Teams Tuff it out in adventure race

Nevarest, Painted Wolf win categories in 150km epic

SIGHT TO BEHOLD: This beautiful sunrise over the ocean was just one of the many stunning views that participants in the Transkei Tuff could take in during the event Picture: BRUCE VIAENE

THE abundant “Transkei”, a wild and mystic land drenched in history and promise, proved to be the ideal playground for the Merrell Transkei Tuff presented by Out the Green Box over the past weekend (April 8).

Teams of two and four took off from Wavecrest Beach Hotel & Spa for the 150km adventure race. Each team received their maps and race booklets at a briefing on Friday evening, and quickly began plotting their route for the first half of the race which consisted of a 65km mountain biking leg, a 45m abseil, a 5km kloofing leg – followed by a 21km mountain biking leg, before the teams returned to Wavecrest’s “Race Village”.

Saturday’s race kicked off in true African style, where teams gathered on the Wavecrest airfield to find out how their “secret start” would unfold.

Race director, Bruce Viaene, split the teams into groups of eight and announced that each group was going to play a five-minute soccer match to kick off this Transkei race.

PLAYING BALL: As if the Merrell Transkei Tuff adventure race was not tough enough, another twist was added to the start of the event. Each team had to take part in a game of soccer with the winners getting a headstart, but not after giving the winning ball to a child in the community Picture: LLEWELLYN LLOYD

Almost every athlete burst out laughing with enthusiasm, kicked off their cleats, and took to the field. Each winning team had the advantage of starting the 150km adventure race ahead of the losing teams. However, they were awarded the task of handing out the winning soccer ball to one of the children in the community. Each losing team received a delayed start penalty based on the score difference (loss by two goals = two minute delay).

The race was officially on. Cyanosis, Nevarest Jabberwock, Castle Lite and Sanlam Painted Wolf soon separated from the rest of the 25 teams taking part. Supporters all over South Africa began dot-watching via Sportraxs’ live tracking system and social media updates.

All four leading teams played a version of “cat and mouse” along the route, each selecting route choices that played a gamble in their placing. Nevarest reached the abseil site first, soon followed by Sanlam and then Cyanosis. The internationally respected duo, Sanlam Painted Wolf, got through the 5km kloofing leg in a record time of 30 minutes, and regained their lead.

Once teams reached Race Village, they changed into dry clothes, received their new maps and quickly began plotting the remainder of the race. An 11km trekking leg through a stunning kloof, a 10km kayak along the Nxaxo River – and an 18km coastal forest trek awaited each team before crossing the finish line.

Teams were on the water, racing to reach each checkpoint before the tide washed out and then prepared for their longest trekking leg. Multiple teams completed their final 21km mountain biking leg after nightfall, and made their way through to the finish under a bright moon.

The leaders of the race were exciting to watch as they reached transition, following their own synchronised system of packing, plotting and readying themselves for the leg to follow. However, what proved to be absolutely inspirational, were the teams at the back of the race pushing their bodies to new heights to achieve this new goal.

More than 10 amateur teams tackled this 150km route, as first time navigators and adventure racers and it was a duo who provided the most inspiration. Team Runners Emporium (2), Cameron Venish and Wesley Field tackled each obstacle they faced along the route, reaching the paddle leg after the first six teams crossed the finish line. This enthusiastic rookie team requested to continue their race, and crossed the finish line at 2.30 on Sunday afternoon, completing their 150km adventure race in 30 hours and 55 minutes. Claiming their sponsored entry into 2018’s Transkei Tuff, thanks to S Haynes & Associates Inc; Sanlam Painted Wolf crossed the finish line in 14hours and 40minutes, followed by Cyanosis, Nevarest, Castle Lite, and amateur duo’s; Quiver 2 and Outlanders.


Team Overall Position Team Team Members Finishing Time

1st 2 Nevarest Jabberwock Cobus Van Zyl, Craig Metherell, Janneke Leask, Ruan van Der Merwe 15:17:20

2nd 4 Castle Lite Craig Powell, Adrian Saafy, Garth Peinke, Tracey Campbell 19:33:35

3rd 8 NSP Sports Franco Olivier, Johan Olivier, Nadeane Coetzee, Ron 21:48:10

Duo Category Overall Position Team Team Members Finishing Time

1st 1 Sanlam Painted Wolf John Collins & Darren Berry 14:40:00

2nd (tie) 6 Quiver 2 Peter & Kim Van Kets 21:31:00

2nd (tie) 7 Outlanders Martin & Sally Frazer-Mackenzie 21:31:03

3rd 14 Dream Chasers Ockie Van Zyl & George Nieuwoudt 24:49:02

“Our sponsors; Merrell, Out the Green Box, Star Motors King Williams Town, Squirtlube, Black Diamond, Racefood and S Haynes & Associates Inc provided us with the opportunity to give our athletes a special part of the Transkei, and we are privileged to have partnered with each of them,” co-organiser Trystan Viaene said.


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