AJ Calitz at Verdon Canyon Challenge

AJ Calitz at Zegama-Aizkorri

AJ Calitz at Zegama-Aizkorri

This weekend, K-Way athlete Andre Calitz will have no time to savour the cheeses and wines of France’s Provence region as he runs the 100-kilometre Verdon Canyon Challenge.

Calitz is expecting to be out in the mountains for at least 12 to 13 hours. “There’s 6,500-metres of positive ascent!” he says.

Race organisation positions five aid stations on the route, to provide runners with food and drinks.

“But being in the mountains these are weather dependant. We’ve already been told that one has been cancelled,” Calitz says. The weather forecast for the area is a mild 23 degrees, although the conditions can be very different and variable in the mountains.

He’s expecting the terrain to be a good mix of runnable trails with very steep and rough climbs. The event website shows a lung-bursting and thigh-burning route profile – totally suited to Calitz’s climbing strength.

“The race starts and ends with a nice big climb,” he says with a big smile.

Three weeks ago Calitz took a tumble while running in the Zegama-Aizkorri 42-kilometre race in Spain. His knee was sliced open when he fell and the race doctor prevented him from continuing. She stapled the wound closed.

“My knee is ok,” says Calitz. “It is still pretty painful at times but should be alright. The staples are out. My wife and I removed them with nail clippers and a Leatherman…”

During his travels through France Calitz has kept up his training “much as my knee would allow”, finding “some epic trails around the South of France”.

He’s not sure who the other runners are or what type of competition he’ll have at this race.

“Some fast guys have run in the past, but I have no idea who I am up against. In a race like this I am running against myself. 100 kilometres with this much ascent is going to be very hard.”

The race starts at 03h00 on Saturday, 15 June 2013.


Event: Verdon Canyon Challenge

Distance: 100 kilometres

Date: Saturday, 15 June 2013

Time: 03h00 start. 35-hour limit. (the time in France and SA is the same)

Location: Aiguines, France (South, Provence region)

Website: www.trailverdon.com (French and English options)