A call to “Be More” drew over 4000 adventure-seekers to Tierpoort Adventure Farm this weekend. The sixth edition of South Africa’s largest obstacle racing series, the Toyota Warrior Race powered by Reebok took place on 16 & 17 September, and undoubtedly exceeded expectations.
This round was hosted at a brand new venue that was every trail runner’s dream. The hilly and technical terrain took warriors over some of the best trails that Gauteng had to offer. First to vouch for that was the elite Warrior winners themselves: “I really enjoyed the challenge of a technical run! It took things to a new level, and was one of my favourite trails of the year,” said female champion Trish Bahlmann.
The previous event that took place in Blythedale was unable to accommodate the infamous Mud Monster, so it was absolutely famished upon return! The thrill of crawling through the mud with mates was a real hit (as were the Grohe showers afterwards). The edition of new obstacles such as the Eliminator, Terminator and Maze also brought a new set of challenges and an exciting twist to the Elite event.
Determined to defend his title, Claude Eksteen seemed to have the upper hand for the majority of the race as he effortlessly blazed over Tierpoort’s rocky trails. It wasn’t until the last four obstacles that 11-time Warrior Race champion Thomas van Tonder appeared with serious intent. Eksteen tackled the Intimidator first and after briefly stopping to save his grip strength van Tonder made his attack and stormed past. The two OCR giants entered The Maze in a flurry, and were acutely aware that one wrong turn could seal the outcome of their race.
In an exciting race to the finish line, van Tonder managed to snatch the victory by just 7 seconds. It was a crucial win for the Jeep star at this point in the series, and he is now in the fight for the National title. “The next Warrior Race is a week after OCR World Champs, so I’m going to be tired! Claude won’t be racing that weekend, so if all goes according to plan I’ll win that event. And then the real challenge will all come down to Nationals!” said van Tonder.
Trish Bahlmann showed off some serious trail skills from the get-go, and used her running edge to establish a 10 minute lead on her competitors. She commented on being extremely impressed with the performance of Carina Marx, who placed second, and admitted to giving her all to keep the BattleRush athlete at bay.
This was an event that called the courageous. The stories overheard before and after the race were nothing short of inspiring. Imagine the reaction when a 70-year old woman crossed the Rookie finish line with her two daughters!
Another encouraging story came from the Merchants ‘Change a Life’ Team. One of their athletes had his shoes stolen the day before the race. Determined to finish the Black Ops Elite route, he raced in a pair of dilapidated shoes. Persevering through the 15km course with holes exposing his feet, the Zulu Warrior received the medal he fought so hard for.
As the day drew to a close, Warrior Ric (Ricardo Gressel the voice of the Warrior Race) was heard talking over the microphone: “Some obstacles are overcome when we quickly climb over or crawl under them. But something I’ve come to realise in life is that most obstacles are conquered when we courageously go through them.”
Next on the Toyota Warrior Race powered by Reebok event on the calendar will be at Meerendal in the Western Cape.
For more information visit www.warrior.co.za
Source: Port Elizabeth – MyPR.
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