K-Way athlete AJ Calitz is again the champion of the annual K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge after he summited Table Mountain’s Platteklip Gorge 11 times between sunrise and sunset on Saturday. For Calitz, a professional trail runner, this Challenge is more than just “a day at the office”. He is wholeheartedly behind the event’s fundraising initiatives for South African Education Project (SAEP).
“After the tumultuous weather that hit Cape Town on Friday, we were all a little concerned about heading off into the dark and gloomy Platteklip Gorge early on Saturday morning,” says Calitz.
Fortunately, the weather did clear and the 200 competitors were treated to a spectacular day on Table Mountain.
This event was started in 2009 as a means to raise funds for a school, or organisation linked to education, in dire need of financial support. The event asks participants to recruit friends, family and colleagues to support them by sponsoring an amount per lap. Knowing that supporters are counting every lap they complete is a motivator for exhausted participants to attempt just one more.
Calitz, who holds the record of 12 summits, won the event again with 11 completed summits.
“We had about 40 minutes less daylight than the year I did 12 summits,” he explains. “My average time this year made it my fastest yet, but I ran out of sunlight to get another lap in.”
Knowing the route and holding the course record doesn’t make the Challenge any easier for Calitz.
“You go through some very dark places during the event and to get motivation for each lap is very difficult,” he says.
The 5.5-kilometre course incorporates a steep ascent up the 800 double-size steps of Platteklip Gorge, a run to the upper cable station, a ride in the cable car to the bottom station and a run back to the start of Platteklip Gorge. SAEP students line the trail at the top of Platteklip to cheer for the runners and give them an additional boost to keep moving.
Tourists, taking advantage of the clear weather for a trip up the cable way, were puzzled by the runners making an ant-like trail up the Gorge.
“They were gobsmacked to hear what we were doing,” laughs Calitz. “But they got into the spirit once they heard the reason behind why we were doing lap after lap after lap.”
This year, participants achieved 672 collective summits and raised R888 000 through their efforts. That’s an appreciated increase from the R676 050 raised in 2015.
The annual K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge will be held again in April 2017. Entry is limited to 200 participants so enter early and keep an eye on the event website at www.charitychallenge.co.za.
The K-Way outdoor and technical clothing brand is a division of Cape Union Mart Group, one of the largest family-owned retail chains in South Africa. K-Way brand clothing is exclusively sold in Cape Union Mart stores nation-wide.
About South African Education Project (SAEP)
SAEP is a Cape Town-based non-profit organisation that provides education, life skills, and psycho-social support programmes for children, youth and education providers.