Prepare, Plan, Push Yourself
Entries for the 2018 edition of the Bos Sport Mountain Challenge Series are open. We caught up with (not really, they are too fast!) AJ Calitz and Carla van Huyssteen for some valuable advice as you all prepare to #GoAboveAndBeyond.
Do you remember your first MCS?
AJ: As clear as daylight - signed my very first sponsor the day before and had some brand spanking new (road) shoes in which I ran the Helderberg Mountain Challenge. It was soaking wet and slippery that day! But, I did love it though....
Thankfully both AJ and MCS have come a long way since then, road shoes on a course like that is NOT to be recommended!
Carla: 2017 was my first year running the MCS, and Jonkershoek the first race. A magnificently beautiful day in the Valley. A technical trail, loads of elevation gain loads of elevation loss! I like the technical trail running, technical enough to be interesting but still runnable. And obviously the amazing scenery and tough challenge draws us to these races.
What made you come back for more?
AJ: You get trail running and then you get mountain running - the MCS is mountain running - which I love! The scenery is pristine and the people are amazing.
What is your top race of the three in the series?
AJ: I would have to with Marloth - just because it is the longest and most isolated of the three. The terrain is so beautiful and the route brutal, yet epic!
Carla: Sjo that is a very difficult question as they all differ. I had never run any of the races prior, and I had a totally different experience at each one. So I have to opt to not choose...
What makes the MCS unique?
AJ: The fact that it is pure mountain running - no easy road-like sections here my friends!
Mountain running is a growing trend across the globe. What do you think drives us to the mountains?
AJ: For me, escapism for sure - the quiet and magnificence of the mountains are unequalled by anything else - it is where I feel the closest to God.
Carla: I think we live very stressful lives, the world is getting smaller, our worries getting bigger, globilization and social media… nothing is private anymore. Out in the mountains life is remote and we can connect again to nature, far away from the internet and our phones.
Words of wisdom for a runner doing their first MCS?
AJ: Prepare, prepare, prepare - whether it be in training, mental preparation, packing or whatever else - the mountains are ruthless sometimes. Make sure you are ready to tackle and enjoy it whilst being safe and enjoying it out there. It is an immense privilege to run in the mountains, always remember that.
Carla: Train with a hydration pack with all your compulsory gear, so that when you do the race, the extra effort of the weight on your back does not throw you off.
We look forward to welcoming both AJ and Carla back for some or all of the 2018 edition.
Set your sights on completing this compilation of three classic big mountain challenges. The Bos Sport Mountain Challenge Series consists of three separate races; the Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge (19 May), the Helderberg Mountain Challenge (19 August) and the Marloth Mountain Challenge (7 October). Choose between the Lite Series, Extreme Series or the Ultra Series. Early bird entries apply until 26 February 2018.