Can Johannes Continue SPAR Grand Prix Domination?

The 2019 SPAR Grand Prix Women’s 10km Challenge series has reached its midway point, with Namibia’s Helalia Johannes firmly in the lead after three wins in the first three races. Now, can she make it four from four in the Pretoria leg on 3 August, or will her change of focus open the door to her rivals?

On the 23rd of June 2019, Helalia Johannes (Nedbank Namibia) exceeded expectations when she won the Durban leg of the 2019 SPAR Women’s Challenge series in 30 minutes and 59 seconds, the fastest time ever run by a woman on South African soil. That shattered the course record of 31:18, set by Colleen de Reuck in 2000, and also gave Johannes yet another new Namibian national record, in a year that has seen her post five new national marks across various distances. It also gave her three wins out of three in the SPAR series, after earlier wins in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

Tadu Naru (Nedbank Ethiopia) was second in 32:36 and three times SPAR Grand Prix winner, Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank Central Gauteng) was third, in 32:57. The top three all received 10 Grand Prix bonus points for finishing faster than last year’s winning time of 33:07.

Johannes now has 90 points, Naru has 86, and Van Zyl, for whom this year’s Durban leg was her first podium finish this year, has 78. They have opened up a big gap between themselves and the chasing pack, with 2017 Grand Prix winner Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts Free State), who finished seventh in Durban, currently in fourth place on the log with 67 points.

After the Durban race, Van Zyl made it clear that her priority had been earning bonus points. “I knew I couldn’t keep up with Helalia, but I was running for bonus points,” she said. “As long as you earn bonus points, you can keep in touch with the top runners. If one of them doesn’t run all six races, you are right up there with them.”

Grand Prix coordinator Ian Laxton agrees that bonus points could decide the outcome of the Grand Prix title. “Anyone who doesn’t run all six races will battle to win. The top three are so close that if one drops out, another is lying in wait for her,” he said.

Johannes, who is the reigning Commonwealth Games marathon champion, said after the Durban race that she would be turning her attention to training for the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar on 27 September. “I have been concentrating on shorter distances this year, but I will be doing more long-distance training from now on,” she said. “I don’t know how that will affect me if I run in Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg in the SPAR series.”

Van Zyl said the presence of international runners like Johannes and Naru was doing much for road running in South Africa. “They are forcing us all to run faster,” she said. “But it will be interesting to see what happens in the altitude races, in Pretoria and Johannesburg. And we are all really going to struggle to get bonus points next year!”

The Durban race was one of four in which juniors can earn points in their own category. Naru, who is 18, has an 11-point lead, with 20 points from the two races so far. In the 40-49 category, Bulelwa Simae (Boxer WP) leads the category with 14 points from three races, with Janene Carey (Boxer KZN) in second position on 10 points. The leader in the 50-59 category is former Comrades Marathon gold medallist Grace de Oliveira (Murray & Roberts KZN), with 11 points. Olga Howard (Nedbank WP) leads the 60+ category with 23 points.

In the club competition, Nedbank is firmly in the lead with 424 points, followed by Maxed Elite Zimbabwe with 138. Boxer is in third place with 132 points.

SPAR Women's Challenge Celebrates 30 Years in Durban

SPAR Women’s Challenge Celebrates 30 Years in Durban

The oldest race in the SPAR Women’s Challenge series, the Durban race, turns 30 this year, and the organisers predict a fast and exciting race as part of the celebrations on Sunday 23 June.

The Durban Challenge takes place two weeks after South Africa’s most famous race, the Comrades Marathon, and many of the women who did well in the Comrades Marathon cut their road-running teeth on SPAR Challenge races. Gold medallists Jenna Challenor and Charne Bosman are both former SPAR Challenge winners, while Comrades winner Gerda Steyn finished second in the Joburg race last year, after entering as part of her training for marathons.

There will once again be a very strong field for Sunday’s race at King’s Park. Namibian Helalia Johannes (Nedbank), who already won the Port Elizabeth and Cape Town races this year, both in record time, will be attempting to make it three in a row. Meanwhile, the talented Ethiopian junior Tadu Nare (Nedbank), who finished second in Port Elizabeth and third in Cape Town, will also be running on Sunday.

Among the top South Africans competing are 2017 Grand Prix winner Kesa Molotsane (Murray & Roberts) and three-times Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank). Last year’s podium finishers, Betha Chikanga (Maxed Elite), Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) and Nolene Conrad (Murray & Roberts) are also expected to compete on Sunday.

The elite runners are expected to put up fast times. In Cape Town, the first 11 were all under the 2018 winning time, while the first seven in Port Elizabeth beat the previous year’s winning time. This trend is expected to continue in Durban.

“Durban is traditionally the fastest race of the series,” said SPAR Grand Prix coordinator Ian Laxton. “It depends on the weather, of course, but I expect a lot of runners to earn bonus points for finishing in less than last year’s winning time.” Laxton adds that he also expects top South African runners such as Molotsane and Van Zyl to make a strong push to get on the podium.

IMAGES: Reg Caldecott

Most Memorable Comrades

Most Memorable Comrades

The 2019 Comrades Marathon will be remembered for many reasons, but the two standout performances of the year were undoubtedly those of men’s winner Edward Mothibi and women’s winner Gerda Steyn. – BY SEAN FALCONER

Winning the Comrades Marathon is considered the pinnacle of achievement in South African road running, and adding that title to your name opens the door to fame, media attention, sponsorships, endorsements and more. However, the way that Edward Mothibi and Gerda Steyn won the Comrades titles in 2019 went a step further, and their performances in the Up Run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg will long live in the memory.

After an eventful men’s race that featured several changes of the lead and then an exciting breakaway group of five contenders, it eventually came down to Mothibi, who finished fourth last year in his debut Comrades, going head-to-head with three-time winner and double defending champ Bongmusa Mthembu as they hit the final ‘Big Five’ climb on Polly Shortts. With most people following the race expecting Mthembu to once again use his strength on the hills to pull clear, it looked like things would go according to script as he opened a small gap on the challenger, but instead it was Mothibi who threw in a surge of his own and made the decisive move on the notoriously steep hill.

The old adage once again proved true, that the first runner to crest the top of Polly’s with 8km to go will go on to win the race. By the top, Mothibi had pulled 20 seconds clear of Mthembu, and he then powered his way to the finish at the Scottsville Race Track in Pietermaritzburg to claim the win in 5:31:33. Mthembu finished 25 seconds adrift in 5:31:58, with World 100km record holder Nao Kazami of Japan taking third in 5:39:16 in his debut Comrades.

After the race, Mothibi said that he had dug deep into his reserves of strength to overcome Mthembu up Polly’s, but that he had actually surprised himself by winning: “I didn’t plan to win; I just wanted a gold medal! I gave it all. I just pushed harder.” For his part, a gracious Mthembu conceded that the better man on the day won, and he added, “I could see Edward had a plan… everything I did he could respond to.”

Other notable finishers in the men’s race included Justin Chesire coming home sixth to become the first Kenyan to win a Comrades gold medal, and Zimbabwean Marko Mambo finishing eighth and first veteran. Also, in a heartbreaking finale, Nkosikhona Mhlakwana made a late surge to overtake Gordon Lesetedi and Siya Mqambeli to go into ninth position with just a hundred metres to go, only to stumble and falter, then watch helplessly as the last gold medal eluded him. Further back in the field, 1995 winner Shaun Meiklejohn finished his 30th Comrades in 6:56:16, while the two leading Comrades medallists of all time, Barry Holland and Louis Massyn, achieved their 47th consecutive medals in 10:29:42 and 11:51:52 respectively.

Majestic Gerda
The early leader in the women’s race was 2017 Down Run winner Ann Ashworth, who was on pace to run a 6:03 and smash Elena Nurgalieva’s Up Run record of 6:09:24, but it was Gerda Steyn who took control of the race just before the 30km mark, then flew up Botha’s Hill and further extending her lead to just under two minutes over Ashworth by the halfway mark in Drummond. For the rest of the race she serenely extended her lead, never looking troubled, and reached the finish in an incredible 5:58:53, smiling, waving and even doing a jig on the line.

Steyn had won the Two Oceans Marathon for a second time just seven weeks before the Comrades, where she missed Frith van der Merwe’s course record by just 53 seconds after deciding not to push too hard and thus save her legs for the Comrades. It didn’t look like the 56km Cape ultra had any adverse effect on her Comrades performance, however, as she became the first woman ever to complete the Up Run in less than six hours. Reminiscent of Van der Merwe’s incredible winning run in 1991, when she finished 15th overall in the Comrades field, Steyn came home 17th overall, winning by a margin of nearly 19 minutes over second-placed Alexandra Morozova of Russia (6:17:40), who was also second in 2017 and third last year. Third place went to debutant Caitriona Jennings of Ireland in 6:24:12, with Ashworth taking fourth in 6:27:15.

Steyn’s performance earned her a cool R1.2 million in prize money – R500,000 for first place, and incentives of R500,000 for a new course record and R200,000 as first South African finisher. Her winning time is the fourth-fastest ever run by a woman in the Comrades (although the three faster times were all on the Down Run), and she is just the fourth woman ever to win the Two Oceans and Comrades in the same year, after Van der Merwe (1989), Elena Nurgalieva (2004 and 2012) and Caroline Wöstmann (2015). After the race, Steyn said, “It is a dream come true! Many years of hard work came together today. It’s a real blessing… it’s the biggest achievement I can ask for.”

New, improved routes designed by local cyclists for this year’s Knysna Cycle Tour

New, improved routes designed by local cyclists for this year’s Knysna Cycle Tour

This year the organisers of the Knysna Cycle Tour have announced new, improved routes for their biggest events, the 104km road race as well as the 30 and 50km Mountain Bike races.

Route Manager Andrew Finn said that there is an exciting new route for the longer road race, which is now a 104 km ride. Says Finn: “The route will take riders on a thrilling, scenic adventure through one of the most picturesque sections of the Garden Route, revealing stunning views of ocean and beach, mountains and pristine forest along the way.

“Leaving and returning to Knysna along the N2, cyclists will experience the Knysna Lagoon then, after the first big climb up Kytersnek they will turn off to Buffalo Bay with all its beautiful views of the sea en route to what is arguably the best beach and surfing spot in the Knysna area. Then, after another stretch along the N2, there will be some great climbs through natural forests and farmlands on the way up to Barrington.

“The most interesting addition to this race is a brief 2,1 km gravel pass along the Seven Passes Road between Barrington and Karatara. From Karatara, it’s fast downhill all the way back to the N2.”

The tour’s MTB routes have been designed and are being maintained by a group of keen local cyclists led by Stuart Lightley, Greg Penrith and David Correia who volunteer their time and promote the beautiful tracks available in Knysna’s backyard at every opportunity.

Lightley explains: “I was asked to contribute to a route redesign for the 30 and 50 km MTB routes and to incorporate more single track, making the routes more fun and technically challenging. The idea with both the mountain and road events is to show off some of the areas where the Knysna locals ride.

“I’ve been riding mountain bikes and exploring the Knysna forests for almost 30 years and know the forest quite well. I enjoy the more technical type of riding, and actively help and encourage others to improve their technical skills. With this in mind, I have built tens of kilometers of single track, mostly in the Concordia Contours Trails area, to the north of Knysna, near Simola. We have selected a number of these trails for the mountain bike events.”

Says Finn: “The end result is that this year, for the first time, our 50 km and 30 km MTB events will take participants along routes created by locals. After the climb up the Simola hill, both routes will use single track sections designed and built by these local track designers and builders which will add a new dimension to both events.

“Our official route managers, Corne Botha and Pat October from Jakhals Events in Oudtshoorn will oversee safety, the marshals, and all signage on these routes amongst other things.”

The MTB races have all had exciting single track added to the first sections of the route, including a lap of the stunning Oakhill School purpose-designed track, the Life of Brian single track link to Narnia Village, the Knysna Montessori single track to the drop-off onto the Salt River farm track, and the iconic SANParks single-track Petrus Se Brand through to Harkerville.

Once back at the finish on the Knysna High School sports field there’ll be plenty of entertainment for the whole family and time for cyclists to relax with food from local food stalls, listen to some music and enjoy a beer or two.

Online entries for the Knysna Cycle Tour races close on 14 June. For more information and to enter go to the website:

Murray & Roberts Club Launches with Comrades Champ Signing

The multinational engineering and construction group, Murray & Roberts, launched its running club on Thursday 10 January at the Group’s headquarters in Bedfordview, Johannesburg. At the same time as unveiling the club’s elite and semi-elite squads as well as the new club colours for the 2019 athletic season, the club also announced the signing of multiple Comrades Marathon gold medallist, Charne Bosman. The 2016 women’s champion will be aiming for another fine performance in the world’s oldest ultra race this year, and says, “I am thrilled to join the Murray & Roberts team – black and yellow are definitely my colours!”

The club was originally announced during the Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham and Letsema Awards in Johannesburg in November 2018. Group Chief Executive, Henry Laas, comments: “We are very excited to officially launch the Murray & Roberts Running Club. We are able to clearly identify with the athletes and the excellence they achieve through their physical and mental training. Seeing these athletes compete in Murray & Roberts colours is symbolic of the Group’s philosophy of Engineered Excellence.”

Murray & Roberts has also taken ownership of the Vorentoe Running Academy, which forms part of the running club’s development squad. This Auckland Park-based team of young, talented runners, has produced multiple champions over the last few years.

Club Chairman and five-time Comrades Marathon finisher, Ed Jardim, says: “There is so much potential in this academy for the club to nurture and develop. We have a deep desire to fulfil our corporate citizenship ambitions to achieve exceptional outcomes, not just for the academy but also for South Africa, and eventually on the roads and the athletic tracks of the world.”

National Club Manager, Dana Coetzee, a double Comrades Green Number holder, adds: “It is a privilege to be associated with the Murray & Roberts Running Club. We are in the fortunate position of having world class athletes in our team, as well as a group of young development runners.”

The first event for the elite, semi-elite and club runners will be at the Dis-Chem Half Marathon, which takes place close to Murray & Roberts headquarters in Bedfordview.

“Running is a sport that is practiced by a diverse and wide-ranging community, and through our support, we are looking forward to contributing to the development of running in South Africa. As a club, we focus on all of running and its facets, whether it is track, cross country or road running. The black and yellow club will provide an opportunity for us to see Engineered Excellence in action,” Laas concludes.

Men: Rufus Photo, Renier Grobler, Benedict Moeng, Philani Buthelezi, Sikhumbuzo Seme, Vuyisile Tshoba, Thulane Magagula (veteran), Chris Cherry, Thabo Nkuna, Raymond Phaladi, Jeffrey Gwebu, Mthobisi Baloyi, Kabelo Melamu, Dylan van der Merwe, Anda Lubelwana, Lutendo Mapoto, Timothy Munzhelele
Women: Rene Kalmer, Christine Kalmer, Charne Bosman (veteran), Caroline Cherry, Jenna Challenor, Yolande Maclean (veteran), Salome Cooper (veteran), Kesa Molotsane, Danette Smith, Mary Khourie, Nolene Conrad, Mia Morrison, Ulrica Stander (veteran), Lesego Hlako, Janie Grundling, Stella Marais, Keneilwe Sesing, Calvin Malatji

Kallie Burger, Lyle Timm, Jaco Brummer (veteran), Harmans Mokgadi (veteran), Mosongo Mokoatsi (veteran), Siegfriedt Heydenrych, Fusi Nhlapo (veteran), Graeme McCallum (master), Stephen Caelers, Motlatsi Sesing, Samuel Mashishi, Eloi de Oliveira (grand master), Nic de Beer (veteran), Evan Coetzee, Byron Jones, Gustav Roos, Ryan Gibson, Rory Scheffer
Women: Julanie Basson (veteran), Anel Terblanche, Kyla van Graan, Leilani Scheffer, Anet Coetzee, Andrea Steyn, Judy Bird (master), Carly Kent (veteran), Val Watson (grand master), Lesley Train Austin (veteran), Belinda Waghorn (veteran), Karen Brough (master), Grace de Oliveira (master), Simone Verster, Mitsie van der Westhuizen (veteran), Kerry-Ann Marshall, Jacqueline Kellerman (veteran), Shanley Koekemoer (junior), Carina Viljoen

About Murray & Roberts
Murray & Roberts is a leading engineering and construction services group of companies. It has delivered infrastructure projects throughout South and Southern Africa for more than 119 years, and is today recognised as a multinational engineering and construction group.

The Group achieves this by focusing its expertise and capacity on delivering sustainable project engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations and maintenance solutions. The Group delivers its capabilities into three global primary market sectors: Oil & gas; metals & minerals, and power & water.

Murray & Roberts is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is listed on the JSE Limited. For more information about Murray & Roberts, please visit

Slow Carma, There is Nothing Slow about It

Are you tired all the time? Stressed Out in your daily life? Most South Africans have a magnesium deficiency within their diet and experience these symptoms on a daily basis. Slow Carma is a Magnesium compound, that together with L-Carnitine combats this deficiency, strengthens your metabolic system and helps the body to produce energy naturally.

What is L-Carnitine?

L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative that’s often taken as a weight loss supplement. It plays a few crucial roles in our bodies that include assisting in the production of energy! It does this by transporting fatty acids into your cells mitochondria, this inhibits the build-up of lactic acid in your body – one of the primary causes of fatigue. L-Carnitine has also been shown to support the heart and cardiovascular system.

Taking just two capsules of Slow Carma daily will help introduce L-Carnitine into your system and where before you felt fatigued you will now have the energy you need to take on the day!

Why do I Need Magnesium?

Magnesium is a vital nutrient for your body, it is involved in many important physiological processes that occur when you exercise. Adding magnesium to your diet assists your body with the production of Energy through Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), considered by biologists to be the energy currency of life. It is the high-energy molecule that stores the energy we need to do just about anything and is especially necessary when you are going for that PB in a race. Magnesium also helps the body manage muscle contraction and muscle relaxation – important for those that suffer with cramping while exercising, but most importantly it keeps your body’s cells healthy!

Leading an active lifestyle means that there are numerous benefits to include Magnesium as a daily supplement in your diet, as it can improve your athletic training, your performance, and aid recovery. Studies have shown those with higher Magnesium levels showed better muscle integrity and function, grip strength, lower leg muscle power, knee extension torque and ankle extension strength. All vital for a runner!

Professional Athletes Agree!

As featured in the July edition of Modern Athlete, track, road and cross country star Thabang Mosiako believes that using Magnesium Café supplements after suffering severe head injuries in a brutal attack, was a tremendous contributing factor to his quick recovery and return to competition.

“Benita tracked me down after the attack and told me to try the product, that I will see the results. Everyone thought I would only be running again next year, or at least after six months of recovery, but I went to African Champs. What really helped me recover was the magnesium products, and I can’t thank Benita and Magnesium Café enough. It took away the headaches, and gave me the energy and focus I needed in training. The terrible headaches I was getting are not so bad now, and I plan to keep using the product, because it saved my career!”

Having earned IAAF Gold Label status after a brilliant run at the World Half Marathon Champs earlier this year in Spain, Nolene Conrad added magnesium to her current supplement regime and immediately noticed the difference.

“As I have been struggling with a magnesium deficiency, I started using Slow Carma as an additional supplement to my usual recovery drink. Magnesium is crucial for performance, energy and recovery, and I have seen the results after using this product on a daily basis. What is great is that it’s a combination of magnesium and L-carnitine to enhance the repairing of damaged muscles, relieve muscle soreness and give you more energy.”

The Perfect Partner for Comrades Marathon

Wiseman Sibaya, has attempted four and completed two Comrades Marathons, he says taking two Slow Carma before and during the race assisted his body to not cramp, “it’s a long race, and taking two 30 minutes before and two just before half way helped me a lot.” Speaking on the two that he didn’t finish, he realized there was something lacking saying, “it’s not only about running, it’s always what you put in your body to assist you, since using Magnesium it has helped my body to finish the race. After completing the 90km race, I could still walk 1km to my car and drive home, I didn’t limp the next day, and I believe it’s because of the Magnesium.”

Slow Carma is available from their online store Magnesium Café  at a special rate for the month of September.

2018 Red Bull Box Cart Race Update – Skullcandy’s War Rig Will Show No Mercy!

The ferocious construction of SKULLCANDY’s WAR RIG can be heard for miles across neighbourhoods as fierce war cries and screeching metal drilling pierce the air, the sounds echoing through the streets, scaring local bullies indoors and feral cats scuttle for cover. A sudden burst of thunderous hammering breaks nearby rocks into gravel, a reminder of what’s to come; the most brazen, kick-butt, battle-waging machine, a prodigy of Mad Max, the fierce, animalistic SKULLCANDY WAR RIG is ready to tear down Sandton Drive with all the ferocity of Imperator Furiosa in search of GLORY!

With nothing but gravity and gallons of mad bravado and Red Bull, the fearless pilots, Capper and Fitzgerald, shrugged off as mere misfits by their peers, will shake down the egos of those before them, instilling fear and confusion in those still to come. “CAN YOU FEEL IT?”

Come the 16th September, the posh, meek and mild must lock their doors and close the curtains as Sandton Drive will be taken over by hundreds of mad, thrill-seekers out to beat the fearsome War Rig Warriors, who, we might mention, are deeply indoctrinated in the belief that dying in battle will take them to Valhalla.

If you’re brave enough to cast your eye in the direction of these four apocalypse survivors, you can’t miss the brutish War Rig engineer, Martin van Staden, EFC Champion who chases his opponents around the ring until they slip over their spilt blood; the War Rig’s breakneck mechanic, Courtnaé Paul, a steely avenger with combat and tactical skills that will beat brawn at every break of dawn; then there’s the gung-ho co-pilot, Kerim Fitzgerald, the raging, fiercely competitive KTM warrior who thrives in hostile environments, living only for today, no price is too high to pay; and finally, the Chief of Five Wives, and of all citizens in Citadel, is kamikaze pilot, Brian Capper. He is dangerous on wheels, an extreme adrenaline junkie with pure savagery and rage surging through his veins, feeding fire through the steel and rubber of the War Rig, crushing all who attempt to outrun the War Rig in this deadly, high-speed chase through the concrete jungle.

Hold onto your wives, they are coming. YOU WILL #FEELIT….

Mokoka Claims Eighth SA 21K Title

For the third consecutive year the often windy city of Port Elizabeth produced a perfect day for running for the Nelson Mandela Bay ASA Half Marathon Championships on Saturday 28 July, and the athletes took full advantage, with personal bests, season bests, list leaders and national records throughout the field and age categories.

In the men’s race, Stephen Mokoka (Gauteng North) out-kicked the rest of the leading pack to snatch the win in 1:01:44, beating Kenyan Benard Bil by two seconds, with another Kenyan, Linus Ruto, a further two seconds back. Fourth place went to Elroy Gelant (Central North West) in 1:01:48, with Gladwin Mzazi (Central Gauteng) fifth in 1:01:49. Six of the next nine South Africans clocked PBs.

With foreigners and those SA runners who were not members of provincial teams not eligible for the national championships, this saw Mokoka claim the 2018 SA Half Marathon title and gold medal, with Gelant and Mzazi earning the silver and bronze medals respectively. It was Mokoka’s eight SA 21km Title, and the second time he has recorded a hat-trick of three consecutive wins, with his previous wins coming in 2008, 2009, 2011-13, 2016 and 2017. Remarkably, this win was his 27th SA title across all three running surfaces (road, track and cross country).

Mbhele Wins Women’s Title
Foreign athletes dominated the women’s race, with Lesotho’s Mamorallo Tjoka taking the win in 1: 10:46, a massive personal best by almost three and a half minutes and shattering her own Lesotho national record, set 11 years ago! She finished five seconds ahead of second-placed Helalia Johannes of Namibia, whose 1:10:51 also broke her own longstanding national record of 1:10:59, set in 2008. Third home was Kenyan Susy Chemaimak in 1:12:32.

Janet Mbhele of KwaZulu-Natal was the first South African woman home in sixth place, clocking a personal best 1:13:07 to win the SA title and gold medal. The next South African over the line was Lebogang Phalula (Central Gauteng), who finished ninth in 1:15:31, with her provincial teammate Christine Kalmer just three seconds behind in 10th position to claim the bronze medal. Defending champion Cornelia Joubert was 13th in 1:16:06, while René Kalmer, the winner of 40 SA titles, the most by any SA athlete, was 22nd in 1:19:12. Seven of the top eight women set PBs.

And the car goes to…
This year’s event saw a new, faster route used, with an out-and-back section on the beachfront, then a loop followed by the same out-and-back section. There were a total of 1424 finishers, (888 men and 536 women), which was a sizable increase on last year’s 1166.

While most of these athletes were not in the running for national titles, they were all in the running to win a brand new Datsun Go, proudly sponsored by Eastern Cape Motors, in the lucky draw at prize-giving. And you could not wipe the beaming smile off the face of Bruce McEwan of Achilles Club, when his name was drawn for the hat!

Warrior Announces Its First Brand Ambassador

GAUTENG, PRETORIA – WARRIOR OCR events burst onto the scene in 2013, immediately spearheading the meteoric rise of obstacle course racing (OCR) in South Africa. Today, Toyota Warrior, powered by Reebok, remains at the forefront of OCR South Africa with world-class obstacles, innovative courses and over 4000 athletes competing, including many of the country’s top OCR competitors, who push their mental and physical limits with the aim to reach the pinnacle in their sport, to gain respect and recognition, to take them onto the world stage.

In support of the continued growth of the South African OCR community, Advendurance and Toyota Warrior have created an athlete programme, providing a platform for athletes to grow and develop to their full potential.

Thomas van Tonder is arguably one of South Africa’s top OCR athletes and a household name in the South African and International OCR community, so it is no surprise that Toyota Warrior have selected him as their first Warrior Brand Ambassador.

Thomas started racing OCR in 2014. He took up training with Warrior Fit Coaching on an OCR specific programme, which led him to straight victories back to back. It was clear that OCR was his sport and he has never looked back.

Max Cluer, founder/manager of Jeep Team South Africa, spotted van Tonder’s talent early on and invited him to join the Jeep Team. Van Tonder became teammates with the likes of paddling legend, ten-times World Marathon Champion, Hank McGregor, trail running champion, Christiaan Greyling, and World Multisport Champion, Robyn Owen.

Fast forward to 2018, and van Tonder’s pedigree is clear to see. Competing at the highest level in OCR for four years, his scoresheet is impressive and consistent.

Amongst many other wins, van Tonder has won 16 Warrior Black Ops Elite titles, placed second in 18 races and one third place. He won the National Championship and Series Championship in 2016 and was runner up in 2017. Van Tonder has also won all 14 of the Beast OCR elite titles since The Beast’s inception.

Internationally, Thomas has also competed in four OCR World Championships, placing Top 10 in three of them and a Top 20 finish in 2016.

Thomas will make an outstanding WARRIOR Ambassador, embodying the values of excellence, friendship and respect, and displaying commitment to giving back to the sport he loves, by setting a good example for the next generation.

Says Fritz Pienaar, co-owner of the WARRIOR Series, “Thomas is an important compass to all new athletes on the OCR scene. He is a true professional who is well-respected both locally and internationally. We want to build meaningful relationships that benefit both the athletes and the Warrior Race.”

Van Tonder will be the first Warrior Athlete in the programme with his eyes set on the first South African OCR Championship happening at Blythedale Coastal Estate on the KZN North Coast on the 14th and 15th July 2018, and future OCR World Championships.

For more information or to enter, visit
See this release online –
Link to Thomas van Tonder’s sport bio:
Written and distributed by Hot Salsa Media on behalf of Advendurance.
Images and Enquiries to
Editors Notes
Toyota Warrior Race 2018 Dates:

Warrior 5 14 – 15 July Blythedale, KwaZulu-Natal (SA OCR Championship)
Warrior 6 11 August Nelspruit, Mpumalanga
Warrior 7 20 – 21 October Meerendal Wine Estate, Cape Town, Western Cape
Warrior 8 24 – 25 November Tierpoort Adventure Farm, Pretoria, Gauteng

Toyota WARRIOR, powered by Reebok, is back with mud and obstacles built to sustain and delight the thousands of athletes, large and small, tall and short, thin and large that are ready to challenge themselves having fun building better humans.

The event calls adventure seekers from all walks of life – whether a weekend WARRIOR or an elite athlete hoping to snatch up the series title. With a Rookie, Commando, and Black Ops category on offer, WARRIOR has something for everyone.

For the first time in the popular series there will be an escape route for those who don’t find the idea of mud particularly appealing. Instead of diving into the infamous Mud Monster, participants will have the option of taking a penalty loop that will take them the same amount of time to complete. The ‘mudless’ option will not be made available to any Elite athletes, however.

Adventure seekers looking for some extra high-speed excitement have the option of entering the popular Reebok Sprint Race.

A specifically designed children’s obstacle course will be available for little adventurers, as well as a WARRIOR Kids Zone under the supervision of child-minders.

There are some exciting things in store at the 2018 TOYOTA WARRIOR SERIES, powered by Reebok:
• You can choose your own batch start times again, so enter soon to choose the batch you prefer.
• The theme for 2018 is M?ori Warrior, so expect to see a lot of tattoos and funky designs
• In 2018 the Mud Monster will not be compulsory, non-Elites can do a penalty loop and skip the mud
• Sprint Race: we have changed the Sprint Race format to make it more exciting and involve more age categories.
• Two one-day action packed events added in Bloemfontein and Nelspruit
• Warrior is going International! On 24 March 2018 we will be hosting a Toyota Warrior event in Windhoek, Namibia. Entries opening soon!

Christiaan Greyling Sets the Pace at The Cathedral Peak Challenge

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.”
– John Muir

KWAZULU-NATAL, DRAKENSBERG – All good stories have an adventure at their core. Conceptualised by the owner of the Cathedral Peak Hotel, William Van Der Riet, the Cathedral Peak Challenge is not a call to beat or overcome the mountain; it is an invitation to reconnect with the wilderness in its purest form. Go on an adventure into the great outdoors. Challenge yourself on the trail to the top of Cathedral Peak and back down again.

Over a distance of 20km with a total ascent of 1531m to summit highest free- standing peak in the Drakensberg, at an altitude of 3005m, the Cathedral Peak Challenge requires you to be at your best and your bravest, every step of the way.

The 8th of June 2018 marked the first official run for the money – those quickest to the top and back have a chance to share in cash prizes totalling R100 000.

All 38 of the entrants made it to the start line and completed the daunting challenge to try and bag a healthy R25 000 for the fastest male, female and mixed team of 2.
Some of the big names to set their mark on the Challenge included top trail runners Mlungisi Mazibuko, Perfect Dlamini, Jeannie Dreyer, and Christiaan Greyling and Landie Greyling; top OCR athletes Thomas van Tonder, Dominique D’Olivera, Sabrina Daolio and JP Mare; top triathletes Matthew Holden, Michael Ferreira, Michael Lord and Hayden Corke; as well as Mrs South Africa 2018, Nicole Capper, seven-time Dusi winner and founder of the Change a Life Academy, Martin Dreyer, and Angela Yeung from Trek for Mandela 2018.

Make no mistake; this challenge is not for your average Joe. If you think it will be a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park, think again. A high degree of physical and mental fitness is required if you decide to #ChallengeYourself.

Christiaan Greyling had his work cut out with a late surge from Mlungisi Mazibuko who made a final sprint to the line, which Greyling won in a time of 2 hours 29 minutes and 52 seconds, only 8 seconds ahead of Mazibuko, setting a new course record, which was held by Megan Mackenzie with a time of 2 hours and 53 minutes.

In the ladies’ race, it was one-way traffic for trail runner Jeannie Dreyer, who completed the challenge in a time of 3 hours and 19 minutes, 26 minutes shy of Megan Mackenzie course benchmark set on 10 May during the route launch.

Elite Obstacle Course Racer, Sabrina Daolio came in second, 47 minutes behind Dreyer. The third lady home was Landie Greyling in a time of 4 hours and 8 minutes.

Top of the men’s leaderboard so far, Christiaan Greyling, comments, “What a beautiful experience. It’s something I would recommend to everyone and anyone. Everyone should challenge themselves on this race. It’s hard to explain all the emotions you experience on this mountain. It brings you closer to nature, draws out raw human emotion as you push your limits, but you will never regret it.”

The next date to keep in mind will be 18 July 2018, when a bonus race has been made available in celebration of Mandela Day, after which the series resumes on 28 July, 25 August and 22 September in one of South Africa’s most beautiful regions. These dates are supported race days to the summit, while the Mini Challenge, on unsupported days, follows the course to the base camp of the peak and can be completed at any time before the final day of The Challenge.

Singles can enter for only R250 and teams may enter at R400 per team. Have the chance to beat the best of the best and claim the R25 000 cash prize at the end of the series, for the fastest mixed team, male or female. Participants are welcome to enter again and again and challenge themselves to better their times, until The Challenge’s final day on 30 September – #ChallengeYourself.

While one does not have to stay at the Cathedral Peak Hotel to race, participants that do will receive a 25% discount for the duration of their stay while running the challenge, allowing those brave souls to not only challenge their limits but to renew their souls at this outstanding resort with all its amazing facilities.

Do you have what it takes to #ChallengeYourself?

For more information, and to register, go to
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FACEBOOK – @CathedralPeakHotel
TWITTER – @cathedralpeakhotel