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Collins, Lombardi look to mix it up

Mixed team champions, Mark Collins and Michelle Lombardi will be back to defend their title at the ProNutro AfricanX Trailrun presented by New Balance in Kleinmond on 6-8 May.

Collins says he was impressed by the professional manner in which the 2010 ProNutro AfricanX Trail run was organised.┬á ÔÇ£Stage One of the AfricanX was by far my favourite stage.┬áTeaming up with Michelle was great.┬áShe is experienced and knows how to set the pace for a three-stage race, always keeping a little something in reserve.┬áWhen choosing a partner it is important to ensure that you share the same goal.

“Mutual respect is also a key factor as this will help you to deal with the various obstacles thrown at you over the three-day period.┬áWith regard to preparing for the race, it’s important to train for the duration and not the distance as trail races take more time than road races.

“Do as much of the training on trails as possible and prepare your legs, heart and lungs for those two big climbs.┬áMy advice to 2011 competitors would be to hold back a little on Stage One and Two, and keep hydrated. When you’re thirsty it’s too late,ÔÇØ says Collins.

For Lombardi the most memorable part of the 2010 event was running her first marathon distance.┬áÔÇ£I just loved the AfricanX routes and the fact that I got to run my first marathon distance on Stage Two made it all the more memorable.┬áMy strengths lie in the technical terrain. I’m a pure trail runner and prefer technical terrain over the big open roads.

“Mark knows me extremely well, that in itself is one of our team strengths.┬áHe lets me set the pace, never pushing me faster than I want to go.┬áThis is extremely important in a mixed team as the male athlete should always be the stronger of the two, but should not push the female athlete over the edge.┬áThe toughest part of participation is when you are the one having a bad day or are injured. It feels awful to let your partner down.┬áThat is what makes it different from individual racing. The AfricanX is a fun, well organised event,ÔÇØ says Lombardi.

Collins and Lombardi will face tough competition from Raoul De Jongh and Katya Soggot, while husband and wife duo Iain and Su Don-Wauchope are also not to be underestimated.

Day one sees a first leg of 23.7km (599m elevation), day two 43.3km (952m elevation) and the third and final day 21.5km (452m elevation). Runners finish in Kleinmond on all three days.

The event only has room for 250 teams and a limited number of entries are still available.


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