Defying gravity and fatigue at Platteklip Charity Challenge

This Saturday, Table Mountain’s Platteklip Gorge will see trains of runners attempting multiple ascents of the 800 double-size steps at the annual K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge.

The participants have around 11 hours, from sunrise to sunset, to get in as many laps as possible; a thigh-busting challenge that has been dominated in recent years by K-Way athlete AJ Calitz.

AJ Calitz Platteklip Challenge Gorge 2014

AJ Calitz on yet another ascent. In 2014 he achieved 14.5 ascents of Platteklip Gorge in 12 hours.

 

Calitz first took on the Challenge in 2012. He won and set a new course record, which he bettered in 2013. His record of 12 ascents still stands. At 9,120 metres of climb, this is almost 300 metres higher than Mount Everest from sea level to summit!

Last year Calitz used the event as a platform to attempt a World Record for the ‘greatest vertical height climbing stairs in 12 hours’. He made 14.5 ascents of Platteklip Gorge for an accumulative ascent of 10,257 metres. Calitz averaged an unbelievable 35 minutes per ascent. To put this into perspective, Platteklip takes most runners and hikers one to two hours to ascend – once.

This year Calitz returns as a regular competitor. He doesn’t have a specific competitive goal other than to “have fun and see how many times I can climb the beast”.

AJ Calitz setting his record 12 laps in 2013. photo Trevor Wilkins

AJ Calitz setting his record 12 ascents in 2013. photo Trevor Wilkins

“I keep coming back to run Platteklip Charity Challenge because this is a race with the coolest vibes and nicest people. And when you tell the tourists at the cableway how many times you’ve ascended, the look on their faces is priceless!”

K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge encourages individual, team and corporate challenge participants to attempt multiple ascents of Table Mountain’s popular Platteklip Gorge hiking trail. The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway carries participants safely down the mountain, giving them the opportunity to rest their legs on the scenic ride before their next climb up the Gorge.

Participants attempt to complete as many 5.5-kilometre loops as possible between sunrise and sunset. It is a very steep and challenging 2.1-kilometre climb up 800 double-size steps that ascends 760 metres from bottom to top.

Calitz advises first-time runners to take it slow.

“It will be a long day on your legs so eat, drink and rest well throughout the day. It is a privilege to climb such a beautiful mountain – and ride the cable car for free!”

K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge is supporting South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) and their goal is to raise R800,000.  The event raises funds through donations, which are linked to runner profiles from the ‘Sponsor’ tab on the event website.
The K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge starts at 07h00 on Saturday, 25 April 2015. Although participant entries have already closed, get involved by cheering for the Challenge participants as they race along Tafelberg Road and sponsor runners through the event website charitychallenge.co.za.

THE LOWDOWN

·         Event: K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge

·         Date: Saturday, 25 April 2015

·         Start: 07h00 at the lower cable station

·         Finish: 18h00 (11-hours)

·         Number of entrants: limited to 200 entrants

·         Entry categories: solo or teams of 2 or 3 people; new corporate challenge for five-person teams (every lap counts, not a relay)

·         Minimum summits: 4 (solo) or 2 summits per runner for teams

·         Record: 12 summits, set by Andre ‘AJ’ Calitz in 2013

·         Route: From the lower cable station, along Tafelberg road, up Platteklip Gorge, and across the table to the upper cable station. Runners get a free lift down in the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. They then run to the bottom of Platteklip to begin another ascent. The distance is 5.5km with 760m of climbing for each lap. This loop takes most runners 90-minutes to two hours on average.

·         Website: charitychallenge.co.za

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