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Matiso and Khotle dominate the trail at AfricanX
- Updated: March 17, 2017
Making their debut at the Cell C AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS in Grabouw, Western Cape on Friday, road runners Ben Matiso and Retsepile Khotle of Team Edunova set the pace in the men’s race, claiming victory in an impressive time of 2hr 48min 16sec.
Starting at Trails End, the ideal destination for all adventure seekers, Stage One saw teams of two having to conquer an action-packed 35-kilometre route, before crossing the finish line at the picturesque Houw Hoek Inn.
‘This is my second and Retsepile’s fourth trail race,’ said a very happy Matiso.
‘Our mentor, Nicholas Rupanga, introduced us to the sport. I was training for the Comrades Marathon. Nicholas said that trail running is essential for my training. Today’s strategy was to stick with the leading men. Nicholas told us to wait for his signal and that he would release us from the bunch.
‘He picked up the pace at the 18-19km mark. That was the sign. We moved up. Four teams became three. We pushed a little harder.
‘With 10km to go, we decided to just run, but not to go too hard. We really enjoyed the stage.’
Givemore Mudzinganyama and Edwin Sesipi of Team ASICS Boys Gauteng came second, while Kane Reilly and Thabang Madiba of Team Salomon finished third.
In the women’s race, reigning champions Landie Greyling and Megan Mackenzie of Team Salomon Blondie were leaving nothing to chance, claiming the stage victory in 3:19:42.
‘Today was tougher than expected,’ says Greyling. ‘We managed to have a good race. Thank you to Stillwater Sports for the awesome trails and a wonderfully organised event. AfricanX is special for many reasons: Megan and I love running together, the vibe is awesome and we get to catch up with a lot of friends.’
‘It’s always awesome to claim a stage,’ says Mackenzie. ‘Going into Stage Two, we’ll have to see what the weather has in store, gauge how we feel and just run.’
Keelyn Van Breda and Claire Horner of Team My Training Day came in second, while Leilani Scheffer and Carla Van Huyssteen of Team ASICS Ladies finished third.
Team KWAY Nedbank’s AJ Calitz and Nicolette Griffioen set the course ablaze in the mixed team race, claiming gold in 3:04:21.
According to Griffioen, Stage One was tough. ‘We worked hard today, so that we can take it easier tomorrow. The route was tough. We had to run very consistently. AJ and I worked really well as a team.
‘Going into Stage Two with a lead is always great motivation.’
JC Visser and Danette Smith of Team Soul Running came in second, while Tumelo Matlou and Ruan Van Der Merwe of Team Keyhealth Nevarest finished third.
Picture of day one action courtesy of Tobias Ginsberg