MEET AJ CALITZ
DARLING BREW AMBASSADOR & TRAIL RUNNER
So, you've met quite a few members of the #DBcrew, the team that keeps this brewery brewing everyday! BUT did you know we also have a #DBsquad?
We are proud to introduce AJ Calitz, the newest member of the Darling Brew Brand Ambassador squad, who will be representing Darling Brew as our record-breaking, podium-regular, trail running SUPERstar (and in-house legal eagle). Quite the combo!
"I do not run to win races, I live to conquer mountains." - AJ Calitz
AJ studied Bcom LLB LLM at the University of Stellenbosch and worked for massive corporate law firms for ten years before opening his own practice in 2019. He's also been running since he was 8 years old.
"I started out as the slow, overweight kid in my neighbourhood, but that changed soon enough," AJ remembers. "I did triathlons and cycling, but I never liked the spandex, so I opted for trail running. In fact, growing up at the foot of Botmaskop in Stellenbosch, we just used to run up and down the mountain for fun even before the sport of trail running officially existed."
Now, he is part of the Cape Town – South African duo along with Christiaan Greyling that have broken the Guinness World Record for the greatest vertical distance on foot, on Table Mountain’s Platteklip Gorge. The pair beat the previous record of 13 ascents in 24 hours by completing a gruelling 14 ascents in 20 hours, with 19 376m climbed.
AJ has collaborated and been sponsored by renowned brands. Since his initial connection with Darling Brew, he is always available to give sound advice regarding what participants look for in a good event. According to Darling Brew Event Manager Stephen Duckitt, collaborating with AJ was a very easy choice for the DB team to make.
"AJ is the typical cool, calm and collected guy that takes things in his stride with a humble approach. Since his first interaction with us, his enthusiasm and love for trail running and endurance sports was evident. He religiously attended our trail runs (and won most!), so it was clear AJ enjoyed what Darling Brew Adventures had to offer," Stephen enthuses.
"The bonus was receiving positive feedback from a professional trail runner. Naturally, it made sense to want to collaborate with someone who has an in-depth knowledge of the game and was so complimentary of our events."
Stephen also believes that it is essential that members of the #DBsquad shares the DB ethos, which is equally rooted in sustainability and ethical conduct.
"It strengthens our value as a brand to have a representative that can communicate this message through their actions, and I believe AJ is the perfect candidate. By collaborating with people of this calibre, we drive our vision forward cohesively, exploring new opportunities to grow and strengthen the Darling Brew brand," he explains.
When AJ is not taking care of legal matters or tearing up the trails, he likes to head outdoors, nurture his spiritual side and spend time with his family.
"Spending time alone in the mountains makes me feel very small, and allows me to spend time with my maker. The world's problems seem very small out there. I believe that we are placed on this earth to spread the good news of Jesus, but also to enjoy life and the beautiful planet we call home - and to look after it.
"I love surfing, hydro-foil surfing, and diving. Teaching my kids about active living is one of my passions. I also enjoy reading fiction novels and losing myself in a good book or a movie."
As for his favourite DB brew, AJ is a staunch supporter of the Bone Crusher.
"I love the name and in my mind, if you are going to have a beer, make it a proper one!"