Reilly and Claassen throw down the gauntlet during Stage One of the 2022 THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN

Seen here (from left to right): Daniel Claassen and Kane Reilly of Team Salomon in action.

Photo Credit: Chris Hitchcock


“Let Nature Give You A Run For Your Money”

Celebrating its 12th anniversary in 2022, Stage One of the iconic THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN proved to be the perfect icebreaker at SA’s Premier Three-Day Stage Race that started at the Houw Hoek Hotel today (Saturday 19 March) and finished at the picturesque Paul Cluver Wines.

Stage One saw teams of two trail running enthusiasts (male / female / mixed) having to complete a challenging, but fun +-24km route that boasted a total ascent of 800m.


Kane Reilly and Daniel Claassen of Team Salomon were fighting fit in the Men’s Team Category crossing the finish line first in an impressive time of 01 hour 47 minutes 46 seconds.

According to Reilly, Stage One was fast and fun. “We pushed it from the start together with Siviwe Nkombi and Retsepile Khotle (Team Here To Win). We were running fast and smooth. The last 15km was basically a race home. Daniel and I have been training together, so we know how we want to run. We just got stuck into our rhythm and  kept it. It feels great to be back at the THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN. I have lots of memories running on some of these trails. It’s great being in a team again. It’s a super fun experience.”

Claassen’s made his “team racing” debut on the day. “Luckily Kane and I train together so we’re aware of each other’s strong points,” admits Claassen. “We just tried to push the climbs, while keeping it steady on the flats and the downs. It’s nice to run with someone, usually we’re chasing each other. Now, for a change, we’re getting to run together and work together. It’s really cool and a positive experience. We’re looking forward to Day Two.”

Siviwe Nkombi and Retsepile Khotle (Team Here To Win) came in 2nd, while Lovemo Nyaude and Hakeem Smith (Team HTRCrew Goats) finished 3rd.


Kerry-Ann Marshall and AJ Calitz of Team K-Way New Balance were dominant in the Mixed Team Category claiming gold in 02 hours 01 minute 15 seconds.

“Today’s route was more like the traditional AFRICANX route, the one that I like,” says Calitz. “It was a bit more technical with a bit more climbing. The gameplan was just to stick with Kerry-Ann, she’s a machine. The goal was to run as fast and as hard as we could, and I think that we had a good day. We’re excited to take on Stage Two, but first we’re going to spend some time in the pool and fuel up. Today was a hard and fast day. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”

“We had good fun,” says Marshall. “AJ is super strong. Every time that we came to a slight incline, AJ was there for me. I could hold on to his pack and he just pulled me up. On the flats and the downs we just ran ‘lekker’ together.  It was a good run. There is such a good vibe at AFRICANX. Everyone cheers each other on, and the aid stations are fun. It makes it feel like home. After the years that we’ve had with Covid, this is just super special. We’re reuniting with everyone again.” 

Franza Landman and Liam Victor of Team Fran & Liam came in 2nd, while Greg Erlangsen and Melissa Laing of Team Pura finished 3rd.


A misunderstanding saw a select number of teams being diverted onto the incorrect route early on in the race. “We were immediately made aware of the incident and diverted the teams back onto the correct route,” says Dezroy Poole, THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN Race Director. “The incident mostly impacted the top three positions in the Women’s Team Category. We’ve discussed the matter with all parties involved and have come to an agreement that all teams are happy with. Stage One will see Robyn Gardener and Leonie Schoeman of Team Handle with Flair share the 1st place position with Lijan Van Niekerk and Marion Leiberich from Team The Border Collies. Landie Greyling and Danette Walley from Team Blazing Blondies are currently in 2nd place.”

“Today was absolutely perfect,” says Schoeman. “We had some ‘us time’. There was such camaraderie. It’s so different to road running which is so competitive. On the trails everyone is buddies, tuning each other and joking with each other. The  on route wine stop was amazing.”

“Today was absolutely beautiful,” says Gardener, who also celebrated her event debut on the day. “The stage was very well organised. The weather was awesome, and the scenery was incredible. It was such an experience.”


NEXT UP: 2022 THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN Three-Day Stage Race / Stage Two 

Launched in 2009, the THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN is synonymous with magnificent trails, spectacular views, mouth-watering food, a relaxed atmosphere, great vibe and most importantly, teamwork! Teams of two trail running enthusiasts (male/female/mixed) will be seen battling it out on a route varying in distances each day.

Date: Sunday 20 March 2022
Start Time: 07:30
Start Venue: Cape Canopy Tours
Finish Venue: Houw Hoek Hotel
Distance: +-32km
Total Ascent: 920m


For more information CLICK HERE to watch the Stage Two Route Briefing Video.


The 2022 Entry Fee included:

  • First Ascent AFRICANX Garment
  • Finisher Tshirt
  • Finisher Medal
  • THIRSTI Refreshment Zone
  • Well stocked water points and spectacular route Experiences
  • Evening Prize Giving and Entertainment


‘Sanet Wentzel Spirit Award’: The event organisers are calling on all entrants to send through their nominations for the event’s cherished ‘Sanet Wentzel Spirit Award’. Founded in 2010 in memory of fallen athlete Sanet Wentzel, the award honours AFRICANX entrants who persevere irrespective of the adversity that they face.  Trail runners that have entered the 2022 THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN Three-Day Stage Race are encouraged to send their nominations to by Friday 18 March.


Dress up Day: One of the many highlights of the THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN 3-Day Stage Race is “Dress Up Day” which will be celebrated on the third and final stage, on Monday 21 March. The rule is very simple, both runners need to wear their outfits for the duration of the stage, from start to finish. There are awesome sponsor prizes up for grabs as well as bragging rights for a year.


Entertainment: South Africa’s favourite Reggae band, The Rivertones, will bring great vibes to South Africa’s premier Three Day Stage Trail Run. Trail runners can look forward to jamming to a range of commercial covers set to a reggae beat, great Bob Marley, UB40 covers and a smattering of our own originals. Other fun activities will include a Marimba Band performance, Wine Tastings, a Pasta Party, Bingo and Popcorn, Fire Drums and S’mores, a Slippery Slide, Bavaria Beer Mile, Pool Party, Dress Up Day, Bavaria Beer Garden, a Gordon’s Gin Bar and a Putt Putt Competition.


Follow us on Facebook:  @ThirstiWater / @runtheafricanx / @stillwatertrail

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



For additional information on the THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN 3-Day, 2-Day and/or 1-Day events please visit, contact Stillwater Sports on 082 991 0045 or email


More about THIRSTI:

THIRSTI is a uniquely sourced natural spring water that is rich in minerals and sourced from two extraordinary locations. Its primary bottling plant was founded in 2015 at a Normandien farm in the foothills of the Klein Drakensberg mountains. In 2021, THIRSTI expanded operations into the mountain basin of Tulbagh, surrounded by exquisite mountains and drained by the Klein Berg River and its tributaries. Each source has its own state-of-the-art bottling plant where the water is filtered, tested and bottled, ready to be enjoyed by consumers. The THIRSTI product range includes Natural Spring Water, Sparkling Water, Sparkling Flavoured Water and an iconic sports drink, THIRSTI ISOFIT+. The South African brand proudly partners with the Springboks, Absa Cape Epic, Comrades Marathon, Blue Bulls Company, Sharks Rugby, THIRSTI AFRICANX TRAILRUN series of events and the Nedbank Running Club. 

For more information about THIRSTI, please visit


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