Competition heats up at the 2023 PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN 3-Day Stage Race

                                               “Let Nature Give You A Run For Your Money”


Celebrating its 13th anniversary at the Houw Hoek Hotel (Western Cape) the weekend of 17 – 19 March 2023, the PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN 3-Day Stage Race will boast a strong line-up of trail runners including the likes of Nicholas Rupanga (Kenilworth, Cape Town) with Wandisile Nongodlwana (Meyersdal, Johannesburg), AJ Calitz (Melkbosstrand) with Bernard Rukadza (Gugulethu), the brother and sister duo of Stuart Marais (Addo, Eastern Cape) and Kerry-Ann Marshall (Newlands, Cape Town), and Helderberg Trail Run Crew #HTRCrew members Hakeem Smith (Somerset West) with Lovemo Nyaude (Somerset West) and Jani Kruger (Strand) with Nicola de Villiers (Somerset West) to mention just a few.

In the Men’s Team Category Nicholas Rupanga will celebrate his 12th running of the AFRICANX TRAILRUN in 2023. “It’s very important to choose the correct partner because AFRICANX is a team event,” says Rupanga. “Understanding each other is crucial over those three days. You win as a team and lose as a team, either way you must help and support each other throughout. Wandisile and I have been running together for more than four years as veterans, so understanding each other well is one of our team strengths. We’re excited to have competition in the form of AJ and Bernie, but for me it’s not about winning at AFRICANX, it’s about meeting new people, the camaraderie and enjoying the adventure of the event. Our goal will be to put 100% effort into our performance, while having fun.”

Rupanga is only one of two runners that have taken part in the AFRICANX TRAILRUN 11 out of the 12 times that it has been hosted, the other runner is sports journalist Adnaan Mohamed, who will also be back in 2023.


AJ Calitz is excited to once again team up with his long-time running partner and friend Bernard Rukadza. “Choosing the right partner to run with is like choosing the right partner to marry,” says Calitz. “Things can very quickly go pear-shaped on the trails. My strength lies in my ability to climb and recover well. As a result, I can race hard consecutively. Bernie’s strength is everything – climbing, speed, recovery – he is a monster! Our team strength is based on years of experience and friendship. We look forward to going up against Nicholas and Wandisile. They are such good mates and incredible athletes, but once the gun goes off, the racing starts. Although our goal is to race hard, we’re also looking forward to hanging out with other trail runners. AFRICANX is something truly special, we can’t wait.”


Hakeem Smith and Lovemo Nyaude have proven to be a team that should not be underestimated at AFRICANX after claiming the 2nd spot on the podium in 2022 with their combined finishing time of 06 hours 09 minutes 21 seconds after three days of racing.

“There is a great sense of camaraderie at AFRICANX, not only amongst the leaders, but also amongst the rest of the field,” says Smith. “This together with the fantastic routes and great food is a serious attraction. As a competitive person, I am looking to challenge and better our 2022 results. We have trained hard in preparation and have learnt from our mistakes. We would like to push for 1st place but will be satisfied with any position as long as we’ve given our all and left everything out on the trails, with no regrets. It’s only been a year since I switched from road running to trail running. Winning would make all those 4am early morning wakeup calls worthwhile.”

“Everything about AFRICANX is amazing,” says Nyaude. “I look forward to challenging our 2022 results with Hakeem. He is very competitive, and I am happy with the way that we work together. I recommend this event to other trail runners. It’s a fun race, it’s tough, but very rewarding and the support that you receive from other trail runners and supporters is guaranteed to energise you.”


The brother and sister duo of Stuart Marais and Kerry-Ann Marshall are guaranteed to push the pace in the Mixed Team Category of the PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN.

“AFRICANX is SA’s most iconic multi-stage trail running event,” says Marais. “Racing with someone who understands you is critical. Our sports careers have always taken us in different directions, so to have this opportunity to run with my sister is pretty amazing.” 

“I love the competitive side to this amazing event,” says Marshall. “I look forward to cruising along the beautiful trails with my brother. We know each other well. We love to run hard but also have tons of fun in the process.”


Jani Kruger and Nicola de Villiers will be strong contenders in the Women’s Team Category.

“I’ve taken part in the AFRICANX TRAILRUN twice. One of the times was part of my honeymoon,” laughs Kruger. “It’s the vibe and being out in nature that attracts me to this event. I am looking forward to running with a new friend, the views, and the limits. My goal is to have as much fun as possible in the mountains with Nicky. I look forward to learning new things about myself and seeing where we end up. I would be blown away if we are crowned champions after three days of racing, but we don’t expect it as the competition is always tough at AFRICANX.”

De Villiers is excited to make her AFRICANX TRAILRUN debut in 2023. “It’s the distances, the camaraderie, the team element, the vibe and the location that made me want to enter,” admits de Villiers. “I’m looking forward to pushing new limits, to running with my incredible teammate, Jani and making friends with people who also love crazy mountain runs. Although I have yet to run AFRICANX, I would definitely recommend it to other trail runners, even if it’s just for the training build-up fun that I’ve had with Jani.”



DATE: Friday 17 – Sunday 19 March 2023
VENUE: Houw Hoek Hotel (Western Cape)
EVENT FORMAT: 3-Day Stage Trail Run
ENTRY FORMAT: Teams of Two Runners (male / female / mixed)
DISTANCE: Stage 1: +- 24 km

Stage 2: +- 32 km

Stage 3: +- 18 km

ENTRY FEE OPTIONS: OPTION 1: Standard / R3600.00 per runner

OPTION 2: Standard plus dinner / R4200.00 per runner

OPTION 3: Standard plus dinner & tent / R4600.00 per runner


NEW TITLE SPONSOR: Stillwater Sports, the organisers of South Africa’s premier three-day stage trail run are excited to welcome PICKLE JUICE as the title sponsor of the PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN in 2023. Created for endurance athletes, PICKLE JUICE is formulated to stop muscle cramps and help athletes to stay hydrated, making it the perfect partner to have at a three-day stage trail run. CLICK HERE for more information or to purchase PICKLE JUICE.


‘SANET WENTZEL SPIRIT’ AWARD: Stillwater Sports is calling on all PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN entrants to submit their nominations for the event’s treasured ‘Sanet Wentzel Spirit’ Award. Introduced in the second year of the PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN (2010) in honour of Sanet Wentzel, an Oudtshoorn based athlete who passed away tragically at the end of 2009, the ‘Sanet Wentzel Spirit’ Award honours the AFRICANX’s most inspirational athletes, athletes who persevere irrespective of the adversity that they face. Nominations for the award can be sent to

For more information CLICK HERE


DRESS UP COMPETITION: The PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN will once again close off on a high note with entrants vying for the coveted title of ‘Best Dressed Team’ on Sunday during the third and final stage of the event. The competition is fierce, with trail runners pulling out all the stops to secure the coveted ‘Best Dressed Team’ title. To be in the running to be crowned the ‘Best Dressed Team’ and win an entry into the 2024 PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN both runners need to wear their outfits for the duration of the stage, from start to finish.

For more information CLICK HERE


Follow us on Facebook:  @runtheafricanx / @stillwatertrail

Follow us on Instagram:  @runtheAFRICANX / @stillwater_trail_running



For additional information on the PICKLE JUICE AFRICANX TRAILRUN 3-Day Stage Race please visit, contact Stillwater Sports on 082 991 0045 or email

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