30 Jan, 2014

Andre Conquers His ‘Everest’

Andre Conquers His ‘Everest’

K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge, Table Mountain, Cape Town

Heavy cloud cover and cool conditions set the stage for Andre Calitz’s record attempt as he took on the famous Platteklip Gorge, aiming to climb it 12 times in one day, more than the vertical height of the world’s highest mountain, Everest! He cracked the first summit in just 35 minutes and 36 seconds – it takes most runners around 90 minutes – and with seven laps completed within six-and-a-half hours, he still had more than five hours to fit in the five remaining summits to achieve his goal, which he triumphantly achieved within the 12-hour cut-off.


“Just the idea of having to climb up so many times is enough to make you tired from the start, but you just put one leg in front of the other and keep slogging. Luckily the climbs get sort of blurry after a while!” says Andre. “The last lap was not the hardest one. Lap six was hard, as I was only halfway, and Lap 11 was tough as I did not eat enough before the lap, so I bonked a bit.”



There’s no specific schedule for the cable car, so timing is more luck than planning, and for a runner aiming to set records, chunks of time can be lost waiting for the next trip down. “I had no specific plan with regards to the cable cars and I actually timed most of them quite badly this year,” says Andre. “Also, last year I got very cold coming down the mountain, so this year I had a K-Way jacket in each car.”


A second-time entrant, race day offered many highlights for Andre. “Seeing my wife there with my dog Monty, running a lap with him, and having family, friends and sponsors there to support me was incredible. It’s so great seeing the blue and orange race tees when you climb and cheer each other on. There is a real camaraderie in this race, which is very special.” Another great element of the event is the fundraising done by the runners, with this year’s event bringing in R450 000 for the event beneficiary, Sinenjongo High School.