Van Greunen and Marshall looking set for Pronutro AfricanX Trailrun

Photo Credit:  Puma Trail Run Grabouw by Volume Photography

Photo Credit: Puma Trail Run Grabouw by Volume Photography

“Let Nature Give You A Run For Your Money”

Mixed running team (Team Enduro Hub), Morne Van Greunen and Kerry-Ann Marshall looking sharp to tackle the 2015 Pronutro AfricanX Trailrun taking place on the weekend of 13-15 March 2015.

We had the opportunity to do a interview with the two trail running enthausiast and had a bit of a chat before the event on how they prepared for AfricanX and also to give the public a better understanding of who these two athletes are.

Question and Answer:

How many times have you done AfricanX so far, and how was your experience each time?

Answer – Morne:

This will be my second “outing” at AfricanX. Last year (2014) was not only my first AfricanX, but also my first stage race. Unfortunately the race ended on a very bad / disappointing note when I broke a little bone in my right foot on the last day (with about 5k’s to go). My partner (Antoinne van Heerden) and I were going strong and pushing for 4th place over-all at the time. Over-all I still had a great experience and therefor I am SUPER excited to be back and to compete at this great event.

What is it about AfricanX and Grabouw that keep you coming back?

Answer – Morne:

The thing that stands out most is the vibe in the race village. I just love being part of the “scene” and the opportunity to relax and compete with some of the top trail runners in the country. Every endurance sport has a flagship race, for road running it’s Comrades, for Triathlon it’s Ironman and for trail running it’s AfricanX!

What tips can you give to people who are competing for the first time, and might not know what to expect?

Answer – Morne:

Allot depends if you are coming to race or just running for the fun. To be honest the organisation at the event is so good that you almost don’t need to bring additional supplies. There’s plenty of food & drink + medical support available, so don’t stress about bringing tons of food if you staying in the village. Only bring your race nutrition as this is critical if you want to perform well over all 3 days! I would also suggest a good book to relax after the days hard running…

Are there any AfricanX participants that particularly inspire you – and why? 

Answer – Kerry-Ann:

I am a big fan of the girls, Landie, Megan, Katya and Chantel. I love how they are able to mix it up with the best of the men and have become role models for those new to trail running.

What’s the one thing that you are looking forward to this year at AfricanX?

Answer – Kerry-Ann:

Three days of uninterrupted running, where I can be free in the mountains. It sounds like my version of paradise.

How do you manage to run a full time job, married life and get to train for a trail running stage race?

Answer – Morne:

Haha… Good question. I’m currently sitting at the airport in Namibia typing these answers! Luckily I have a good endurance base thanks to 8 consecutive years of Ironman training. Running has always been my strongest discipline so I don’t need to do allot of mileage to compete with the top runners.

Answer – Kerry-Ann:

It feels like a constant juggling act, but I am fortunate to be surrounded by a strong support structure. My manager is a physiotherapist so she has worked with top athletes throughout her career so she is really understanding of the demands and pressures athletes are under. I grew up in a sporty family so my Mom is a super-seconder and my Dad is my number one fan. My husband has done his fair share of adventure expeditions so he understands the commitment, dedication and hours required to get to the top. He has however become accustomed to the taste of last minute microwave meals for dinner

What are your secrets to success – what does a person need to do to be a successful trail running competitor?

Answer – Morne:

Endurance sport is about 1 thing and 1 thing only (in my opinion) CONSISTENCY. This applies to every-thing in your life I.e training, eating (clean), sleeping etc. There is no quick recipe to success… If you train consistently over a period of time (this could take years) you will improve and get good results. I come from a triathlon background and this has always been my goal.

Answer – Kerry-Ann:

You need to love what you do and then the rest will fall in to place. Just believe in yourself and get out there and experience everything that trail running has to offer. I am a big believer in every day being an opportunity and making the most of it. If I happen to be successful doing what I love then so much the better.

Do you have any training tips you can share with others thinking of doing AfricanX for the first time?

Answer – Morne:

Like a bicycle or a motor vehicle has different gears, I believe a runner should also have different gears. This is why I always mix-up my running / training. I try to-do every-thing from short hill sprints to longer hill repeats, tempo runs, fartlek sessions and intervals. Due to work constraints I don’t always have the time to-do 100k training weeks, but to be honest I’ve got no desire to do that any-way. With running I only train once per day and even take an extra off day in a week. I also think that gym / core training and swimming should be part of a runners training program!

Answer: Kerry-Ann:

My body is still adjusting to the demands of long distance running so I am focused on building a decent base. Therefore I tend to do lots of long slow runs with the odd tempo run mid-week. Being based in Cape Town I am fortunate that almost all my running routes incorporate a lot of hill climbing. I also have a personal trainer who helps with my strength training once a week.

How do you keep yourself motivated when the going gets tough?

Answer – Morne:

Do you have a favourite training soundtrack you like to listen to?  I just try to switch off my mind and keep going… as simple as that.

How do you reward yourself after a particularly challenging competition?

Answer – Morne:

Chocolate and an ice-cold (alcoholic) beverage are always welcome.

Answer – Kerry-Ann:

For me nothing beats a good bubble bath and a strawberry yogi sip with a hot-cross bun, followed by some shopping for a new pair of running shoes.

Seen here:  Andre Calitz and Morne Van Greunen in action at the PUMA Trail Run in Grabouw on Saturday, 21 February 2015.  PHOTO CREDIT:  Volume Photography

Seen here: Andre Calitz and Morne Van Greunen in action at the PUMA Trail Run in Grabouw on Saturday, 21 February 2015. PHOTO CREDIT: Volume Photography

About Morne Van Greunen:

Some call me Zola…

Zola Budd is / was an absolute icon in South African middle distance running on the track in the late 80’s and early 90’s. She was a small lady, but with tremendous speed and character. She also became an international “celebrity” after the incident at the 1992 Olympics.

One of her trademarks was that she use to run barefoot and for some reason I always admired this. Growing up in Port Elizabeth I always excelled at athletics running provincial CX and on the track. Running was always in my blood thanks to my dad. He also use to be a provincial runner at school and went on to run 20 Two Oceans Ultra Marathons and 14 Comrades Marathon along with many other great achievements along the way.

Memories of my school days competing at the Westbourne Oval athletics track (PE), with my Mom sitting on the stand and my dad “strategically” positioned at the far left corner of the track to indicate when to start the kick for the final 200m will always be with me. My dad always joked with me in-front of his running friends calling me Zola due to the obvious resemblance in terms of physical composition. It’s safe to say that from a very young age I was never built for rugby! Just like Zola use to run barefoot (her trademark), I still prefer to run in n proper running short (hardloop broekie) or Poly and I suppose for some of my local running friends this has become my trademark…. #realrunnerswearpoly’s

Follow us on Face Book:  morne.vangreunen.52

Follow us on Twitter:  @morne_tri

My favourite saying at the moment is a quote my brother, Stuart Marais, gave me recently, “You aren’t done when you are tired. You are only done when you are finished”.

My favourite saying at the moment is a quote my brother, Stuart Marais, gave me recently, “You aren’t done when you are tired. You are only done when you are finished”.

About Kerry-Ann Marshall:

I grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape. My first memories of running were helping my Dad with his marathon training. I was too young to run so I would ride my bike next to my Dad or hang out in the car with my super-seconder Mom as she made impromptu water stations for his longer runs. After a while I started to run with my Dad. It was during this time that I discovered a serious love for the sport. Wednesday night time trials around the orange groves and having to do push ups for chocolate are memories that we still talk about to this day.

Through running I started to gain a richer understanding of life and who I was as a person. Cross-country, athletics and biathlons were my main sports at school, while at UCT I studied physiotherapy and focussed on running 10km road races with the occasional half marathon. After graduating and completing a year of work in the Eastern Cape, I decided to see more of the world and left for the UK.

It was during this time that I experienced the joy of adventure and trail running as we explored some of the more remote parts of the UK and other parts of Europe with other crazy friends. The cold and wet weather combined with the lack of daylight hours in the winter gave me a serious appreciation for what it means to have good thermal clothing and quality head lamps.

In 2013 my husband and I decided to return to South Africa. We took a longer route home traveling via the Himalayas for some altitude training before running the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Throughout 2013 I was struggling with a chronic hip injury which kept me out of the running scene. It was during this time that I got referred to Benita Kropman whose Lynotherapy method has helped me tremendously – so much so that I now work at her practice.

Having been away from South Africa for so long I feel like a tourist. There is so much to see and loads of running races to do. For 2014 my main focus was the Comrades marathon where I was happy to get a silver medal and come 14th in the ladies.

Through my injury and the Comrades journey I knew that I wanted to run long. I love the way that your body is exposed to so much more on these longer runs and how you have to deal with a vast range of emotions. The long runs give me an inner peace and a purpose – not to mention an excuse to eat more chocolate.

After hearing so much about African X I am super excited that I have been offered the opportunity take part. I can’t wait to see more of this beautiful country and share it with like-minded (crazy) people.

I am so grateful to everyone that has helped get me to this point. I will certainly be racing my heart out. From what I’ve heard about the race I will definitely be drawing on inspiration from my brother, Stuart Marais, whose favourite quote is “You are not done when you’re tired, you’re only done when you’re finished”.

Look forward to seeing you out on the trails…

Follow me on Face Book:  kerryann.marais

Follow us on Twitter:  @kamarshall14


Teamwork forms an essential part of this leading stage race, with participants having to rely on each other’s experience, strength and expertise in order to complete the route.  The three routes have been planned in such a way that the participants will have the opportunity to tackle a different breath-taking scenic route each day, allowing them to enjoy the full beauty of the Overberg.

DATE:                                             13 – 15 March 2015

FORMAT:                                     Three-day stage race / teams of two (male/female/mixed)

VENUE:                                         Festival Village on the grounds of the Houw Hoek Inn

DISTANCE:                                   Between 22km – 34km each day

Follow us on Face Book:  Stillwater Trail Running

Follow us on Twitter:  @runtheafricanx