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World record

By | Charity

‘Probably one of the biggest moments of my career.’ 

World record: Most vertical distance in 24 hours by a team.

Platteklip Gorge, Table Mountain x 14.

Christiaan Greyling & AJ Calitz

10 May 2021

19:52:00

Photos by Grobler Basson, words by Dane van den Heever

Why did we do it?

So we decided to take on something extraordinary…

It started in lockdown, when K-Way teammate AJ Calitz and I had a chat as we were bummed about the events being cancelled. We knew we wanted to do something in a short period of time, so that we weren’t going to be away from our families for too long. And we wanted to do something that creates hope. 

AJ then applied for a Guinness World Record attempt, which lasts for three months. And as we all know, life happens, one procrastinates and leaves things to be done last minute. 

After another conversation, we were left with a choice. Either wait and reapply, or be crazy and commit. Once you start moving things around, they get postponed. Sometimes you just have to do it.

So right there and then, we jumped in. We had to complete the attempt before the 11th of May… 

What physical planning goes into an event like this? 

We both are ultra runners and have raced competitively on the international scene, but to put things into perspective, this was AJ’s longest run ever in time, and by far the most vertical distance we moved in a single effort. 

So, you would think we will attempt this well rested? But only 2 weeks prior to this I did the 100km Ultra trail Drakensberg and finished 2nd in a very competitive field and was still broken on my test run a few days before the attempt. AJ on the other hand took part in the annual PCC (Platteklip Charity Challenge) and only 3 weeks prior to our record attempt he did 11 laps up and down on a section of the climb. He was also not in his best physical state when we stepped over the startline at 4:02am on Monday 10 May. 

We would have liked to prepare more for an event like this, the fact that we went into it quite blindly was mainly a good thing. I had no idea how hard it might be, something better not to know. 

AJ had a better sense of what was ahead, as he had done some of this craziness before. 

The madness

There was just a point during the day when our bodies felt like they were broken to pieces… and only our heads were left. 

It’s then when you need a very strong reason why you are attempting the challenge. 

We tapped into all the energy of the support we received. There were people backing us everywhere, on top of the mountain and below, in obscure hours. And therefore we didn’t want to give up. 

We still, however, went through some dark patches… cramping, nausea, dehydration. And a lot of pain. 

Hydration and nutrition

The one thing you can not go without in such an exhausting effort is the best nutrition, and enough of it. I burned around 8500 calories, according to my Garmin watch. You cannot skimp on this… it’s your fuel. As a professional athlete, you also don’t have that much fat to burn, you need sufficient fats, carbs and protein for the demands of the day. And the demand was high! Climbing always gets your heart rate up. It’s an effort, and will always be, no matter how slow you go. 

Initially, I ran with some Biogen plant based protein bars, and Buttanutt sachets (which actually fit well into my Naked Innovation Belt). It’s great proteins that break down easily, and I knew it would help my body when the laps would start their bite. We ate well in the beginning, knowing there would be a point we wouldn’t feel like eating anymore. Which is when you need to go over to liquid foods. 

Landie brought me a smoothie at lap 5, and whatever was in there was amazing.  I think I had about four smoothies throughout the day, about 5 energy bars, an avo, Wazoogles oats, 3 Buttanut rolls, chicken broth and salt chips, half a pizza, soup, a footlong nougat, yellies, fruit, Biogen gels, 5 Tribe coffees and the list goes on 🙂 

It really helped to run to your aid station every hour and a half, hour and fifteen minutes. 

The day is a lot easier like that, as opposed to running a hundred kilometers and carrying all of your goodies with you. 

But it’s also difficult when you run past your finishing point 13 times. Getting out of the ‘nice zone,’ is hard when it’s where your friends, good food and music are.

I calculated a total of around 18 liters of fluid that I took during the day. When arriving at the bottom of a lap, I just grabbed a soft flask that was filled with Biogen electrolytes, Cytogen or Carbogen and ran with it. I really discovered the value of Carbogen there. It’s a great source of low GI energy, without caffeine. 

I sweat most of my fluids out, 12.5L according to my Garmin fenix 6 Sapphire and was probably dehydrated at a point, you always are. But this time, we hands down had better hydration than in a usual race. Reason being we never missed a single time to drink when we crossed the stream of water on our way up. We forced each other to drink a cup on every lap. When AJ was in front, he would fill up the water and leave the cup for me on the rock, what a teamplayer! 

Gear 

So when things are really tough and you are facing extreme conditions, you have to be able to depend on your gear. Both AJ and I had our K-Way arm warmers on for the entire day. Definitely for the 4am cold, but also as we entered the heat of the day, we soaked them in the stream and they cooled us down. 

We had a couple of clothing changes, because we got so drenched in sweat. It’s fantastic to change into a fresh shirt or shorts, not to mention new socks. 

As for my running shoes, I was wearing my Adidas Flow pair. They had enough cushioning, I was quite impressed, in spite of their tough exterior and grip. I switched to the Pearly pair later on, which is a much softer shoe, yet brilliant for the job as well. I have no blisters from the day, no pains. 

Without my 30 South sunnies, the heat would have beaten me, especially around laps 6 – 8. 

 I am very happy with my gear choices for the day. 

The real heroes

At the end of the day it looked like there were two guys who ran up a mountain, and they got to be the heroes. 

But actually that would not have been possible at all without the people who supported us. I remember having goosebumps at the last two laps… to see our friends waiting there for us, on top and at the bottom, risking being late for curfew just to support us. 

It was an emotional finish. There they were, the crazy people who believed in two crazy guys… cheering for us. Being happy for us. What a moment! 

I hope the record goes way beyond what we did out there. We aim to inspire people to do something extraordinary, something out of their comfort zone. To get out! It’s not about breaking a world record, or running up and down a mountain 14 times.  

We committed our run to the charity called EduNova. It takes a big wave, like breaking a world record, to raise enough awareness for a big problem like education in our country. We loved having this opportunity for exposure for them, and hope to see their plans for a brighter future realize on the near horizon. 

And then a real big shout out must go to Grobler Basson, who ran with us for three laps with the best music. He has to be the local trail DJ. He and his wife are super seconds, with a hundred miler from three weeks ago still fresh in their minds. They knew exactly what we needed.

Also a big thanks to Pierre Pienaar, from K-Way, who spent the WHOLE day at the aid station keeping things together. 

So many people were spending a lot of time at Platteklip for us. All of them, Blake, Greg, Emily, Janco, Dirkie, Shaun, Tinus, Jamie Marais .. you guys were great support and gave us the best smiles out there.

A big thanks to AJ Calitz, the brainchild of this feat. He is one of the best motivational teammates one can ask for!

Also, huge thanks to all the social media, the PR, the photographers, the story reporters on social media. Thanks for backing us all the way. 

Table mountain has one of the most technical descents I know. We had to run down in 30 minutes, because we had only a few minutes to spare for the record. 

It is downright risky to run a mountain like this 14 times. We could easily have tripped, broken a bone or sprained an ankle. 

Therefore, praise be to God… He made our feet like that of a rhebok. We were sent angels like Majozi, a SAN Parks officer who gave us favor and good support on the mountain. And one of AJ’s elders who prayed for us on the run. Actually, all our people were praying for us. 

God blessed us and enabled us. 

And special thanks to President Cyril Ramaphosa for allowing us only 20 hours of that climb. Another four would have been pure agony. 

UTD 2021 – a fight to the end

By | 60 - 100km

My fascination with the Giants’ Cup trail started in 2014, when we were on holiday in the area. I ran from the hotel, Premier Resort Sani Pass, back to Castleburn, where we stayed. It’s a 30km stretch on the route. Somewhere on the trail a met a guy named Spurgeon, stating that he was scouting the route for a race.

A year later, the first Ultra Trail Drakensberg happened.

In 2017, yet another year later, Landie and I participated in and won the 62km race. By then, we have completely fallen in love with the Drakensberg trails and I still think it is one of the best places in the whole world.

After a few years of racing abroad, we finally returned to UTD in 2021. I was interested in racing something further than the 62km. The hundred miler was something we eyed in 2020, but missed it due to COVID.
With a newborn and toddler in the house this year, my training was not enough for a hundred miler and I decided to race the 100km, which I am thankful for. We can race again!

This year proved a very strong racing field, probably one of the strongest fields of a 100km race in the last two to three years in South Africa. Lots of young talent was showcased – Rory Scheffer, Robert Rorich, Brendan Lombard, Comrades runner Admire Muzopambwa, Phillip Shezi, winner of the Sani Stagger, and many more, including previous winner Stuart McConnachie.

All hungry to race.

We started in the dark and immediately, Scheffer sped off. I didn’t try to chase him, hoping that Lombard, also a fast runner, would race him and one of them would fall behind, giving the rest of us a chance.

I did not reckon with Shezi, as I did not know him, and Muzopambwa. Muzopambwa and I settled into a comfortable pace and ran together most of the way.

I really looked forward to going down Sani Pass, as I love downhills. And Sani was almost 28km’s of sheer pleasure, mostly trail, with a few slight climbs in between.

As expected, Sani took my breath away. Stunning views of the sunrise and green, green grass covering the highs… It was enough to fill my satisfaction of what I came for. There is this solitude in the rolling mountains, and the feeling of God’s presence… it’s simply something you have to experience.

We descended to the hotel, and it was great to see Landie for the first time, who helped me with a quick transition. We then settled into a good pace, Muzopambwa and I. Following the trail up a very steep climb, Shezi managed to pull away from us.

I felt quite comfortable in the first 36km’s, which was exactly how I wanted to feel. Coming into the aid station feeling strong, in fourth position, well in contact with second and third position, gave my confidence a good boost. Scheffer, however, was well away. Only a mistake on his side was likely to open up that first place again.

But then we hit the flat section: jeep track, my absolute least favorite section on any trail. Both Muzopambwa and Shezi pulled away from me, leaving me in fourth position once again. I however continued with what I knew was most important in a 100km event: eat and hydrate well, enjoy the trails.

At 46km’s, Rory Scheffer, whom I thought was leading by far, was found walking on the route. Muzopambwa and I, running together again, overtook him, and he mentioned something about his calf.

That left us thinking we were racing only one more runner in the front.

As is typical of a 100km race, you start to lose focus. It’s not halfway yet. You see more uphills than there really are. Muzopambwa and I started to slow each other down, instead of pacing each other. When he walked, I walked. When I walked, he walked…

We reached the aid station at 50km’s, I was hoping to see the family and get a quick refill of supplies and maybe a mood lift. Or two.

But there was not a trace of Landie, my mom, Christopher, Anzel… or our car. Something could have happened to the car, or them. I ended up worrying more about them than myself. But I decided to run to the next aid station.

The stations were well stocked with everything necessary.

Muzopambwa and I, by then my teammate and pacer, arrived at the 58km’s aid station, with Shezi leading by 15 minutes.

We had a medical check, which I passed, surprisingly. You somehow hope that they would find something wrong, that someone else could tell you to stop running.

But there was no reason to stop, of course. I could put one foot in front of the other. The pain was more mental, and it’s amazing how much a bit of support can mean.

That was where the race really changed for me. Landie joined, she paced me for the next 15km’s. It was my first time running with a pacer and it helped a great deal. It changed the way I thought and believed during those kilometres. More than motivation, she gave me a consistent pace and took over all the thinking. She reminded me of my form, rhythm, eating, hydration… the things I did not want to, or remembered to, do. Hearing from someone else that I could do it, I was doing well, was refreshing to say the least.

Landie kept us running at a 05:20 pace on the flats. It was comfortable, but at that stage I could not run any faster. Muzopambwa ran with us for a few kilometres.

Then, out of nowhere, Scheffer appeared again. I didn’t think he was still in the race, and scared me a bit as he overtook us quite easily.

That moment felt like game over, and I ran past the next aid station in an attempt to save time. It worked, and I managed to maintain contact with Scheffer, and Muzopambwa was with me again. I knew that I had to keep on going, Landie’s words kept us going. It’s not over until the end… Don’t give up, the one who gives up first will lose the battle.

I can’t remember racing that hard in a 100km before, with the positions changing constantly in the front.

I arrived at the 73km’s aid station just seconds before Scheffer.

However, right there a whole lot went wrong. It was jeep track, and Scheffer could outrun me quite easily.

I could still see him at the next station, but Landie’s pep talk did not ring in my ears anymore. She stopped pacing us.

I was in third position, and I knew one mistake could have the others overtake me easily.

We entered Giant’s Cup trail and the 62km and 32km racers joined us bit by bit. Once again, the Drakensberg was showing off. Those green, grassy hills and streams, with many hikers and campers who dotted the mountains.

It really is something all South Africans must do in their lives – camp in the Drakensberg and disappear from networks for a few days.

Thankfully, I ran with strength again and managed to catch Shezi just before the last aid station at Copham. It was downhill, and Shezi seemed uncomfortable.

That left me racing in second place, with some hope. But by then, you don’t care about positions any more. You run to finish.

There was one more hill and 12km’s left. I pushed to avoid being surprised again, motivated by the nearing end. I climbed well.

On the descent, I however lost some time. My tummy was cramping and I messed around, as is not uncommon for a 100km.

I then noticed a runner behind me. Thinking it was Muzopambwa, I started to sprint without looking back. It was the last three and a half kilometres to the finish line. I came in second.

Two and a half minutes behind me was Prodigal Kumalo, running to win the 32km race. Not Muzopambwa.

That taught me again, everything in a 100km is mental. It’s when you tell yourself you are tired, that you are. Or that you can run a hill, that you have enough energy somewhere inside to sprint race against the 32km winner… it’s all what you perceive. Your mental ability is either a win, or a lose. Everyone’s got a few war stories after a long race. Pushing through, fighting those thoughts, praying… That’s what makes us stronger, what makes us come back for more.

It was good to fight for 11 and a half hours, and I almost reached my fastest 100km time. But Scheffer deserves the win, coming back from almost pulling out, yet still racing hard to take the win… that is an incredible performance.

I’m thankful for our sponsors, they make it easy and worthwhile to travel this far.

We’re definitely equipped with the best gear out there, enabling us to compete in the elements.

My nutrition strategy worked a hundred percent, as I never felt that I hit a complete wall. Whenever I could not eat, I managed to sip on Biogen Cytogen, and did not get tired of the neutral taste. I knew it contained enough calories to sustain me. I also really enjoyed all the good fats and protein from my Buttanut sachets, keeping me strong the natural way.

A big thanks to Häzz coffee, giving me an extra boost and smile before (and after) the race.

I ran with my Naked HC Vest, which was a 100% fit for the UTD. I could manage all my compact K-Way gear and compulsory kit, leaving me to run incredibly free.

Adidas Terrex helped me to maintain a fantastic grip throughout the race. It’s the Drakensberg, yet I never slipped, never fell, never had reason for panic. I really trust my shoes and enjoy being able to take the risks and race my heart out.

Of course, Garmin navigation really saved the day, I had to check my watch numerous times to stay on the route. I loved being able to listen to music from my watch with Bluetooth earphones, which I needed especially on those flats.

It was lovely to see the 30 South team at the race! They gave us some real pep talks and support, all while their sunglasses provided me with excellent vision in the ice cold winds and sunshine hours alike. 

Lastly, a big shout out to Emperor Asset Management making a lot of what we do possible.

In the end, it’s not about who is there or not there. It’s not about your position. It’s your own race, your personal battle. Finish strong.

Heaven and Hell Q & A with Trail magazine

By | Uncategorised

How did the name “Heaven and Hell” relate to your experience at the race?

“The name says it all, heavenly views from the top, but absolute hell to get there!” 


Did you appreciate the loop format?

Yes, it made nutrition planning straight forward as you know exactly what you can expect. Our blood pressure and oxygen saturation were taken every 14km. According to my Garmin, my oxygen saturation was on 89% average throughout the race. 


What elements of the race were most challenging?

It becomes extremely difficult to think straight when you are sleep deprived, running 18 hours non-stop and you have to do another 22km, 6-hour lap with 2 000m ascent to finish. 

Is there a particularly funny/interesting/scary/inspiring memory from the race you’d like to share? 

I’ve learned that hours feel like minutes, the impossible is possible, and that our mind is the strongest tool we have!


Would you do it again?

Certainly!

Running through the night and yet 10 hours to go
Aid station setup between laps
Thinking – What did I sign up for…

Otter report 2019

By | 40 - 60km | 2,653 Comments

Otter 2019

Introduction

It’s not often that you will hear someone returning to an event for the 8th time… Well, I did and for a trail runner who hates running the same trail or touch a treadmill where boredom might kick in this proves how much fun it is. I love coming back to the Grail of trail, the unspoilt beauty, the technicality of the trail, the tough competition and a world-class event. The Otter trail, known as the most impressive 5-day hike along the Garden Route coast is one of the most beautiful but toughest marathon distance trails I have competed in, and I love to compete for the top spot at Otter trail. Being the defending champion from the 2017 Classic route and an ever-improving Otter time, I had high expectations, despite recovering from injury 12 weeks earlier. With the right gear, plan and support team, I managed to pull-off success in 12 weeks to race competitive again, although only my 4th fastest time at Otter trail, but it gave me hope and I hope it gives others hope to what they can achieve with the right focus and plan. Otter, is a mental refresher, nature’s way to teach you mindfulness and a test for the human’s capabilities!

 

Event overview

It’s not often that you will hear someone returning to an event for the 8th time… Well, I did and for a trail runner who hates running the same trail or touch a treadmill where boredom might kick in this proves how much fun it is. I love coming back to the Grail of trail, the unspoilt beauty, the technicality of the trail, the tough competition and a world-class event.

Whenever I congratulate one of the Collins brothers about another successful year, they humbly respond that they are passionate about athletes who can run fast over technical terrain, and that’s why they have created the Otter trailrun. www.otter.run

I have been to many events across the globe, but I ascertain you, this event won’t let you down. The amount of detail and perfection that goes into this keeps on surprising year on year! Well done team Magnetic South!

If you want to be on the start line next year and be sure of success check out our website: www.alpasfit.com for customized online coaching.

Bloukrans Crossing by Jacques Marais

Route overview – Classic

The Classic Otter trail, mostly known as the most prestigious 5-day hike along the Garden Route coast is one of the most beautiful but toughest marathon distance trails I know of. If you want to familiarise yourself with what you will be doing, take a hike to the first waterfall at Sorms River rest camp and you should get a good idea of what you will be in for. You will experience boulders, stairs, 7300 of them, roots, forests, loose pebbles, water crossings, beaches and when lucky, some runnable trail. All these obstacles will keep your mind focused on the task at hand, to get to Nature’s Valley alive! Otter, is a mental refresher, nature’s way to teach you mindfulness and a test for the human’s capabilities!

 

The training experiment

At some point in an athlete’s career, you will face injury as one of many challenges. I managed to escape this since 2013, but in 2018 it all started to come back, suffering from a labrum tear in my hip, constant knee pain and eventually Plantar Fasciitis the final trump which took me out of running from  March until June. By this time, I was not only unfit, but lost hope and motivation and not to mention the 7kg weight I gained over the passive winter months. When I was finally cleared to run again, it took a few weeks to get my motivation back, and I needed a BIG goal to pump my veins full of adrenaline again! And there it was, Otter Classic, my favourite race only 12 weeks away.

My track coach, Ernie always said you can work well with a 12-week block of training to reach a good marathon time, and here I was, ready to be the experiment of our theoretical beliefs. I worked on a plan, chose a few milestone races and went for gold. There was also a bit of pressure here, as I was the defending champion in Otter and have successfully improved my time year on year since my first otter in 2011.

It took me 6 weeks of consistent running before I believe I could run 40km again, another 4 weeks before I started thinking of competing again. After 8 weeks of consistent training, I took part in the Table Mountain Challenge 44km trail and I was by no means at a competitive level yet, but got away with a podium. TMC was a good indication of what was still lacking and I gave strength training more focus. I also slowly saw a decrease in my weight after giving up my calorie cravings, which mostly came in the form of fermented red grape juice. 😊

 

Product Overview

Without the right gear it would be impossible to run a 5-day trail in less than 5 hours.

The Garmin Fenix 5x Plus is the one piece of equipment I use every minute of the day. The Garmin with its built-in wrist heart rate monitor allows for accurate monitoring of resting heart rate, which I track religiously to monitor recovery and potential illness. To me Otter is well calculated effort to achieve my time and once again I compiled my racing and pacing plan with the help of the TrainingPeaks app keeping me up to date of the minutes I loose on my ambitious winning plan 😊

The balance between Biogen electrolytes and gels kept me on a constant energy level and allowed me to sustain energy levels throughout the race. I also used one of the newly launched vegan bars and found it easy to digest and full of nutritional super powers. https://www.biogen.co.za/products/well-range/plant-based-protein-bar/

As we had only level 1 weather conditions the only emergency gear we required was the K-Way Windproof jacket. One of my favourite K-Way products are the white arm protectors which helps for both cold and sun protection. http://www.kway.co.za/

 

adidas Terrex Agravic Boa trail shoes proofed to be the best shoe for Otter trail A Boa® Closure System offers a personalised fit, while a grippy Continental™ Rubber outsole holds the trail even in wet conditions. I found this model to be wider than its predecessors, and I suggest going half a size smaller than your normal size. https://shop.adidas.co.za/wm-agravic-boa-shoes-320515.html?

Instinct 4.5L Ambition Trail Vest proofed to be exactly what I needed. Lightweight, breathable and designed by a runner! The 4.5L could easily fit 2 650ml soft flasks, a phone, waterproof jacket, and enough nutrition for the duration of the trail. https://instincttrail.co.za/trail-vests-and-bags.html#volume=45l

Often times runners neglect their feet which is the most important asset out on the trail. I use Versus Socks to protect my feet from blisters. Even going through the many rivers and sandy sections which creates sand-paper which is bad for any foot. www.versussocks.com

This was not my best Otter to date, but certainly a memorable Otter run, as I have witnessed records shatter, saw the new young talent coming through and could celebrate a double podium with my wife Landie and our son Christopher after a rollercoaster year of injury, work, running a business and launching the Maxi race one week before Otter. I am exhausted and relieved but praise God for the energy to live life to the fullest! On a bus to my next adventure: Cappadocia Ultra trail in Turkey this weekend.

7 Summits for starting chance

By | Charity | 695 Comments

 

In a bid to raise funds for differently-abled children to enjoy the freedom to move and learn, South African trail runner Christiaan Greyling will climb seven summits in seven days with his son joining him on one of the days.

I will raise funds for a state-of-the-art special care school with a clinic and specially-designed playground to aid movement

“My new challenge aims to make people aware of the challenges that disabled children face. To do this I will summit seven Western Cape mountains, of more than 1000m vertical ascent each, in seven days to raise funds for a state-of-the-art special care school with a clinic and specially-designed playground to aid movement,” Greyling says.

By summiting a mountain, a day I’m aiming to raise one rand for every one vertical metre climbed during the week by any of the club members, with the final goal being R50 000,” he says.

As a club we climbed a combined total of 42,768m

With the help and donations we have raised more than the vertical meters and raised a total of R40 000 to date!

Why Starting Chance

His charity of choice is Starting Chance, A non-profit organisation in Mfuleni in Cape Town. The project partially funded by HomeChoice is committed to to making a difference in the lives of children in the early childhood sector.

Why summits?

“By summiting mountains, we experience freedom and by moving, we can give freedom to others.

The Biggest challenge was not the physical activity as initially expected, but with this project came many more logistical nightmares to juggle during a normal work-week. The normal daily challenges which include work, meetings, health, a baby with high fever, a car accident, 4 birthdays, a business to run, family dynamics and to stay true to my commitment of summiting 7 mountains and getting an elevation of 1000m every day.

Mountains summited during the week of 9-15 September

 

Summit 1: Du Toits Kop peak 9 Spetember

Summit 2: Stellenbosch mountain 10 September

 

Summit 3: Table MaClears Bea

Summit 5: Helderberg Dome

 

 

 

 

 

Summit 4: Simonsberg – The Cold One

 

 

 

Summit 6: Table Mountain

The 7th Summit

After I have completed 6 summits relatively easy, one could imagine the 7th summit would also go smooth as I have a full day to take control of my commitment. Our day started in Greyton where we camped for a good friend’s 40th birthday. Myself and my wife Lanide break camp at 6am and left for Worcester to drop our baby at my sister’s house while we summit Sneeukop. Halfway up the mountain, we realized we will not make it back in time, and following the whatsapp communication, he was not happy at all. My sister was hosting her boy’s 8th birthday and there was no way we could expect other people to give up their commitments because of ours. After weighing up options and risks, with one cellphone and one car, I realised that I must abandon this mountain.

 

We then spent time with our family and I have then planned to summit a familiar mountain that night in Stellenbosch as I now had 500m ascent for the day. As I played around with various emotions I read this text on the wall; Joshua 1:9 – Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened and not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

The plan was to start at 5pm with my good friend Gabriel. As we left the parking for the trail, we heard a loud noise and to our shock we noticed that someone bumped into his parked bakkie. The worst was that the bakkie was committed to a buyer from Gauteng the previous day.

I felt partially responsible, so I went with him to report the case and 45 minutes later we were back at the start of the trail. We secured safer parking but as we were about to start I received a phone call from my wife that our baby’s got a fever of 39.

By now I was convinced that this summit is not for me to conquer, but the summit is an emotional one, a spiritual battle to overcome. We found an after hours pharmacy and with the help of my doctor sister, I got the right medication. On our way home, Landie said the fever settled and suggested that we climb the final mountain. At 18:25 we started our ascent up Botmaskop from Stellenbosch but I prayed and a lot for a safe summit to complete this project. It was a beautiful crisp evening, but Botmaskop is sketchy in places and has a very high crime rate.

 

At 19:30 I popped out at the top of Botmaskop with a total ascent of 1250m for the day and 8373m for the week relieved, thankful and praising God for the health to climb mountains, and his blessings throughout the project. I felt a feeling of achievement, of completion and found it very applicable as the number 7 in Hebrew exactly means completion.

I soon realised that while we have to juggle to keep all the balls in the air we forget about the struggles differently abled kids has to overcome. A simple task to make your own food or walk to the school does not even exist in some peoples reference. This challenge to me was not about the money we raised, but it gave me the reason for introspection to how fast we live our lives without noticing the people around us and the people who struggle.

 

 

 

 

Support

As we have to support those who can’t help themselves, I have to thank the people who supported me during this project, because without you it would not have been possible to raise R40 000+, climb 8374m during a normal work week and experience all these amazing views on top of the mountains. Kirsty Hatt for doing all the project communication, media and for your positive attitude, Starting Chance for the great work which you do. My friends who supported, ran with me, listened to my story and contributed to my course, my family who supported, smiled and even climbed with me when they could. My sponsors for sharing the story and equipping me with the best equipment to do what we do.

Seven summits for a good cause

By | Charity | 1,356 Comments

I’ll be summiting 7 mountains (+1000m) in 7 days this week for charity. The purpose is to raise R1 for every 1m (vertical) climbed. Total funds raised will go to the Lonwabo Project for a special needs school and playground to aid movement for disabled children in Mfuleni, Cape Town. Please donate or climb your bit for disabled children. Move for those who can’t. Join my Strava Club 7summits4SC or donate via Givengain 7 Summits for Starting Chance.

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Christiaan Greyling’s Race Report – Grand Raid Pyrenees (43km)

By | 40 - 60km | 4,444 Comments

What is Grand Raid Pyrenees?

Grand Raid Pyrenees is a festival of trail running and takes place in the small village of Saint-Lary-Soulan in the French Hautes-Pyrenees. Best known as a ski resort, but revived in summer when 6000 trail athletes arrive for some mountain air. Bars and cafes line the main street, Rue Vincent Mir, which makes it especially hard to run pass. To the west, the Néouvielle National Nature Reserve has high-altitude lakes, granite outcrops and pine forests. Trails lead around the shore of the reserve’s Lac de l’Oule, which is ringed by peaks. Read More