Marais, Duffy gear up for title defence at Fedhealth XTERRA Grabouw


Reigning XTERRA champions Stuart Marais (Stellenbosch) and Flora Duffy (Bermuda) will leave nothing to chance on Saturday, 20 February 2016 when they toe the line at the Grabouw Country Club to defend their cherished titles at the action packed Fedhealth XTERRA South African Championship.

“I absolutely love XTERRA Grabouw,” says Marais.  “The vibe is electric and the course offers so much for all athletes, swimmers, mountain bikers and trail runners alike.  The event is without a doubt a massive highlight for me.  I will definitely be going for the win.  The XTERRA SA events are incredibly well organised.  I love the XTERRA lifestyle and the type of people it attracts.  My advice to newcomers to the sport is to start slowly and pack enough water bottles for the relentless heat.”

According to Duffy, it’s the adventure and unpredictability of the sport that attracts her to XTERRA.  “Every XTERRA SA event is world class.  The venues are beautiful, the setup is spectacular, the course is well marked, and the vibe is great.  XTERRA Grabouw is my favourite XTERRA on the circuit, the course is incredible.  The mountain bike discipline offers everything - climbing, twisting single track, rock gardens and beautiful views. The run is also really cool.  At the highest point of the course, you can see the entire race village and the surrounding mountains. It’s quite breath taking.  My favourite part of the run is the final 1km.  The contrast between the water, beach sand and mountains is really cool.  My goal is to secure my third XTERRA Grabouw victory.”

The Fedhealth XTERRA Grabouw has attracted the attention of elite road triathlete, James Cunnama.  “XTERRA will be a new challenge for me,” admits Cunnama.  “I have been cross-training a bit on the mountain bike, which will without a doubt be the biggest challenge for me.  I absolutely loved taking part in the Wines2Whales last year.  My primary goal is to have fun, but I want to see what I am capable of and will give it my best shot.”

Top South African contenders to look out for will include:  Bradley Weiss - who is currently on a winning streak having claimed gold at both the Fedhealth XTERRA Buffelspoort and Fedhealth XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay as well as the
XTERRA Philippines, Theo Blignaut, Antoine Van Heerden, Carla Van Huyssteen and Susan Sloan.

Top international XTERRA Warriors that will be vying for the top spot on the podium will include:  Jan Pyott (Switzerland), Niels Brandt-Jørgensen (Norway), Aiden Dunster (New Zealand), Simone Calamai (Italy), Carina Wasle (a former XTERRA Grabouw champion from Austria), Daz Parker (UK) and Dominik Wychera (Austria).