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The Old Mutual South African Trail Running team includes the Who’s Who of South Africa’s ultra-trail athletes, including Eric Ngubane (winner, 2014 Ultra-Trail Cape Town), AJ Calitz (2015 SA Ultra-Trail champion), Jock Green (2nd at 2015 Ultra-Trail Cape Town and the only athlete to represent South Africa in both cycling and trail running), Ian Don-Wauchope (winner, 2015 Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica), Andrew Hagen, Landie Greyling (winner, Buffalo Stampede, Australia), Nicolette Griffioen (2015 SA Ultra-Trail champion), Nicky Booyens, Sue Don-Wauchope and Tracy Zunckel.
The Grand Trail des Templiers, France’s oldest ultra-trail race, will have South Africa battling it out against teams from France, USA, Asia and Europe over 75km and an elevation gain of more than 3000m. It forms part of the Festival des Templiers, considered to be the biggest trail running festival in France with 14 races over three days and more than 8000 runners taking part.
Altus Schreuder, Chairperson: ASA Trail & Mountain Running Committee, says: "The participation of the Old Mutual South African Trail Running team in the 2015 Festival des Templiers in France is a major moment for trail running in South Africa. Not only does it offer our top trail runners a wonderful opportunity to run for their country, but the partnership with Old Mutual brings professional support of the highest level and an excellent opportunity to take the sport to new heights. We look forward to testing ourselves against other trail running nations and are committed to showing the world that South Africa is a force to be reckoned with."
Chief Marketing Officer for Old Mutual Emerging Markets, Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe comments: “We are thrilled to support this premium international race as endurance sports is a key pillar of our sponsorship portfolio. At Old Mutual we understand the commitment and resolve that go into long-term planning, and we view this sponsorship as a great platform to demonstrate our belief that good planning always yields great results.
“This race complements the financial backing we already provide to some of the most renowned marathons on the African continent, like the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Comrades Marathon, as well as other endurance events such as the Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race, and the new addition, Old Mutual Wild Series, consisting of five trail running and mountain biking events.”
The team will be managed by former Comrades Marathon winner Nick Bester, who these days actively manages some of South Africa’s best ultra-athletes and whose knowledge of the team’s requirements is invaluable. He says, “I am very excited to be part of the management of the Old Mutual South African Trail Running team that will be competing against other nations like the USA, France and Japan in the murderous Grand Trail des Templiers trail race.
“South African Trail Running has chosen the best team possible to take on the world on the 25th and I will use my ultra-distance knowledge and experience to ensure the team will perform at its best.”
Follow the conversation on Twitter @OldMutualSA or #festivaldestempliers