Local trail runners AJ Calitz and Biogen-sponsored athlete Christiaan Greyling wrote their names into the record books with a gutsy ascent of Table Mountain’s fabled Platteklip Gorge.
The pair beat the previous record of 13 ascents in 24 hours by completing a gruelling 14 ascents in 20 hours, climbing a cumulative 19,376m in the process – effectively a 692m ascent and descent by foot on each attempt.
This incredible feat earned Greyling and Calitz a Guinness World Record for the greatest vertical distance on foot.
The previous record (18,086m) was held by 11 members of The Reek Challenge at Croagh Patrick in Murrisk, Ireland.
Race against time and vert
“We are absolutely delighted and overjoyed to have broken the world record for the most vertical ascent and descent, on a route that is well-known to us, Platteklip Gorge on Table Mountain, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature,” commented Greyling.
“It was one of the toughest days of my life with the added pressure of doing it in 20 hours because of curfew but my K-Way partner, AJ, was strong and motivated me to triumph in what was an achievement of two very dedicated teammates.” The pair set off at 4am to comply with lockdown regulations.
Greyling said fatigue had set in as it had been a “very hot day…but there was no way we could stop”.
“We are absolutely broken but so happy. This is nothing short of a miracle and a team effort,” said Calitz, who also holds the Guinness World record for The Most Vertical Height Gained in 12 hours (10,257m), set on the same mountain in 2014.
“We did this because both myself and AJ are ultra-runners and we like a challenge. We also wanted to raise awareness for Edunova, a Non-Profit Company focused on the effective use of technology in disadvantaged schools throughout South Africa,” Greyling said.
Photo Credit Dané van den Heever