Grabouw locals, Francois Groenewald and Anele Mnukwa won the hearts of trail runners the weekend of 17 – 19 March 2017 when they toed the line to partake in the Western Cape’s premier three day stage trail run, the Cell C AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS.
Running for Team Big Box, Groenewald and Mnukwa were informed of their entry a mere two weeks prior to the event.
“I’ve had my heart set on running AfricanX with Anele since 2011,” says Groenewald. “Unfortunately we have not been able to cover the entry fee as Anele is a petrol attendant by trade. I mentioned our situation to one of the event organisers the weekend of the XTERRA Grabouw. To my surprise I received a phone call the very next day inviting us to run in the colours of Big Box Containers. I was speechless. With only two weeks left to train, we started immediately.”
“Sadly our first training session threw us a curve ball,” continues Groenewald. “While running the XTERRA route in Grabouw on the Monday, Anele fell, seriously injuring his leg. Although the injury became infected, we scheduled our second training session for the Friday, but Anele did not show up. I later learned that on his way to our meeting point he was attacked by seven men who stole his shoes and watch. We’re just thankful that he walked away unscathed. Needless to say we knew that our dream of racing AfricanX would not come to fruition this year. Our new goal was just to finish each stage.”
“When we arrived at race pack collection on Thursday, Big Box had a surprise waiting for us. Instead of sleeping in tents like the rest of the entrants, there was a fully furnished Big Box container with our names on it. Our AfricanX experience generated mixed emotions. Not being able to compete on our usual level due to my partner’s injury meant that we had to postpone any ambitions for a podium finish, but as mere finishers we were exposed to a realm of support and sportsmanship like never before. The support received from Big Box and the event organisers surpassed our highest expectations.”
According to Mnukwa, it is the challenge that attracts him to the sport of trail running. “I really enjoyed the AfricanX Trailrun. Francois and I run really well together. Unfortunately this year we couldn’t go as fast as we wanted to due to my injury, but next year we will not hold back. Sleeping in the Big Box container was very special. We were really fortunate to be treated to such luxury. I am grateful for the Sanet Wentzel Award that I won during the Stage Two prize giving. It has motivated me to train harder and really give my all at the 2018 AfricanX Trailrun.”
Sanet Wentzel Spirit Award: Introduced in 2010, one year after AfricanX’s inception, the ‘Sanet Wentzel Spirit Award’ was founded in memory of Sanet Wentzel, an AfricanX participant who passed away tragically at the end of 2009 after being knocked down by a car during a morning training run. The award also honours current runners who persevere irrespective of the adversity that they face. It was with great honour that this trophy was awarded to Anele Mnukwa of Team Big Box.
According to Willie Ward, Director of Big Box Containers, the company is new to the sport of trail running. “We’ve primarily participated in mountain biking events up until now,” says Ward. “Becoming involved in an event of this nature has been a dream come true. We provide logistical support in terms of container offices and stores. We also provide specialized containers for marketing support in the form of our Coffee Bar Container and Water Box. The teaming up of Francois and Anele is really special because it’s a partnership that is built on a friendship between two individuals who have totally different backgrounds, but share the same passion for running. We will continue to ‘run’ this road with this very special team and have already offered them a Big Box entry into the 2018 Cell AfricanX Trailrun.”
2017 Event Information: Cell C AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS
A three day stage trail run, the Cell C AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS saw teams of two trail running enthusiasts (male/female/mixed) battling it out on a route that varied in distance between 23km – 35km each day. Participants were granted the ideal opportunity to tackle a different breath-taking scenic route each day, allowing them to enjoy the full beauty of the Overberg.
|Stage One:||Friday, 17 March 2017|
|Start Venue:||Trails End, Grabouw|
|Finish Venue:||Houw Hoek Inn|
|Stage Two:||Saturday, 18 March 2017|
|Start Venue:||Rooisand (Kleinmond)|
|Finish Venue:||Wildekrans Wine Estate (Botriver)|
|Stage Three:||Sunday, 19 March 2017|
|Start Venue:||Wildekrans Wine Estate|
|Finish Venue:||Houw Hoek Inn|
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For further information on Big Box Containers visit www.bigbox.co.za For additional information on the Cell C AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS visit www.stillwatersports.com, contact Stillwater Sports on 082 991 0045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.