AJ Calitz retains LionHeart title on famous peak

AJ Calitz

AJ Calitz retains LionHeart title with
his win on Saturday.
Photo: Kolesky / Nikon / Red Bull Content Pool

Nearly 200 participants started Red Bull LionHeart – a gruelling trail running event on Cape Town’s Lion’s Head mountain – but it was AJ Calitz and Landi Greyling that proved they indeed had lionhearts.

A 3,7km time trial around the base of the mountain last Saturday morning whittled the field down to the top 32 men & 12 women. From there, a knockout format followed a simple but gruelling format – a 4,4km route from the base of Lion’s Head to the top, and back down again.

AJ Calitz won the tightly contested men’s final, finishing a mere 11 seconds ahead of Thabang Madiba in a time of 26:46 – shaving 30 seconds off his record from last year and defending his title.

A visibly exhausted but elated Calitz knew it would be a close finish; ”I know how fast Kane & Michael climb, but also know Thabang goes downhill at the speed of gravity. My strategy was to attack on the climbs, so I was comfortable with the lead I had on Michael at the top, but when I saw the gap on Thabang I was really worried it wasn’t enough. This is a fun race and unique in the way it brings trail running to the people. There are not many spectator-based races where ‘average Joe’s’ can get to see guys like Ryan Sandes in action.”

Landi Greyling’s final run of 32:07 sealed her place victory in the women’s final. When asked her thoughts on today’s race, Landi said “This is always a great run at the end of the year – a sort of trail run year-end function – and the vibe and weather was awesome today. My biggest challenge was to plan my strategy throughout the heats. I decided to go hard from the gun & it looked like it worked out. I feel very privileged & blessed to come out on top.”

Landi Greyling

Landi Greyling proved she has a lionheart with her victory
in the women’s final.
Photo: Kolesky / Nikon / Red Bull Content Pool

Men’s Results

  1. AJ Calitz
  2. 
Thabang Madiba
  3. Michael Bailey
  4. Ryan Sandes
  5. 
Kane Reilly
  6. 
Christiaan Greyling
  7. 
Nicholas Rupanga
  8. 
Morne Van Greunen

In order to be chosen as one of the 200, each participant had to motivate why they, themselves, are lionhearted.

Red Bull LionHeart was created last year by trail running extraordinaire Ryan Sandes in his ‘back yard’ to celebrate the rare opportunities Cape Town has to offer trail runners. Proudly partnered with SAN Parks and Salomon.

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