There is light at the end of the tun­nel in new trail race

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - STEPHEN GRANGER

A NEW trail run­ning event with a dif­fer­ence this morn­ing will leave run­ners in the dark, al­though by hav­ing en­tered they will bring light at the end of the tun­nel!

Many of the prov­ince’s top trail ath­letes and a ca­pac­ity field have en­tered to­day’s imag­i­na­tive Al­pha Zero Tun­nel Run over 20km, in search of both rich pick­ings and the ad­ven­ture of a new trail route with a dif­fer­ence.

A prize of R10 000 is on of­fer in each of four cat­e­gories – men and women, se­niors and vet­er­ans – for the first to the fin­ish line af­ter 12km of day­light farm tracks and ap­prox­i­mately 8km of run­ning through the un­lit Huguenot Ser­vice Tun­nel in a “day- night” com­pe­ti­tion. Run­ners will need the sup­port of their own head­lamps.

The run started at 7.30am from the toll plaza in Paarl with run­ners tra- vers­ing neigh­bour­ing farms be­fore en­ter­ing the tun­nel af­ter 6km. Ex­it­ing af­ter 4km, run­ners will cross the bridge over the Mole­naar’s River be­fore re- en­ter­ing the tun­nel and re­trac­ing their steps back to the toll plaza.

The race fee lends sup­port to the Ra­di­ance Foundation, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion as­sist­ing in­di­vid­u­als in the Western Cape with vis­ual im­pair­ment. Ap­pro­pri­ately, run­ners will “re­gain” their sight once ex­it­ing the tun­nel 6km from home.

Re­cently back from rac­ing for South Africa in an in­ter­na­tional trail race in France, AJ Calitz started as favourite with Zim­bab­wean- born Tsun­gai Mwa­nen­geni and Bernard Rukudza his big­gest threats to the ti­tle.

In the women’s race it could turn out to be the speed of Me­gan Macken­zie up against the strength and men­tal for­ti­tude of Chantel Nien­aber in what could be a close con­test.

ME­GAN MACKEN­ZIE: Speed queen

AJ CALITZ: Race favourite

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