Tumi Matlou – African X

We came, we fought and we conquered!
When fellow trail runners describe a race as “heaven on earth” and feedbacks like, “This is by far the most difficult stage race to exist “then you can’t help but try it out. African X was by far the most emotional race I’ve experienced and for my partner Ruan Van der Merwe, a walk in the park as he’s used to racing 500km. We were seen as one of the teams to podium so we had a lot to prove and a lot of work ahead of us. This didn’t come easy as we had AJ Calitz and Nicolette Griffioen in our category! Day 1 was a 37km run with a 1200mclimb. It started good for us, very good. We were running with the leading Elite ladies, Landie Greyling and Megan Mckensie up until the 14km mark. We were running well until we hit the 25km mark and my body hit a complete stand still wall. It took a lot of effort and mental strength for me to continue but my race partner, Ruan Van der Merwe, ran for the both of us and pulling me up those mountains on a scorching 38 degrees midafternoon. He was my hero! We finished 4th overall mix but 3rd in our category. Day 2 presented itself with a more cooling temperature than day 1 and it was welcomed. 30km to go and 1000m climb. The first 7km was all sand and created some issues but we pulled through. The sudden climb started and it was hard work from there on. We were lying 3rd before a team passed us on the vertical climb but we managed to fight back on the decent and the rest of the route was pretty much straight or a few steep section but that’s where our strength lied. Day 2 as a good day. We finished strong and we kept our 3rd spot. Day3 was yet another scorching day! 35 degrees and it felt like it was getting hotter by the hour. We were in the Elite starting lineup which started an hour after everyone else. This of course was more intense than the previous day as everyone was fighting to improve their position. The race started with a fast 8km loop that felt like a cross country race. We ran a fast 8km for trail and we were scared that we might have over done it but for some reason we kept on going stronger. The 4th team behind us was chasing us hard and they wanted our 3rd spot and we fought hard on those mountains. The temperature added an extra obstacle but this was the last leg that meant do or die. The 2km mark came and we were still 3rd. downhill from there on and it looked good. We did it! A few falls towards the end and fractured toes but we did it! We were 3rd overall mix!This was by far one of the best experiences as a runner. We were a good team and we knew when to push and when not to. Ruan Van der Merwe deserves a Man of the match. He was patient, funny, and sometimes abit crazy but the best partner I could ever ask for! Thank you to the Sponsor for giving us this opportunity to represent the brand! 2018 here we come! This time, one podium place up. We came, We fought and We conquered!Thank You! Ruan & Tumi

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