Plaat­jies and A­pril first te­am in Tra­ver­se

Oudtshoorn Courant - - SPORT -

The 2018 R­ho­des Dry­land Tra­ver­se drew to a c­lo­se at De Hoek ne­ar the Can­go Ca­ves on Sun­day. The e­vent broug­ht 370 ad­ven­tu­re-see­kers to the K­lein-Ka­roo for four e­pic sta­ges of trail run­ning. The so­lo ma­le ca­te­go­ry was won by 22-y­e­ar-old Ro­bert Ro­rich in a ti­me of 5:34:05.

“I lo­ve the pe­op­le that co­me to­get­her for this e­vent. Dry­land al­so ma­kes e­ver­y­thing so e­a­sy, all I ha­ve to do is bring my bag and ha­ve fun, e­ver­y­thing el­se is sor­ted. The food, ra­ce vil­la­ge and vi­be in the tent e­very nig­ht is in­cre­di­ble. It’s a sur­re­al ex­pe­rien­ce to ex­plo­re the­se moun­tains fo­ra few days wit h 400 pe­op­le who en­joy that kind of thing as much as you,” said Ro­rich. O­ver four days run­ners we­re ex­po­sed to u­ni­que fe­a­tu­res of K­leinKa­roo lands­ca­pe li­ke the UNESCO Wor­ld He­ri­ta­ge si­te of the Swart­berg Moun­tains, Can­go Ca­ves and Rau­ben­hei­mer Dam.

Two lo­cal athle­tes, E­tien­ne Plaat­jies and John A­pril, won the ma­le te­ams ca­te­go­ry. They we­re part of se­ven lo­cal run­ners spon­so­red by R­ho­des Food Group, the main spon­sors of the e­vent. Plaat­jies ba­lan­ces his trail run­ning dre­ams with a job as a se­cu­ri­ty guard, and squee­zes in trai­ning ses­si­ons at ex­tre­me hours in be­t­ween long shifts. As no stran­ger to the s­port, Plaat­jies was the first co­lou­red ma­le to be­co­me the 800m South A­fri­can C­ham­pi­on in 2010.

“It’s an in­cre­di­ble ex­pe­rien­ce to be wel­co­med by this trail run­ning com­mu­ni­ty who en­coura­ges and e­na­bles you to pur­sue your dre­ams. It ma­kes me want to re­ach for mo­re in this s­port and gi­ves me a plat­form to en­coura­ge the young­sters look­ing up to me. John is fee­ling so mo­ti­va­ted - he e­ven told me he wants to en­ter the Com­ra­des next y­e­ar!” said Plaat­jies.

Ta­king the tit­le in the so­lo fe­ma­le’s ca­te­go­ry was Jo Ma­cKen­zie, who com­ple­te­ly do­mi­na­ted her class in a ti­me of 7:39:36.

E­tien­ne Plaat­jies and John A­pril, win­ners of the men’s te­am e­vent.

P­ho­tos: Car­li S­mith.

E­tien­ne Plaat­jies on the trail du­ring sta­ge 3.

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