So it’s Monday morning and I’m sitting in a coffee shop at Willowbridge Shopping Centre (Northern suburbs of Cape Town) with mixed emotions. Luckily I know the feeling of discontent after a big event and therefor I took an extra day off before “returning to reality”.
This is something I would advise all normal & working athletes to do, as it allows your body and mind to rest and to “recalibrate”. I love my job, but the thought of Monday morning status meetings is not something I look forward too after three days on some of SA’s most beautiful trails. Or maybe it’s just me…
So let’s get back to the race; many people have asked me what make’s ProNruto African X so special? My first response is usually to tell them about the amazing trails and the great food, but I finally have the correct answer.
The thing that makes ProNruto African X so special is… THE PEOPLE! This includes every-body that made the event happen including; the athlete’s, the “marshals”, support staff, the medics, organizers etc. They all add unbelievable value to the event and therefor ProNruto African X truly is an exceptional experience.
On a more personal note; here is a short day by day summary on Team Endurohub Kerry-Ann Marshal & Morne van Greunen –
Day 1 : Kerry and I settled into a nice steady rhythm very quickly which was a relief because we had never run together prior to the event. 3k’s into a 34km stage we were alone! The leading men’s teams and the leading mixed team were up the “road”, but we decided to run our own race and pace especially this early on. Things were going well until the 20km mark when Kerry started struggling a bit and soon after that the 3rd mixed team and leading ladies caught us. From there it turned into a very tactical affair as we ran stride for stride and changed positions going into the single tracks all the way to the finish. At the end the Van Heerden siblings; Antoine & Natia van Heerden took it at the line. Only 6 seconds separated 2nd & 3rd after day 1! The stage winners (CW-X Untraspire – Nic De Beer and Yolande Mclean) were super strong and finished 7min ahead of us!
Day 2: The pressure was on and we knew that this was the day we had to make a move if we wanted secure second place on the podium. Team Endurohub, Twinning (van Heerden’s) and the leading ladies Landie Greyling and Meg Mackenzie (Salomon Blondies) were running stride for stride as we went up and over Sir Lowries pass. Team Twinning made a move and opened up a gap of about 30 / 40 seconds. Just when I thought the race was slipping away my “little” partner Kerry-Ann’s engine started kicking in! We soon caught up and managed to pass them at the first water station. Kerry and I put our heads down and kept on pushing. The last 5km’s I started to take strain in the heat, but we managed to finish strong and ended up opening a gap of 15min on team Twinning and finished only 3min after Nic and Yolande; who took their second stage win. We even managed to sneak into top to 10 finishing 9th over-all on the stage! What a hard, but rewarding day of running and a real team effort.
Day 3: It was a “short” 22km stage. The first 10km is mostly downhill and super-fast. Kerry and I decided we wanted to give the leaders; Nic and Yolande a run for their money. They were already 10min ahead on the GC so were in no danger of “loosing” the race, but we wanted a stage win! We kept running and pushing as hard as we could and after 18km we had them in-sight! Unfortunately for us Nic spotted us at the last water station which ruined the element of surprize. Both of us ran our skinny legs off, but they were too strong and crossed the line 90 seconds ahead of us. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW. Kerry-Ann Marshal thank you and well done! Team Endurohub finishing 2nd mixed team and TOP 10 over-all (Time: 7:51:44).
A special thank you to our sponsor, Endurohub for the opportunity to race and represent this amazing brand. Puma running – The new Puma Faas 300 TR’s were amazing (watch this space for a proper review). I also want to say a huge thank you to Denver Knoetzen (Tri-Plex Sport) for his support the last couple of days.
Lastly thank you to my wonderful amazing supportive wife! Love you lots.
Till next time… Take it easy, but take it.