Former champions line up for gruelling AfricanX | SASCOC - SASCOC

Former champions line up for gruelling AfricanX

Former champions Warren Petterson and Dawid Visser have teamed up to take on next month’s gruelling ProNuto AfricanX Trailrun in Grabouw.

Petterson won the event in 2010 and Visser won the following year. Petterson teamed up with Michael Bailey for his win and Visser’s team-mate was Rohan Kennedy.

Now the two have teamed up for the three-day event on 14-16 March and are aiming for a top 10 finish.

ÔÇ£The best part of team racing is sharing the pain,ÔÇØ says Petterson, seen competing in the 2010 event, right.

ÔÇ£I’ve competed at the AfricanX twice.┬áThe toughest part of team racing is if one of the two team members blows.┬á This year my goal is just to finish.┬áAfricanX Trailrun is a social event that features lovely scenery, while being a real challenge. My advice to first timers is to enjoy it,ÔÇØ says Petterson, who claimed the men’s team title with Michael Bailey in 2010.

It’s Visser’s sixth time on the start line.ÔÇ£AfricanX was my first stage race and I would really like to be one of the first guys to have competed at this event 10 times in a row.┬áI was injured last year, so I took part socially with my wife.┬áThis showed me a new side to the event as I got to look at the scenery and chat to people.┬áThis year I would like to be a bit more competitive though.┬áWe will probably not be first team over the line, but I would like to mix it up a bit at the spear end of the race,ÔÇØ says Visser.

ÔÇ£My previous racing partner has other race commitments over the AfricanX weekend, so Warren agreed to run with me as a ÔÇ£retirementÔÇØ race,ÔÇØ continues Visser.┬á ÔÇ£I think with Warren getting a bit slower with age I might be able to keep up with him now.┬áWarren’s a very strong and consistent runner.┬áI don’t think I have ever met a person that can push as hard as he can and not complain about it. Strong as nails, he has a very strong pedigree of running with a few international road race wins in his professional career. Our strength as a team will be steady pacing and experience.”

Meanwhile organisers have unveiled the first two stages of the 2014 route.

Event manager Nicola Collins says the first stage of 33 kilometres (with an elevation gain of 900 metres) will incorporate the best sections of the 2013 Stage 1 and Stage 3 routes.┬áÔÇ£In 2013 AfricanX moved from Kleinmond to Houw Hoek Inn, which proved to be a great success.┬áThe runners loved the new routes which brought new life into the event.┬áAs event organisers we need to remain innovative and provide runners with challenging, yet beautiful and interesting routes, ensuring that they leave with a lifetime of memories!

“We are certain that the 2014 Stage 1 route will provide the best possible route that the area has to offer. Combining Stage 1 and Stage 3 of 2013 also means that 2014 will see a brand new Stage 3 route.

ÔÇ£Being the first stage of a three-day event, the most important thing to remember is not to go out too hard,ÔÇØ continues Collins.┬áÔÇ£There are sections of the stage that are less technical and will allow runners to get into a good rhythm ÔÇô it is here that runners will need to ensure that they don’t push too hard! There are a few steep climbs towards the end of the stage so ensure you leave enough in the tank to tackle them.

Runners will run through sections of the Kogelberg Biosphere, be sure to look out for the Bontebok and Zebra on Paul CluverÔÇØ.

The route for stage two (34km with 1100m elevation gain) is a trail runner’s dream stage.┬áÔÇ£It consists of 80% single track, some of which is quite technical so training on technical terrain is recommended.┬áThe stage will start at the same venue as in 2013, the Ongegund Lodge, but it will not finish at Oude Molen as in 2013.

“Instead the stage boasts a new finish at the Paul Cluver Amphitheatre.┬áThe course will follow a more direct route to meet the Gantouw Pass, before a fun descent to the Eikenhof Dam at the Grabouw Country Club. From there runners will follow a spectacular trail up the Groenlandberg Mountain before continuing along a single track contour.┬áThe views are unbeatable.┬áThe final few kilometres will be a fast descent on gravel roads to the Paul Cluver AmphitheatreÔÇØ.

Stage three is yet to be announced.

This year’s AfricanX starts on 14 March and ends two days later on 16 March, with the race centred on the Houw Hoek Inn venue.

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