Seasoned trailer runner AJ Calitz became the first ever winner of Red Bull LionHeart after an intensive two-day event on Lion’s Head.
The event, the brainchild of Ultra trail runner and super-athlete Ryan Sandes, is the first of its kind in the world, let alone on the mountain. Thirty-two men and eight women ran the grueling and dynamic 4.4km course from bottom to top and back down in a round-for-round knockout format for the final stage on Saturday.
As winner AJ, along with Michael Bailey, Ryan Sandes and Bernard Rakudza, completed the course four times in some challenging rainy and windy conditions.
As winner AJ, along with Michael Bailey, Ryan Sandes and Bernard Rakudza, completed the course four times in some challenging rainy and windy conditions
Power-runner AJ looked comfortable on his favourite training ground: “The toughest part for me was going up the first section – I’m a mountain runner and that section was way out of my comfort zone. I’m quite familiar with the course but the heat format, which is very different from other trail races, made it more exciting not only for us out there on the mountain but for spectators too.”
Ryan Sandes completed the race in third and was incredibly happy with how the event turned out. “I’m stoked! Personally, today was challenging because I didn’t quite have the gas in my legs on the uphills so I had to make up some time on the way down. The day panned out exactly how I envisioned it. Well done to AJ for a great run - he stood out from the beginning. Huge thanks to SAN parks for making it possible,” he commented.
Carla van Huyssteen won the women’s Red Bull LionHeart in spectacular fashion finishing a couple of minutes ahead of Katia Soggart and Landie Greyling.