Ngubane, van Deventer set the pace during Stage One of the THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun

Seen here:  The leading men’s teams in action during Stage One of the THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun.

Photo Credit:  Tobias Ginsberg

“Let Nature Give You A Run For Your Money”

With a strong contingent of road runners lining up for the 11th edition of the THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun that started at Paul Cluver Wine Estate and finished at the Houw Hoek Hotel today, Friday 26 March 2021, it came as no surprise that the pace was going to be faster than usual.

Team Nedbank 1’s Eric Ngubane and Juan van Deventer threw down the gauntlet in the Men’s Team Category during Stage 1 of the THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun claiming gold in a lightning-fast time of 01 hour 32 minutes 10 seconds.

According to Ngubane, the race was fantastic.  “The route was very well marked.  We were pacing ourselves and didn’t push too hard.  After 13km I told Juan that we should just hold this pace, these guys won’t be able to hang on and that’s exactly what happened.  We’re looking forward to Stage Two,” says Ngubane.

“This is the fist time that I am on the trails,” says Van Deventer.  “I’m enjoying it as it’s something different.  The routes were a little technical for me.  I’m not used to this kind of terrain, but Eric has so much experience on the trails.  I just feed off of him and he helps by giving me the guidance that we need to get through the routes.  We definitely want to get the win after the three days.  Maybe we can even get all three stage wins.”

Lloyd Bosman and Ettienne Plaaitjies (Nedbank 4) came in second, while Retsepile Khotle and Siviwe Nkombi (Big Box Team) finished third.

Vicky van der Merwe and Danette Walley of Team STS gave the Women’s Teams a run for their money securing the Stage 1 victory in an impressive time of 02 hours 02 minutes 10 seconds.

“The stage was very nice,” says van der Merwe.  “The route was scenic, while the weather was great.  Danette and I are such good friends that we spoke the entire way.  AFRICANX is professionally run, while the gees is amazing.  It’s really nice that we can just enjoy the event.”

“Being at AFRICANX has brought back so many good memories,” says Walley.  “After a year of not racing and now being back at this event, it just makes it amazing.  We appreciate being able to race again.  The stage was beautiful, and I loved the single tracks.  I am actually a road runner, but the single tracks were open so you could go really fast.  It was so nice to run with Vicky.  We did some catching up on the route.  We ran a controlled race and are ready for tomorrow.

Deanne Laubscher and Chrizell Roberts (Nedbank Women) came in second, while Jeannie Henderson and Kate Rees (Old Mountain Goats) finished third. 

Husband and wife duo Natalie and Nico Sterk of AFRICANX Sterkspan celebrated their THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun debut by claiming the Stage 1 victory in the Mixed Team Category in a deserving time of 01 hour 51 minutes 17 seconds.

According to Nico, Stillwater Sports and THIRSTI did a great job in putting together a well-balanced route.  “It was perfect for a trail runner, but also great for a road runner that is coming into trail running.  It was technical, but not too technical.  We were comfortable with the pace, but at the end we tapped off a bit.  I must admit that my legs are tired.”

“Today was great.  The route was a little technical, but perfect for a novice,” confirms Natalie.  “You can get some nice speed and the trails are beautiful.  It was fantastic.  The team aspect of AFRICANX is great.  If you are feeling tired, your partner pulls you through.  The THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun is definitely a GO for us, every year.” 

Also running in the Mixed Team Category, Comrades Marathon Champion (2016) Charne Bosman could not stop raving about the trails.  “I was told not to run too hard during the first stage, so we held back a bit, and ran within ourselves” says Bosman.  “Tomorrow is actually the big day, so I just wanted to get through today.  The route, the vibe, the people – THIRSTI AFIRCANX is just something different.  To all the farmers and landowners thank you for allowing us to go through your land, it was really amazing.”

Charne Bosman and Kallie Burger (40 Strong) came in second, while Samantha Bieske and Ryan Eichstadt (The Badgers) finished third.

Starting at the Paul Cluver Wine Estate, Stage One of the THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun highlighted sections of the stunning Estate trails before heading back towards Houw Hoek, traversing a number of private farms including spectacular sections of land managed and maintained by Cape Nature.  Entrants had to complete a distance of +- 24km with a total climb of 650m. 


2021 Event Information:  THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun 

Teams of two trail running enthusiasts (male/female/mixed) will be seen battling it out on a route varying in distances each day.  Each stage will feature a different route that is guaranteed to keep things exciting while leaving runners in awe.

Format: Three-day stage race / teams of two (male/female/mixed)
Festival Village:  On the grounds of the Houw Hoek Hotel (Bot River, Overberg Region / Western Cape)
Start Time: From 07:00 in batches, 15 minutes apart
Stage 2: Saturday 27 March 2021
Distance: +- 31km / total climb 850m
Start Venue: Wildekrans Wine Estate
Finish Venue: Houw Hoek Hotel
Stage 3: Sunday 28 March 2021
Distance: +- 20km / total climb 450m
Start Venue: Houw Hoek Farm Stall
Finish Venue: Houw Hoek Hotel


Iconic to the THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun, ALL entrants will receive an event hoodie and an exclusive finisher’s t-shirt, amongst other exciting sponsor gifts!


CHARITY SUPPORTThe THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun proudly supports The Timothy James Harlow Foundation (TJHF), a non-profit organisation that searches for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.  Runners can support the TJHF by making a donation when entering the event online.  This year entrants had the opportunity to get more involved by suggesting a candidate and/or cause that they’d like the TJHF to support.  Suggestions can still be sent to


APPAREL PARTNERThe THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun has welcomed FIRST ASCENT, SA’s leading specialist outdoor gear and apparel manufacturer, as the apparel partner of the THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun.  Entrants can rest assured knowing that no matter what their trail running needs may be, First Ascent will have them covered over the weekend.


PLEASE NOTE:  The event organisers are at all times adhering to Government Regulations regarding COVID-19.


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Follow us on Instagram:  @thirstiwater / @firstascentsa @runtheAFRICANX / @stillwater_trail_running

Follow us on Twitter:  @runtheAFRICANX / @StillwaterTrail



For additional information on the THIRSTI AFRICANX Trailrun please visit, contact Stillwater Sports on 082 991 0045 or email


Who is THIRSTI? 

THIRSTI is more than just Natural Spring Water; THIRSTI is a way of life. THIRSTI attracts a young, vibrant market with a thirst for life and authentic experiences. 

THIRSTI started production at the end of 2015 with their iconic Still and Sparkling ranges. 2019 saw the release of the ultimate sports drink, ISOFIT+, and a bold THIRSTI Flavours range was added in 2020. 

With its unique taste, attractive design, and a pH level of 8, THIRSTI has made massive strides in its relatively short time in the market with listings in all major retailers throughout South Africa. 

THIRSTI has a strong focus on event sponsorships across multiple sporting codes and, in 2019, they became the hydration partner to both the Comrades Marathon as well as The Sharks rugby team. Adding to this, was the 2021 announcement of the ASBA Cape Epic official water partnership. 

For more information about THIRSTI, please visit

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