The 10th anniversary of South Africa’s premier team trail stage race, the AfricanX Trailrun, takes place at the picturesque Boschendal Wine Estate next weekend, with the new venue expected to treat trail runners to an exhilarating trail running experience along mountain trails in the Jonkershoek and Banhoek mountains.
Competition for podium places in the three-day 93km event is expected to be fiercer than ever, with several of the country’s top trail athletes scheduled to be at the start line of the first 33km stage on Friday morning.
"We are delighted to present a new venue and exciting new trails,” said Michael Meyer, managing director of Stillwater Sports. “Stage One, the icebreaker stage, will start and finish in Jonkershoek, with more than half this distance run on Cape Nature single track, high up in the mountain.
“The second stage takes place in the Boschendal Valley, giving runners the chance to enjoy some superb winelands scenery.”
Uncertainty surrounds the participation of popular Gauteng pair and defending champions, Edwin Sesipi and Givemore Mudzinganyama. Although Mudzinganyama was adamant he would be defending his title with his partner after placing second at the Two Oceans Trail Race at Easter, Sesipi has been struggling with an injury.
However, three-times champion AJ Calitz is back with his old partner, Bernard Rukadza, and the pair will be tough to beat on a course which is rated tougher and more technical than previously.
Two of South Africa’s trail legends, Johannesburg-based Thabang Madiba and Lucky Miya, are capable of upsetting the Cape duo, with Rohan Kennedy and Dawid Visser also chasing prize-money in the men’s competition.
The KZN-Gauteng pair of Carla van Huysteen and Nicolette Griffioen are favourites in what should be a highly competitive women’s race, with Cape teams Danette Smith and Kate Mapham and triathletes Mari Rabie and Kate Roberts likely to provide their strongest competition. Veteran pair Chantel Nienaber and Katya Soggot will be determined to show up their younger rivals in their umpteenth visit to AfricanX territory.
Racing starts at 8am on Friday with the finish after the third stage expected at Boschendal after 10am.