.37
FINAL WOMEN’S RESULTS
1. Landie Greyling 33.58
2. Megan Leslie 34.27
3. Amy Burton 36.20
4. Allie Townsend 37.22
November is a running mixed bag for record-setting trail runner AJ Calitz. With the high-intensity Red Bull LionHeart event only a week before the ultra-distance Salomon SkyRun, he will be changing gears and attempting to stand on the podium at both events. On road, the equivalent would be a 5,000-metre champion aiming for Comrades glory. Can this K-Way athlete do it?
Two years ago Calitz set the pace at the inaugural Red Bull LionHeart, a 4, 4-kilometre duel from the base of Cape Town’s Lion’s Head peak to the top and back down again. Rather than a mass start, the race pits runners against each other in a head-to-head duel. Contenders run again and again, knocking out rivals on their climb up the ranks. Last year Calitz defended his title and beat Thabang Madiba by a mere 11 seconds to claim his second LionHeart title – and setting a new course record (26:46) at the same time.
Calitz has been training on Lion’s Head in preparation for this year’s event, which takes place on Saturday 15 November. When asked how he aims to pull back more seconds from his previous record runs, Calitz replies, “It is always possible to go faster; I am a lot faster on the downs this year”.
He finds the stretch of jeep track to be the hardest section of the course. “Coming down from the top is quite a rush!” he adds.
Calitz is back for the third time. Aside from defending his crown, he is attracted to the race because of its man-on-man heat setup. “Whoever is prepared to hurt the most will win,” he says.
A week later Calitz transitions physically – and mentally – from the fast-paced action of LionHeart to the 100-kilometre mountain race, SkyRun. He has been out in the Witteberg mountains, familiarising himself with the route and the terrain.
“Yes, it helps a lot to be familiar with the course; route knowledge is 60% of the race at this event. To be fair, with racing at altitude and living at sea level I have to manage my expectations.”
Last year the race was cut short due to bad weather. Howling wind, torrential ice-rain and fog brought dangerous conditions to the mountains and Calitz, who was chasing race leader Iain Don-Wauchope, was nearly hypothermic and he withdrew from the race. He learned from this experience.
“Last year was rough,” he says of his first experience at SkyRun. “I learned that I should start slower because it is a long day out. Also, I have to focus on navigation, pacing and nutrition from the start.”
Red Bull LionHeart is on Saturday, 15 November 2014. If you are not able to cheer from the slops of Lion’s Head, the race can be followed online through the Red Bull LionHeart website (www.redbulllionheart.com). The Salomon SkyRun (www.skyrun.co.za) starts before sunrise on Saturday, 22 November 2014 from the town of Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape. The most up-to-date content during the race will appear on the event organiser’s Facebook page (Pure Adventures).
Also follow K-Way on Facebook (K-Way SA) for images and news of Calitz as he takes on these two gruelling events.
The 18th edition of the Three Peaks Challenge, a 50km mountain and city run, took place on Saturday in Cape Town. The men’s race was won by Martin Kleynhans (5:24:59), with K-Way athlete Lucky Miya (5:37:01) taking second place. Katya Soggott again won the women’s race, finishing in 6:15:44, only 42 seconds outside the women’s record, which she set last year.
“Conditions were very hot,” says race organiser Gavin Snell, “particularly later in the day in Platteklip Gorge and on Lion’s Head. A large number of participants complained of cramping.”
Snell says that Miya had a good lead at the end of the second peak but, not being a local, he had little knowledge of the route and he lost valuable time later.
” A friend volunteered to show me some parts of the route when I arrived in Cape Town on Thursday, but I still took some wrong turns here and there; but I quickly found the right way again,” Miya explains.
Speaking about his run he says: “At Devil’s Peak and up Platteklip I felt great and strong. It’s a tough section with very lovely trails on this beautiful mountain. I managed to open a big gap of about 15 minutes. Then, right at the beginning of the last peak, Lion’s Head, I started cramping and it was really a tough mission to get to the top. Martin Kleynhans caught me here and was so kind to offer me tablets to stop the cramps, which helped a lot”.
“I’m very happy with my second place,” Miya says. “What an incredible experience with wonderful support on the route and at the checkpoints. I’m very blessed to have this opportunity from K-Way to explore the Three Peaks Challenge.” Results2014-Final
|Devil’s Peak||Table Mountain||Lion’s Head||Total time|
|1. Martin Kleynhans||1:48:50||2:16:07||1:20:02||5:24:59|
|2. Lucky Miya||1:48:44||2:00:50||1:47:27||5:37:01|
|3. Dom Wills||1:50:09||2:19:06||1:33:27||5:42:42|
|1. Katya Soggott||2:05:17||2:34:33||1:35:54||6:15:44*|
|2. Caroline Balkwill||2:18:25||2:53:45||1:58:54||7:11:04|
|3. India Baird||2:39:48||3:04:18||2:00:35||7:44:41|
The Three Peaks Challenge website is www.threepeakschallenge.co.za.
For 18 years runners have assembled before sunrise on Long Street for the start of a race that takes them up and down Cape Town’s three peaks. Devil’s Peak, Maclear’s Beacon (via Platteklip Gorge) and Lion’s Head. Participants have 14
hours to complete this 50-kilometre Challenge, which is presented in proud partnership with K-Way.
Looking at the line-up, race organiser Gavin Snell has his money on K-Way athlete Lucky Miya.
“Aside from Lucky, who is coming from Joburg for his first Three Peaks, no other names stand out for a hands-down win; he is the outstanding favourite. But, there are always new people who come along to run that are completely unknown. Three years ago we didn’t know who AJ Calitz was; he won his first Three Peaks in 2011 and again in 2012. He holds the course record for the fastest time ever.”
“But,” Snell adds, “Lucky doesn’t know the route and this may open the door for strong runners, like Dom Wills, who have the experience and speed and know the route.”
As Miya has never been on the course, his objective is just to make it through without taking a wrong trail.
“I’m completely in the dark about the route. I would have loved to come down early to scout the route but due to my work commitments this has not been possible. I’ll have to struggle and survive on the day,” he says.
In August Miya flew to Colorado to run the 21-kilometre, uphill-only Pikes Peak Ascent. He placed 19th overall and 4th in his age category.
“My experience and training from Pikes Peak will boost me a lot but Three Peaks will require great fitness to go up such challenging steep climbs,” he adds.
“I’ve had a busy year and I can feel the fatigue now so I won’t be going out 100%,” Miya explains. “On Saturday I’m going to have fun and be part of this event that my sponsor, K-Way, also supports. This year I will learn the route so I can go hard in 2015.”
Three Peaks is the type of event that runners return to year-after-year. Even race organiser Snell is in for his 18th run. “And then there is Brian Key,” says Snell. “He is turning 76 in November and he’ll be running his 13th Three Peaks. Until a few years ago he was still running in the Top 10, even at the age of 70! Katya Soggott will be running her 3rd Three Peaks; she holds the women’s record.”
The Three Peaks Challenge, held in partnership with K-Way, starts at 5am on Saturday, 1 November 2014. 150 runners will attempt to ascend all three peaks by 7pm – a 14-hour allowance. The course record of 4:50:21 was set by K-Way athlete AJ Calitz in 2012. Spectators are invited to watch the runners from Tafelberg Road, where there is an aid station, or at Greenmarket Square, basecamp for the day. More information can be found on– www.threepeakschallenge.co.za
The untamed wilderness of the Wild Coast in South Africa is the perfect destination for hikers and runners, a paradise for those of you who love to explore natural treasures.This stretch of coastline reaches from the Mtamvuna River in the north to the Great Kei River in the south, offering incredible views and hiking trails: high dunes, cliffs, sheltered bays, wild beaches, ancient forests, hills and valleys.
Wild Coast’s top hiking and running routes
The five-day Wild Coast Meander is the established favourite hiking trail. It covers 56 kilometres of the southern Wild Coast from Kob Inn to Morgan Bay. Local guides and porters from Xhosa communities accompany hikers and carry their bags, so you won’t have a problem on the longer, harder stretches of the trail. Shorter options are available too. You’ll stay at small seaside hotels each night, dining on local seafood and recharging for the next day.
More strenuous but definitely worth the effort, the five-day Wild Coast Hiking Trail goes from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay. Again, the hospitality of local people and the warmth of overnight accommodations will make you feel welcome. Porters are available if you need help.
Another option is the 59km Drifters Wild Coast Trail, along the northern Wild Coast. It explores some of the best known landmarks of the area, as Cathedral Rock and Waterfall Bluff.
The Diaz Cross Trail extends for 80km, from Woody Cape in the Alexandria State Forest, going north via the Diaz Cross and Kenton-on-Sea to the mouth of the Great Fish River. On this trail, you’ll be able to enjoy luxury accommodation each night and porters carrying your bags.
Trail running is another growing activity in South Africa, and the Wild Coast’s varied landscape offers the perfect setting for this outdoor pursuit.
There are different trail running events taking place in the beautiful sceneries of the Wild Coast, like WildRun, a three day, 112km trail running stage race starting at the Great Kei River and finishing at the beautiful Hole-in-the-Wall.
Take a luxurious break from your adventurous along the Wild Coast
As you see, a variety of organised running and hiking events and packages are available, with overnight stops and accommodations from rustic, safari-style experiences, to much more pampered and luxurious in private lodges. Even if you are an adventure-seeker traveler, prefer exploring nature and hike rocky peaks, you might as well treat yourself with a more luxurious stop over the Wild Coast Sun Casino for some gambling excitement. However, before hitting the green table in the Plantation Room, you might as well practice a little bit in order not to lose your money. Online casinos are the solution, as you can play online taking advantage of bonuses and learning tips and trick to bet safely. Plus, there are different online casinos apps now that can be downloaded for the iphone which allow you to practice while you are on the go in a very easy and fun way.
The incredible natural beauty makes the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast ideal for hiking and running, discovering dramatic landscapes and rocky headlands.
After retaining his title at Red Bull LionHeart on Saturday, K-Way athlete AJ Calitz is ready for this weekend’s 100-kilometre Salomon Skyrun.
On Saturday, Calitz powered up and down Cape Town’s Lion’s Head during the prologue, heats and final to take overall honours – again. Set off in groups, Calitz enjoyed doubling-back on the route for the descent, which gave him a chance to see the gap gained on his rivals. He broke the record that he set last year to record a time of 26:46 for the 3.7-kilometre up-and-down route.
“I prefer working hard up and taking fewer risks down.” he says. “And yes, I pretty much go all out to the top.”
With Skyrun only days away, Calitz doesn’t expect to feel the effects of Red Bull LionHeart in his legs.
“With the amount of mountain training that I do, it shouldn’t affect me,” he says.
Calitz is a Skyrun novice and he goes into this self-supported, mountain ultra not knowing the route; he’s up against runners with experience of the Witteberg mountains.
Although the route is unmarked, competitors may run with GPS units to guide them to the well-known checkpoints at Olympus, Snowden, Avoca (the highest peak at 2,756m), Skidaw and Balloch. As the front runners will be up and over Balloch Wall before sunset, they’ll have the advantage of daylight to navigate the Bridal Pass, which takes them back on to the ridgeline. With more than 70-kilometres covered by this stage, they’ll have less than 30-kilometres to the finish at the Wartrail Country Club.
But there’s also more to the route than just hitting the remote mountain checkpoints and following ridgeline tracks. Some path options are more efficient than others and taking the wrong left or right route around a peak could cost unknowing contenders big chunks of time.
“I’m feeling pretty unprepared as far as the route goes,” Calitz says. “Luckily there are some guys racing who know the route very well so I’ll be hoping to stay with them.”
If Calitz’s race-winning and record-smashing track record is anything to go by, the guys racing would do well to stay with him.
The course record stands at 12h36, which was set in 2012 by Ryan Sandes. He took more than two hours off the previous record, which was set by fellow South African trail runner Iain Don-Wauchope in 2010.
To keep an eye on the race, follow Pure Adventures on Facebook and Twitter (@pureadventures) and also follow K-Way’s Facebook page (/kwaysa) for news of Calitz.
The first South Africa Skymarathon®, which debuts on October 26 at Matroosberg Private Reserve in the Western Cape, has attracted the cream of the crop.
Calitz, a relative newcomer to trail running, has taken the sport by storm with several victories and new records including Puffer, Three Peaks Challenge and the Red Bull Lion Heart. He also triumphed in a 100km trail run in Verdon, in the Provencal district of France and last month finished third in a super strong field at The Otter, finishing inside the existing record.
Included in the chasing pack are SA Ultra Distance Champion and former Puffer winner Nic de Beer, SA trail team member Charl Souma and top local trail specialists, Noel Erntzen, Derrick Baard and Ake Fagereng. Last year’s winner, Michael Owen attempts a repeat.
The women’s event appears no less competitive with some serious talent looking to conquer the tough 36km course. Leading the field will be the experienced Linda Doke, adventure racer and 2013 Bat Run winner Annemien Ganzevoort, and Robyn Kime, 4x Dusi Canoe Champ and a rising star in trail running. Ingrid Peens, last year’s champion, will also line up at the start.
A Skymarathon® is a mountain race with a minimum of 2 000m in total elevation gain and between 30km – 42km over paths, trail, moraine, rock or snow; total asphalt must be less than 15% of the course.
“Skyrunning is hugely popular overseas, particularly in Europe,” says race director Ghaleed Nortje. “The Matroosberg is a perfect venue, with a summit at 2 249m, spectacular views, tough ascents and technical descents.”
Sponsors on board include VIVOBAREFOOT, Adventure Inc, Wintergreen, Protect, K-Way, Red Bull and Bio-oil; but Nortje seeks a title sponsor.
“There are many costs involved for such an event and we consider this is an outstanding opportunity for sponsors to become linked to Skyrunning; the sport, making its debut in Africa, will be massive here.”
The Witzenberg Municipality, in which the run falls, are also excited about the run and have offered full support for the event.
The Skymarathon® is not to be confused with South Africa’s first Ultra Skymarathon, The Lesotho Ultra Trail to be run in Lesotho on November 30.
1. There is something for everyone
Whether you’re looking at entering and finishing your very first SkyMarathon®, or simply want to enter a trail run in the beautiful surroundings of the Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve, the Matroosberg Trail Challenge (MTC) has something for you.
There are three events:
So pick your category and enter now!
2. It’s a gentle transition into sky running
If you’ve never done a sky run before and you’re not sure you’re up for it, the Matroosberg SkyMarathon® is perfect for you. While it obviously abides by the SASA rules of exceeding an altitude of 2000m during the 36km, where the incline exceeds 30% at points and where the climbing difficulty is not more than 11 degrees, it is still a manageable distance for most fit trail runners. It’s perfect to try your legs and lungs out at sky running without committing to an ultra distance. This doesn’t mean you can train less though!
3. It’s just 2.5 hours out of Cape Town
Because of the nature and requirements of sky running – think big mountains – you’d think the venue would be far away and a few days leave would be required to get there. This is not the case as The Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve is situated a mere 180km from the Mother City; about a 2 ½ hour drive.
4. A ticket into Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve
One of the draw cards to trail running is that you get to see South Africa on foot, in a way that few fellow South Africans do. This event is no different. The Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve is situated on a farm about 35km out of Ceres. The farm and reserve play home to the Matroosberg Peak, which is the highest peak in the Boland, and the highest checkpoint on the sky marathon route at an ear popping 2249m altitude. To get an idea of the terrain you’ll be running on and the scenery around you, check out the images at Matroosberg website.
5. It’s perfect training for the Lesotho Ultra Trail, SA’s only Ultra SkyMarathon®
You may have entered the Lesotho Ultra Trail on 30 November already. If you have, then the MTC 36km SkyMarathon® is the perfect training run for the longer event. It will give your lungs and legs a taste of what’s to come.
6. You might get to build a snowman
Late October snow fall on the highest peaks in the Province are not unheard of. Should that happen; you might well find yourself running through snow to get to the summit. Either way the views are spectacular up there, making all the effort more than worthwhile.
A little more interested to enter now? Check out the MTC website for more info and to enter.
See you there.
Article courtesy of MTC