17 March 2016

Surely Obstacle Course Racers Are The Fittest And Toughest Athletes In South Africa?

Submitted by Viv Quann
Surely Obstacle Course Racers Are The Fittest And Toughest Athletes In South Africa?

JOHANNESBURG, 17 MARCH 2016 – Hot weather, a water-logged, deep and sticky clay-mud course, 30 muscle-wrenching, lung-busting epic obstacles over a tough 16km trail, and add a brand-new untested venue into the mix, and over 8 000 Obstacle Course racers and surely you have the toughest and fittest athletes in South Africa all converged in one place? I would bet. 

The sold-out Race 2 of the 2016 Jeep Warrior Series, which took place at Emerald Resort & Casino in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, from 12- 13 March 2016, was a heave of muscle, sweat and mud. The mantra Be Brave, was true and fortified. True camaraderie is seen and experienced on this playing field. True lessons in team building happen here. 

Race 2 saw the return of the notorious Slippery Dip obstacle, a terrifyingly high, steep wet-slide with an upward lip at the end that sends racers flying into a muddy pool. Never mind your fear of heights and the speed of the slide as you hit the water, if you hit the mud pool incorrectly, you are in for a whole lot of hurt. But this only makes them braver.  

The newest obstacle, Water Canon, was sponsored by global water technology company, Xylem, and unveiled at Race 2. Warriors had to cross over a thin slippery, water-logged floating bridge over a pool of water with a sadistic giant-water-canon operator spraying you off the bridge. 

The scary and massive Mud Monster was even tougher due to rain, but like true team building, you are never left struggling, never getting out the mud pit. Once out, with the help of the previous racers, these racers help the bunch behind them out. The effort and difficulty rating is off the charts but team work is the only way out.

The headline race of the Jeep Warrior Series is Black Ops Elite (30 obstacles, 16km trail run). In the Men’s race, 2015 Jeep Warrior Series winner, Claude Eksteen (Verigreen), set a blazing pace, this time conquering his nemesis obstacle, Breaking Point. In Race 1, Eksteen fell prey to Breaking Point’s extreme test of upper body strength.

In the final 4km, Race 1 winner, Thomas van Tonder (Jeep Team), caught up to Eksteen, with the two then going head-to-head in a thrilling sprint 200 metres from the finish line. Here the accomplished, world-class triathlete, Eksteen, won the battle and the Race 2 title in 1h28m41s, with Van Tonder in 2nd (1h28m51s), Bradley Claase (Innov8, BattleRush) in 3rd in 1h33m41s, and Louis Smit in 4th (1h36m35s), and Michael Joubert 5th in 1h39m30s. 

Said Eksteen, “Jeep Warrior 2 was one of those highs. I managed to narrowly hold off an incredibly strong, talented, charging Thomas Van Tonder by only 10 seconds. To stand on the top step of the podium, and having the privilege of being part of such an amazing race and tight finish is an incredibly satisfying and humbling experience. The race did not come without its mistakes and poor decision-making but this only means that there are many aspects of my racing I still need to work on and improve. I look forward to the next phase and improving myself further.” 

Gender equality is deeply entrenched at the popular Jeep Warrior obstacle course races. Testament to the female athletes, they complete the same courses as the men, irrelevant of the toughness of the obstacles, and the women excel in this environment, and are growing in numbers at each event. This was prevalent in the top elite event. The extreme difficulty of the world-OCR rating of the Black Ops Elite event did not slow down the top 3 women, Hanneke Dannhauser (USN), Carina Marx (Jeep Team) and Trish Bahlmann (Verigreen).

Jeep Warrior 2015 Series winner, Hanneke Dannhauser, led the charge from the start, claiming the women’s crown in 2h11. She was followed by Jeep Team’s Carina Marx, who moved up from 3rd to 2nd in the last few obstacles of the race to finish in 2h12. Race 1 winner Trish Bahlmann finished 3rd in 2h13, followed by Dominique D'Oliveira in 4th in 2h16 and Michelle Meyer in 5th  in 2h25.

Said Dannhauser, “It feels awesome to win, especially after the set-back I faced in the first race. In Race 1, I was out on the course for 6 hours, and eventually had to admit defeat, so to come back and win here at Emerald Casino is epic. It’s great to be back on the leaderboard. Jeep Warrior is definitely raising the bar of women’s OC racing in South Africa. Thanks to my fellow warriors who supported me during the race and to the love and support from my family and friends - thank you!”

The next Jeep Warrior Race takes place from 23 – 24 April 2016 at Hobby Park in Krugersdorp. To find out more and to enter online, go to http://www.warrior.co.za/events/2016-jeep-warrior3/.

To keep up with the action, like Jeep Warrior’s Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/thewarriorrace

Or follow the event on Twitter - https://twitter.com/thewarriorrace. 

Use the hashtag #BeBrave to keep up with the conversation.




1. Claude Eksteen – 01:28:41

2. Thomas van Tonder – 01:28:51

3. Bradley Claase – 01:33:41

4. Louis Smit – 1:36:35

5. Michael Joubert – 01:39:30


1. Hanneke Dannhauser – 02:11:27

2. Carina Marx – 02:12:36

3. Trish Bahlmann – 02:13:36

4. Dominique D’Oliveira – 02:16:07

5. Michelle Meyer – 02:25:34



1. Anrich Zimmermann – 00:43:39

2. Brandon Hulley – 00:50:30

3. Werner Du Preez – 00:50:48


1. Nikki Caromba – 01:11:40

2. Nadine Millar – 01:17:58

3. Taryn Strydom – 01:23:22



1. Wimpie Vaughan – 00:27:31

2. Zander Louw – 00:28:17

3. Michael McAlpine – 00:28:43


1. Kirsten Avierinos – 00:35:55

2. Rachelle Slabbert – 00:38:31

3. Taryn Rault – 00:43:34

Photo credits to www.zooncronje.com.

The Jeep Warrior Race is South Africa’s largest obstacle course race that spans eight events across four provinces.

The series burst onto the scene in 2013 and immediately spearheaded the meteoric rise of obstacle racing in South Africa. It quickly grew to up to 9000 participants per event and remains at the forefront of the growth spurt in the new sport of obstacle racing with its larger than life obstacles and innovative courses to challenge South Africans.

What makes Jeep Warrior Race so popular, is that anyone can participate - all you need is a pair of old running shoes and a great sense for adventure.   

To find out more, go to the Jeep Warrior website - www.warrior.co.za. To keep up with the action, like Jeep Warrior’s Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/thewarriorrace - or follow the event on Twitter - https://twitter.com/thewarriorrace.

Published in Sports Range