Nedbank elite athletes Tackle AfricanX

Nedbank elite athletes Tackle AfricanX

By Jacky McClean

Twelve elite athletes from the Nedbank Running Club will put their off-road prowess to the test when they take on South Africa’s premier three-day stage trail run, the AfricanX Trailrun, at the Houw Hoek Hotel (Bot River, Overberg Region / Western Cape) the weekend of 26 – 28 March 2021.

“Currently it’s not clear when road races will start again in South Africa,” says Nick Bester, National Manager Nedbank Running Club. 

“It’s nearly been a year since SA went into lockdown.  Our athletes are hungry to race.  There have been virtual races, which have been great, but nothing beats the thrill of an actual race.  We are excited to enter six strong teams (twelve runners) into the AfricanX Trailrun.  Although they predominantly focus on road races, some of our runners do enter the occasional trail race.  They are all, however, fit, strong, fast and extremely competitive.  We guarantee that they will give the trail runners a run for their money.”

Combined the twelve athletes boast a long list of impressive achievements including:  6th in the 1500m at the 2008 Olympics, 1st at Om die Dam 50km in 2020, 1st at Om die Dam Ultra in 2017, 1st at Comrades Marathon in 2012, 7 consecutive gold medallist at Comrades Marathon, ASA u/23 800m Champion, u/23 X-Country Champion, numerous top finishers at Two Oceans, 1st at the Oxpecker Trail Run 32km 2-Day Stage Race in 2018, 1st at the Mauritius 2-Day Stage Race in 2019, 1st at the Sky Run 65km in 2020 (and record holder) to mention just a few.

The six Nedbank Running Club teams are as follows:

Team 1:  Eric Ngubane (KwaXimba, Cato Ridge, KZN) and Juan van Deventer (Johannesburg)

Both a road and trail runner, Eric Ngubane is no stranger to the AfricanX Trailrun having placed 2nd in the Open Men’s Team Category in 2015 when he teamed up with trail runner Thabang Madiba.  Ngubane and Madiba completed the three stages in an impressive-combined time of 06 hours 51 minutes 11 seconds.  “I’ve done a few stage races.  You have to take every stage as it comes and stay as close to the leaders as possible.  We will work hard from the first kilometre to the last minute of the race.”

“My main focus for 2021 would have been to compete on the ultra-running scene focusing on the Comrades Marathon,” confirms Van Deventer.  “I love to compete and race, and with most of the road races not taking place I think AfricanX is a great opportunity to try something new.”

Deanné Horn (Lichtenburg, North West) will team up with Nedbank Running Club team member Chrizell Roberts (Standerton, Mpumalanga) to take on the AfricanX Trailrun at the Houw Hoek Hotel (Bot River, Overberg Region / Western Cape) the weekend of 26 – 28 March 2021. Deanné Horn was part of the SA 100km team who took the silver team medal at the World Championships in Croatia (2018), she placed 12th at Comrades (2019) and claimed gold in the 65km Skyrun (2020), finishing 4th overall.

Team 2:  Ludwick Mamabolo (Polokwane) and Collin Kanyimo (Bashewa, Pretoria East)

A Comrades Marathon winner (2012) and 7 consecutive gold medallist, Modibe Ludwick Mamabolo entered AfricanX to test his abilities as an athlete.  “It’s a three-day stage race, it’s going to be painful, but I am excited by the new challenge.   

Our team strength will be our ability to persevere.”

“Where I live, we only have countryside roads so most of my training is on gravel with occasional single trail river sections,” says Kanyimo.  “I entered AfricanX because it is my dream to see more of this country and compete in these beautiful races. Nedbank Running has made it possible for me to get closer to my dream.  A three-day stage race does not scare me.  I was born for this.”

Team 3:  Phillimon Mathiba (Thembisa, Gauteng) and Malusi Dlomo (Pretoria)

“My main focus is running track and field, cross country and road,” says Mathiba.  “I entered AfricanX because I want to improve my physical strength, build my mental focus and increase my endurance.  Our goal is to sustain no injuries during the race, keep up team moral and ultimately do the best that we can.”

“Trail running is part of my training regime,” says Dlomo.  “A lot of my weekend long runs are done on the trails.  I expect AfricanX to be challenging especially on the last day because we will be running on tired legs.   I think my team will be the strongest though because my teammate has a lot of speed and I have trail experience.  I’m looking forward to doing my best and making my club and sponsors proud.”

Team 4:  Siyabonga Sakwe (Cape Town) and Lindikhaya Mthangayi (Khayelitsha)

“AfricanX is going to be challenging, but we are preparing for it,” says Sakwe.  “I am really looking forward to experiencing the trails.  We are both fast and strong on the climbs and I believe that we can do well.  I am really looking forward to experiencing the competition with the best teams.”  

“My goal is always to do well in every race that I run,” says Mthangayi.  “Trail running is included in my training schedule.  I want to hold the Nedbank Running Club’s name high and can’t wait to see how strong I am in this event.  Running for three days just requires proper training, focus and showing hunger for doing well.”

Team 5:  Etienne Plaatjies (Oudtshoorn) and Lloyd Bosman (George)

“Trail running does not form part of my training, but I have competed in a few events,” confirms Plaatjies.  “AfricanX is one of the best stage races in the country.  It will be tough and challenging.  I am really looking forward to the aspect of participating as a team.  Our goal will be to do our best and be on the podium.”

“I entered AfricanX because I love running in nature and trail running brings the best out of a person,” says Bosman.  “A three-day stage race is going to be tough, but we will bring it on.  We have speed and endurance.  It will be a good challenge for us.  I’m looking forward to experiencing the route.  I think it will be challenging but not boring.”

Team 6:  Deanné Horn (Lichtenburg, North West) and Chrizell Roberts (Standerton, Mpumalanga)

Deanné Horn was part of the SA 100km team who took the silver team medal at the World Championships in Croatia (2018), she placed 12th at Comrades (2019) and claimed gold in the 65km Skyrun (2020), finishing 4th overall.  “Running is the one activity that’s physically exhausting but mentally and emotionally recharging,” says Horn.  “Every run represents a new challenge, a new opportunity to push myself, and a new time to reflect on everything else going on.  I love to run in the mountains and the Nedbank Running Club has made this possible for me.  Our goal is to stand on the podium and make Nedbank proud.” 

“I live on a farm with loads of pathways and uneven surfaces, so there is definitely an element of trail running in my training,” confirms Roberts.  “Currently the option of competitive racing is few and far between, so when this opportunity arose, I did not think twice. AfricanX sounds brutal, challenging and like it could be a whole lot of fun.  My toughest challenge will be having to slow down a notch, as road racing is all about speed and I love running fast. Trail running is about so much more than just speed.  I am looking forward to standing on that start line with butterflies in my stomach.”

2021 Event Information:  AfricanX Trailrun

Teams of two trail running enthusiasts (male/female/mixed) will be seen battling it out on a route varying in distances each day.  Each stage will feature a different route that is guaranteed to keep things exciting while leaving runners in awe.

Date:Friday 26 March 2021 – Sunday 28 March 2021
Format:Three-day stage race / teams of two (male/female/mixed)
Festival Village: On the grounds of the Houw Hoek Hotel (Bot River, Overberg Region / Western Cape)
Distance:Day 1:  +- 24km
 Day 2:  +- 32km
 Day 3:  +- 18km
Entries Close:Friday 19 March 2021

Iconic to the AfricanX Trailrun, ALL entrants will receive a sought after AfricanX hoodie and an exclusive finisher’s t-shirt, amongst other exciting sponsor gifts! 

CHARITY SUPPORTThe AfricanX Trailrun proudly supports The Timothy James Harlow Foundation (TJHF), a non-profit organisation that searches for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.  Runners can support the TJHF by making a donation when entering the AfricanX Trailrun online. 

This year AfricanX entrants have the opportunity to get more involved by suggesting a candidate and/or cause that they’d like the TJHF to support.  Suggestions can be sent to entries@stillwatersports.com

PLEASE NOTE:  The event organisers will at all times adhere to Government Regulations regarding COVID-19.

Follow us on Face Book:  @stillwatertrail

Follow us on Instagram:  @runtheafricanx / @stillwater_trail_running

Follow us on Twitter:       @runtheafricanx / @StillwaterTrail

Hashtag:  #runtheafricanx #myafricanx #trailrunning

For additional information on the AfricanX Trailrun please visit www.stillwatersports.com, contact Stillwater Sports on 082 991 0045 or email entries@stillwatersports.com

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