AJ Calitz is crowned King of the Mountain.

Achieving ‘First To The Top’ and 6 successful laps while suffering from tick bite fever during the 2019 Platteklip Charity Challenge

Author: AJ Calitz | 8 April 2019
Image by Jeff Ayliffe

It’s been a while since I felt terrible from the get go but the Platteklip Charity Challenge was one of those days.

I was diagnosed with tick bite fever about 2 weeks ago after feeling very weak and lethargic for a further 2 weeks before. When you are training really hard, it’s quite normal to feel generally tired most of the time - but this was different. I was deathly tired and didn’t feel like training at all; couple this with hardly sleeping, terrible night sweats and nightmares (when I eventually did sleep), I was not in a good space.

Finally sanity prevailed and I went to the Doctor who informed me that I either had Tuberculosis or tick bite fever and the fact that I didn’t cough, confirmed that I had tick bite fever. The result thereof was that I was prescribed very strong antibiotics and withdrew from SA Trail Champs. Considering the amount of training that I had done for it, a very bitter pill to swallow.

Be that as it may, next on the radar was the PCC - for which I had two goals:

1. FTTT - first to the top

2. At least 4 laps

The start was fast, but I realised from the get go that all was not in order as the pace was not equating to the high heart rate I was seeing. I arrived at the bottom of Platteklip second and proceeded to catch up to the leader and stuck behind him. Where usually I can relax and breathe deeply, I was struggling and panting up the climb. I waited a long time to see if I would improve but unfortunately I did not and realised that I was going to have to make a move irrespective of how I felt.

I made my move and attacked hard and fast. Luckily I created a gap pretty quickly and could relax slightly on the final section to the top - hiding my weakness well on the photo taken at the top.

I decided to see how many laps I can complete and took it as it came - and come it did. I felt miserable and the searing heat was not helping. On Lap 4 I though; this is my last one, then on lap 5; ok this is my last one; then finally after lap 6, I called my coach and asked him what I should do. He confirmed that 6 laps and just under 5000m of ascent is enough for the day.

All in all, a satisfying day out, winning the King of the Mountain. But I don’t like it when other runners do more ascents than I do, so I’m a little bit bummed but for now I’m focusing on getting well and training for the longer races coming up during the rest of the season.