Stellenbosch trail running duo run AfricanX for CHOC

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Local runners Chantel Nienaber and Chris Venter will again team-up for this year’s instalment of the AfricanX Trailrun.Photo: Tobias Ginsberg
Local runners Chantel Nienaber and Chris Venter will again team-up for this year’s instalment of the AfricanX Trailrun.Photo: Tobias Ginsberg

The Stellenbosch trail running duo of Chantel Nienaber and Chris Visser will return to participate in the country’s premier three-day stage trail run, the AfricanX Trailrun, at the Houw Hoek Hotel in Elgin from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 March.

This year the pair will lace-up and put in the hard yards in support of the Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa (Choc).

Although Nienaber is no stranger to the challenging event, Visser made his event debut at last year’s instalment, so this will be only the second time he toes the line at this iconic stage race.

“After competing in 2021, I could see why AfricanX is called South Africa’s premier three-day stage trail run,” Visser related. “The race organisation was on point, the trails were extremely well marked and the race village had an incredible atmosphere. Add to the mix some of SA’s finest runners (trail and road) and you had an event to remember.”

He is looking forward to teaming up with Nienaber again, stating his partner brought a wealth of experience to the table. “She’s extremely well organised and always prepared,” Visser pointed out. “I also enjoy her company, which is critically important if you are going to be spending so much time together training and racing.

“We’ll be running in support of Choc and our team’s name is COWrageous. As a Choc Cow I do my best to raise funds and awareness for the foundation. If one person donates or asks about Choc, my goal will be achieved. It is an absolute honour to take on SA’s premier three-day stage race in support of such a fantastic foundation.”

The AfricanX event is normally Nienaber’s first race of the season. “It’s like a family gathering and it’s great to see so many familiar faces,” she pointed out.

“I competed in my first AfricanX Trailrun in 2012 and have returned many times afterwards. It’s become part of my trail running career. The event creates the perfect opportunity for trail runners to spend time with their trail buddies.”

Similarly, she is looking forward to taking on the gruelling terrain with Visser by her side. “I’m happy to team up with Chris again,” Nienaber admitted. “He is the most dedicated and committed runner that I know. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate. Although Chris is finally a veteran (40 to 49 years) and I am just about a master (50 to 59 years), I would be lying if I said we didn’t want to podium at the event, but ultimately our goal will be to have a great time on the trails with our trail running family.

“I am getting too old to race, so this will be the last year of competitive participation. I am happy to celebrate my final team event of my racing career with Chris and I am also very proud to compete in the colours of Choc, an incredible charity that supports children with cancer.”

The AfricanX Trailrun will see teams of two trail running enthusiasts (male, female or mixed) battling it out on a route varying in distances each day. Each stage will feature a route guaranteed to keep things challenging, yet exciting and leave runners in awe.

The teams will take on varying distances – 24 km, 32 km and 18 km – on the three stages daily. There are also three entry options available: standard at R3 600 per runner; standard plus dinner at R4 200 per runner; and standard plus dinner and tent at R4 600 per runner.

Entries close on Monday 6 March. To enter or for more information, visit www.stillwatersports.com.

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