washer

With his return to the Fish River Canyon Ultra, K-Way athlete AJ Calitz has only one goal: to break the course record. On Saturday Calitz will again run the 100-kilometre route through the famed Fish River Canyon and the clock will be ticking.

The first Fish River Canyon Ultra was first held in 2011 on a route that was approximately 83 kilometres in distance. The course was extended the following year to include the boulder-strewn Day 1 section of the well-known hiking-trail route to make it an even 100 kilometres.

Runners are allowed to plan their own routes through the canyon and they may take short-cuts to bypass lengthy bends in the river. The only prerequisite is that the runners pass through a number of predefined checkpoints. The shortcuts may greatly reduce the total distance of the race but may also cost the runners in time and effort if errors are made.

In August 2012, independently and not during the race, Ryan Sandes made his second attempt at running the classic five-day hiking trail route. His efforts were rewarded with a time of 6 hours 57 minutes.

Last year, Calitz had his first shot at the canyon. He won the race in 8 hours 4 minutes 15 seconds, taking over two hours off previous winning times on the same route.

“Last year I lost a lot of time due to lack of route knowledge; this year I have done my homework and I’ve done a lot more mileage on flat and sandy terrain,” says Calitz.

With his preparation done, Calitz is focused.

“This year I have only one goal: to break the record. The first section of the route will be a warmup for the record attempt. The weather forecast is good and everything else looks perfect to run hard on race day.”

He’s excited to return to the Fish River Canyon. “This is one of the most incredible and beautiful races I have ever done,” he says. “I’m taking my family along this year, so that will be very special.”

The race starts at 05h30 on Saturday morning, an hour before sunrise. Calitz should complete the route in time for lunch.

QUICK REFERENCE

Event: Fish River Canyon Ultra

Date: Saturday, 4 July 2015

Venue: Fish River Canyon, Namibia. The race starts from top of the canyon near Hobas and finishes at Ais-Ais.

Start time: 05h30

Distance: 100 kilometres

Ultra Race Record: Men: AJ Calitz, 8:04:15 (2014); Women: Linda Doke, 11:50:35 (2014)

Hiking Trail Record: Ryan Sandes, 6:57 (August 2012)

 

K-Way athlete Lucky Miya is in Switzerland for the 2015 WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, which is hosted this year by the Zermatt Marathon in Switzerland. Miya is one of five accomplished trail runners making

Lucky Miya

up the South African contingent.

34-year old Miya, together with teammates Megan Mackenzie, Karine Bezuidenhout, Johardt van Heerden and Thabang Madiba make up Team South Africa. They were selected for the team based on their performances at a selection of South African mountain races held earlier in the year.

This is Miya’s third international race. Last year he competed in the Skyrunning World Champs in France but unfortunately picked up a groin injury near half-way that took him from seventh place to being out of the race. A few months later he ran a superb race at the 21-kilometre Pikes Peak Ascent (Colorado, USA), which hosted last year’s edition of the WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships. Against a competitive and experienced field, Miya placed 19th overall and 4th in his age category.

With recent local wins at the 24-kilometre FNB Platinum Trail Run and the 37km Uitsoek Skymarathon®, Miya is race ready.

The Zermatt Marathon – now in its 14th year – begins in a river valley and climbs steadily upwards, gracing the runners with a breath-taking view of the Matterhorn, which towers over the route. The 42-kilometer race begins in the town of St Niklaus (1116m) and at half-way passes through the town after which the race is named, Zermatt. From here the runners ascend a winding alpine road to finish on Riffelberg (2,585m). Runners are advised to keep a little in the tank for the last stretch; they’ll climb 400 metres over the final few kilometres.

Miya is proudly sponsored by K-Way. The race starts at 08h30. on Saturday, 4 July 2015.

QUICK REFERENCE

Event: Zermatt Marathon (2015 WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships)

Venue: Switzerland.  The course starts in St. Niklaus, situated in the lowest-lying mountain valley in Switzerland, and ending on Riffelberg by Gornergrat, the highest-altitude finish line in Europe at 2,585m.

Distance: 42 kilometres

Vertical gain: 1,944  metres (descent is only 444m)

Course Records: Men: Michieka Maticha, 2:55:04; Women: Camboulives Aline, 3:29:36

Zermatt race Profile

 

The XPH LED Headlamp

Soon after that I bought my first headlamp and over the years have collected quite a few. Most of them are entry level and I more often than not land up with a dodgy light, with poor batteries and barely enough light to follow the path, I kind of liked it that way, believing excess light to be intrusive on other night runners or hikers. But seeing as I do enjoy my night time outings, and there isn’t always a full moon to provide additional light, this is not ideal. There were also multiple problems with many of the lights, limited battery life, uncomfortable, difficult to adjust straps, wobbly lights, and a switch that regularly switched on while still in my back pack, leaving me with minimal battery life when needed. Rain was also an issue, often causing havoc with my non waterproof light.

When given the opportunity to test drive Extreme Light’s new headlamp, I jumped at it. Finally a head lamp worthy of my limited, albeit enthusiastic, night running and hiking ability. The light sounded great on paper but the best way to test a pudding is to eat it.

The first opportunity to test the headlamp came in the Hex River Mountains. We were hiking the iconic Hex River traverse, and we were pretty sure we would still be out at nightfall. Having started at 7am, it was a spectacular but tiring day on these amazing mountains, and finally after watching the magical sunset still high up on the mountain I could break out my head lamp.

Now it was time for the proverbial light/pissing contest – who had the brightest light?  With darkness having descended, we started our descent to Thomas Hut, focussing on a dim light far below us in the valley. I tried my light on its strongest beam and it nearly blinded a few of my hiking buddies. Having said that, one of the group’s own extreme light was technically brighter than mine on its fullest beam but mine lit a bigger surface area – i.e. his was more concentrated and mine offered a wider circumference of light. I had no need for the brightest light – and don’t think I ever will – the second setting was more than ample for my needs and I comfortably walked down to the hut. I tested the lowest setting and it was not bad either, reminding me of my previous lights with poor batteries, only better.

A few weeks later and  a couple of buddies and I headed up India Venster on a beautiful warm, wind and moon free spring evening, Again I was super impressed with the light and it did its job more than adequately. I have done numerous testing on it in the past month or so and here are my findings.

Battery life
First up the battery is a common form rechargeable li-ion battery, allowing you to recharge without removing the battery, even better it also takes triple AAA batteries as backup, the best of both worlds. This battery is common form and easy to find, and should last anywhere from 2-4 years, depending on usage.

Comfort
While rechargeable batteries can be heavy and cumbersome, this one is just light enough to be comfortable, it sits firmly on my head without a wobble when I run and is easily adjustable. My colleague with long hair tried it on and she did complain that with her pony tail it was difficult to make the strap comfortable. I have no such issues. The battery is not too large, meaning it doesn’t look like I have a car battery attached to the back of my head.

Light
This is the first head light in South Africa that uses the new Cree XP-L led. This is cutting edge technology, which can produce more light from less power than any other LED in the world. 

The lamp has four settings.

  • High
    Way too bright for my needs, don’t know when I would use it, I only used it when trying to spot a couple of porcupines on my way down Table Mountain

  • Mid
    More than adequate light for my needs. When testing, it lasted in excess of 3 ½ hours, I believe this could be less bright and last longer, which would be perfect.
  • Low
    A decent enough light for a low setting.  When I tested it, I let it run consecutively and it lasted for more than 50 hours on the trot. Truly impressive. I believe if this was slightly brighter and could last a minimum of 24 hours, it would be the ideal setting for me and most night runners and hikers.

There is also a flashing light for emergencies.

Waterproof
The lamp is fully waterproof, a huge bonus for any adventure race or night runner who likes to spend time on Table Mountain in the middle of an infamous Cape storm. I submerged the headlamp completely for a good few minutes and it

Waterproof vibes

worked perfectly. Apparently you cannot operate it under water, i.e. change any settings or switch it on or off while submerged, but when I dunked it, it had no issues with the wet stuff. In theory this light can be submerged to 1m for 30min without affecting the working of the light. It is rated IP67.

Load shedding friendly
When the lights go out, and they do quite frequently these days, this headlamp can quite comfortably light up a medium sized room. It also makes a good reading light when on its lowest level.

Overall I think I may have found my prefect headlamp, or let’s say with a few tweaks it could be perfect. I have used it numerous times, in various conditions and in terms of comfort, lighting and durability it has passed all tests.

Two K-Way athletes are in France for the 5th IAU Trail World Championships, which take place on Saturday. AJ Calitz and Nicolette Griffioen, together with their South African teammates and runners from 38 other countries, make up the 287 participant count for this gruelling 85 kilometre run.

The IAU Trail World Championship is held annually and this year the event is hosted by France. The 85 kilometre race starts in the town of Annecy, which lies at the northern end of Lake Annecy. The route climbs into the mountains only a few kilometres from the start and circles the lake, taking in the surrounding summits for an accumulated 5,200 metres of vertical ascent over the course distance.

Although Calitz has competed abroad before, this is 22-year old Griffioen’s first time in Europe and first international race. She is the newest member of K-Way’s athlete family.

AJ Calitz

She has had a strong year already with wins at the Buffelspoort XTERRA and the Ultra Tail Mount Moodie 80km in January and a strong second place at the recent 32km Molweni Trail Run. Griffioen crossed the line only 20 seconds off the race winner.

“Annecy is really beautiful – both the mountains and the town,” she says.

Griffioen is expecting the course to be technical and tough with unrelenting climbs and descents and with very few flat sections.

“Our team manager, Altus Schreuder, went to see sections of the course on Wednesday. He returned saying that ‘a proper world champs’ awaits us and that the course is ‘definitely not boring’,” she adds.

“My goal is to finish the race only,” Griffioen says. “Being my first international race, I don’t know any of my competition except my South African teammates; I have no idea how I’ll place. I’m testing the waters to gain experience.”

With a 03h30 start, it is a given that the temperature in the very early morning will be chilly. The weather on Saturday is predicted to be sunny during the day. The runners can see snow on the peaks of the mountains surrounding the lake from their hotel; they’re expecting unpredictable conditions on the summits and know that cold and wind up high is almost guaranteed.

“I am going to go out relaxed, enjoy the views and see if I feel good enough after halfway to pull back some ladies,” she says.

Calitz and Griffioen’s Team South Africa teammates include Eric Ngubane, Graeme McCallum, Iain Don-Wauchope, Jock Green, Chantel Nienaber and Su Don-Wauchope. There is a team competition element where accumulated results count towards selecting a winning country.

 

QUICK REFERENCE

  • ·         Event: 5th IAU Trail World Championships (run on the Tecnica MaXi-Race® course)
  • ·         Date: Saturday, 30 May 2015
  • ·         Venue: Annecy, France
  • ·         Start time: 03h30 (France is currently GMT +2, same as South Africa)
  • ·         Distance: 85 kilometres
  • ·         Vertical gain: 5,300 metres
  • ·         Number of participants: 178 men and 109 women (287 total)
  • ·         Number of countries represented: 39 for the World Champs
  • ·         Course Records: Men: Sebastien Spehler (FRA), 8:45; Women: Caroline Chaverot (FRA), 10:15
  • ·         Websitewww.worldtrail2015.com
  • ·         Start list: on IAU website (http://iau-ultramarathon.org/images/file/StartList_IAU_TrailWC.pdf)
  • ·         Follow online during the race – live splitsmaxirace.livetrail.net (this looks like the page where splits will appear – use the ‘Following’ tab - maxirace.livetrail.net/teteCourse.php)
  • ·         Facebook: Trail Run SA - https://www.facebook.com/TrailRunSouthAfrica?ref=ts&fref=ts

§  Maxi-Race: https://www.facebook.com/traillacannecy

Cape Union Mart is calling for submissions for their annual Cape Union Mart Adventure Film Challenge 2015.

Anything goes as long as it has an outdoor theme – sports, adventure, outdoor culture.

The winning submission will be screened in South Africa in connection with the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2015, and the winning film-maker will receive a R10 000 cash prize and K-Way gear to the value of R2000.

To enter, upload your five minute short film to YouTube.

Then complete the online entry form on the Cape Union Mart Banff website and include the link to your video. Film submission information is included on the page. Entry deadline is 30 June 2015.

http://www.banff.co.za/adventure-film-challenge-2014.php (the date on the website address says 2014 but it is for 2015).

 

Trail running has exploded in South Africa over the last seven years or so, and with more and more runners hitting the trails there is a demand for knowledge and advice. Roving Trail Camps,

Local legend: Linda Doke

run by Ghaleed Nortje has combined one of the Western Cape’s finest wine farms, two of Cape Town’s best trail runners and some amazing trails in the Cape Winelands for an amazing trail running experience, the first trail running training camp to be held in Western Cape.

Roving Trail Camps is a professionally run trail running camp for novice and seasoned runners alike. The first of its kind in the Western Cape, the camp will be held the weekend of 29 – 31 May at Boschendal Wine Estate in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley.

Says Nortje, “We wanted to offer a weekend getaway that would include excellent food, warm hospitality, interesting talks by Cape Town trail running personalities, Linda Doke and Martin Kleynhans, in addition to other experts in their fields, and some fantastic trail runs on an exclusive part of the estate.”

Participants get to enjoy the wine and accommodation at Boschendal, and will enjoy delicious meals and a screening of the Trails in Motion film festival movies, which have already been shown in multiple countries around the world.

Topics covered by the speakers include technical running, nutrition, strength and conditioning and recovering after your runs, as well as demonstrations.

Boschendal Wine Estate

“Both beginners and professionals will benefit, this will be a social weekend allowing runners to learn from the specialists and from each other. The runs will have a slower and faster group in order to accommodate everyone. The emphasis is on learning and enjoying this beautiful area that we will be running in, as well as a great weekend getaway in a magnificent part of the Western Cape.“ Says Nortje.

 

Weekend itinerary:

Friday 29 May

  • Come ready for a gentle 5 – 10km run to introduce yourselves!
  • Official Welcome at Boschendal Estate

 

Saturday 30 May

  • Breakfast
  • Group run warm up, 5km
  • Pilates talk including 20 minute session
  • Run instruction to improve technical skill and exploring the estate trails
  • Biokineticists talk including 20 minute cool down session
  • Lunch – food talk and demonstration
  • Join the public Trail film screening;
  • Followed by Dinner

Talks:

  • Nutrition
  • Bio Recovery – rehabilitation, rolling, strapping etc.
  • Gear – General emphasis on required kit for the main run.
  • Own time
  • Sport Massage (1st)
  • Wine Tasting
  • Trails film screening
  • Dinner: Farm to Table dining at Boschendal

Sunday 31 May

Breakfast

  • Transport to start of the run.
  • Group run with instruction and application of skills learned. Emphasis on trail safety and required kit for the run.
  • Sport Massage (2nd)
  • Lunch at Boschendal Wine Estate

 

More information at http://rovingtrailcamps.com/

Contact Ghaleed Nortje on 082 887 3011 or email info@rovingtrailcamps.com

 

Next Ocean2Ocean is on Saturday 25 April 2015

A 50km guided mountain trail run.

More info here:
http://hikecapetown.co.za/wp-admin/post.php?post=765&action=edit&message=1

 

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

Hi-Tec Para Boots

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.

ALTITUDE V I WP Pic: Andrew Beetge

 

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,

Calitz The LionHeart

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.

LION TAMERS - AJ Cailtz & Landi Greyling

“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?

AJ going for his hat trick

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.

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