Gina to compete in gruelling race

2017-05-04 06:00
Tough terrain, technical trails and long distances. Gina Malherbe (42), the daughter of Fasie and Fiona Malherbe from Cape St Francis, is set to compete in the ultimate adventure race - Expedition Africa 2017.                    Photo:SUPPLIED

Tough terrain, technical trails and long distances. Gina Malherbe (42), the daughter of Fasie and Fiona Malherbe from Cape St Francis, is set to compete in the ultimate adventure race - Expedition Africa 2017. Photo:SUPPLIED

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TOUGH terrain, technical trails, long distances and little sleep = the ultimate test of human endurance.

Manicured toenails and lipstick will make way for a medical kit and well-thought out nutrition when first time endurance athlete Gina Stewart (42), the daughter of Fasie and Fiona Malherbe from Cape St Francis Resort, will do what most consider inconceivable - testing her athletic skills, technical expertise, determination and mental strength beyond the limits of human endurance during the 514km Expedition Africa Baviaans endurance race that will take place in the Kouga and Baviaans regions from May 12 to May 21.

Stewart is no stranger to racing: She’s done the Sky 100km Trail Run in the Witteberg Mountains, as well as numerous three to four day events in trail running and mountain bi-king.

Stewart, who has always been something of a fitness freak, will be racing with the all South African Cape St Francis Rookie Resort team. She will be hooking up with teammates Ryan and Nici van Niekerk whom she has been in contact with a few times, and Terence Vrugtman who she has never met before.

Although competitive, Stewart is more driven by the goal of simply competing and being part of a team working to the best of their abilities.

Owing to the gruelling, relentless nature of the race, team Cape St Francis Rookie Resort plans to spend about 20 minutes sleeping every so often - any racer can be the weakest link at any time.

“The elements and terrain conditions are always uncontrollable, so that is a big worry. I have never paddled before. This is a new discipline for me, so I hope my body will respond kindly to me,” says Stewart.

“It comes down to being ready to do whatever it takes to keep a teammate going. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and have not trained as a full team - so it will be interesting. You do whatever it takes to help your teammate, especially on a bad day, because you know at some point it is going to be you.

“The one thing that I am sure of is that our team will have a variety of amazing skills and that we will do everything we can to keep ourselves pushing along.

Not being able to shower for the duration of the race, does not bother Stewart one bit. “You smell the same after one hour or 72 hours. As long as I can keep warm, I should be okay.”

She will try to eat as much nutritional food as possible and stay away from sugar to avoid highs and lows.

How did she train for the event? “With great difficulty,” says Stewart.

Stewart completed three 100km trail runs in March, paddled in Marina Da Gama in Cape Town and went to gym three times a week.

She even went running on the Wild Side with bricks in her backpack.

As late as last week, Stewart was still learning to abseil off Table Mountain. With that skill in her arsenal she plans to arrive in Kouga on Thursday next week, her bags stuffed with all the gear it will take her to survive in the ‘wild’.

“I have always wanted a big sporting event to take place at Cape St Francis Resort. It is the perfect venue to cater for everyone involved - whether competing or supporting the teams,” says Stewart.

“I have been coming to Cape St Francis my whole life and absolutely love the area. Thus, having the opportunity to see over 500km of the area on foot, is very appealing.”

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