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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Af X Contenders

Reigning men’s champions Rohan Kennedy and Dawid Visser and reigning mixed team champions Iain and Su Don-Wauchope will be aiming for a successful title defence at the 2012 ProNutro AfricanX Trailrun presented by New Balance this coming weekend!

According to Kennedy, each day of the AfricanX Trailrun is a challenge. “The last day definitely hurts a bit more though. After running a combined 70km over day one and two, you definitely feel the hurt in your legs on day three. Luckily it’s the shortest day with only 20-25km to the ultimate finish line. Dawid and I complement each other well when it comes to our running ability. Dawid is good on the hills and flats, while I’m good on the sand and flats. We both have great technical abilities on trail. We’re not just training partners, but best friends as well. It’s great to be able to curse one another on the course and still chat afterwards. Being able to participate with my best friend is a serious highlight, but also running out in nature through the most scenic areas of South Africa, essentially just doing what we love, is awesome,” says Kennedy.

For Visser the most important part of team work is to know your partner. “Rohan and I know each other’s weaknesses. We know when to push harder and when to hold back. I’ve seen it often happen that the stronger runner breaks the weaker runner. It’s all part of racing, you will have good and bad patches and it’s your partner’s duty to help you through these. Walking off with a win at the 2011 AfricanX Trailrun was great, especially after working our way up from finishing 5th in 2009 and 2nd in 2010. We definitely feel a little added pressure going into the race as the defending champions, but we will do our best,” says Visser.

For husband and wife duo Iain and Su Don-Wauchope taking gold at their first AfricanX Trailrun was a fantastic experience. “The AfricanX course has the most spectacular scenery,” says Su. “Capetonians take for granted that they can be running in the mountains while having views of the sea, or that they can be picking a route carefully along a mountain path and a few kilometres later they’re trying to find the hard sand next to the waves along the beach. It makes for a wonderful and challenging course. Competing as part of a mixed team is a challenge in itself. Mixed teams tend to be less equally balanced. It is easier to find a partner of equal strength if you are in a men’s or ladies team. Having one team member that is much stronger than another means that pacing becomes critical in a three day event. Mixed team racing often becomes more tactical and is a lot more about team work than sheer racing speed or strength as the male part of the team is always looking for ways to minimise the weaknesses of his partner”.

According to Iain team work is critical in any team event. “Knowing your partner’s strengths and weaknesses will allow you to adapt to different conditions and situations. Su is very dedicated and consistent with her training, despite being a fantastic mom and working full-time. I would like to believe that our team strength is that we know each other better than most other teams, thus allowing us to work better as a team. Racing with your wife for three days is definitely more challenging than racing with a friend. You can shout and scream at a friend and they’ll get over it. Your wife however, will remind you three years later what you said on that day while running in the heat of the AfricanX,” laughs Iain.

The ProNutro AfricanX Trailrun presented by New Balance is a team event. Teams of two (male/female/mixed) will be seen battling it out on a route varying in distance between 25-35km each day. The three routes have been planned in such a way that the participants will have the opportunity to tackle a different breathtaking scenic route each day, allowing them to enjoy the full diversity of the world-renowned Kogelberg Biosphere. This awe-inspiring trail run stage race will follow a cloverleaf format, which means that runners will finish in Kleinmond on each of the three days. Their accommodation, meals and entertainment will remain in the same place for the duration of the race.



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