KWAZULU-NATAL, BLYTHEDALE COASTAL ESTATE – Due to its immense popularity, the South African Obstacle Course Racing industry has, over the past few years, ensured that this past weekend’s inaugural South African Obstacle Course Racing Championship was a world-class event according to the two 2018 South African OCR Champions, Thomas van Tonder and Trish Bahlmann.
Responsible for bringing the OCR Championships to South Africa is Fritz Pienaar, CEO of Advendurance and the Warrior Company, powered by Reebok, and SAOCR, which was endorsed by Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC).
The first South African OCR Championships was held in conjunction with at Toyota Warrior Race #5 at Blythedale Coastal Estate on the 14th and 15th July 2018. Set against a backdrop of pristine beaches, unspoiled forest, rivers and estuaries, the Blythedale Coastal Estate was the perfect setting for the South African OCR Championships.
The OCR World Championships structure is Age Group and Pro Championships, and by building upon the 10Km Commando Elite and 15Km Black Ops Elite divisions respectively, each event featured distinct championship obstacles, with exclusive podium medals and a prize purse exceeding R200 000.
Featuring a full compliment of South Africa’s top OCR athletes, the Black Ops Elite/SA OCR Championship race was a gruelling 19km trail course with 35 Warrior series finale obstacles that included four brand-new obstacles. The top three male and female athletes would receive cash prizes and free entry into the Pro Division World OCR Championships to be held on 19 – 21 October 2018 in London, England.
The men’s Black Ops Elite/SA OCR Champs race was hotly contested between South Africa’s top 2 OCR athletes, Thomas van Tonder (Warrior Brand Ambassador) and Claude Eksteen (Supa Mama). It was neck-and-neck, changing the lead throughout the race, but it was Van Tonder who proved strongest on the day, crossing the Championship line in 01h44m19s, just six minutes ahead of Eksteen in second place in 1h50m26s, and Trevor Lagerwey in third with a time of 01h51m37s.
Says the South African Elite OCR Champion, Van Tonder, “What a day! It was OCR at the highest level, right here in South Africa. I am beyond blessed to take home the official SA OCR Championship title. It’s hard to describe the feeling of months of hard work all coming together on the day.
This course sets the standard for OCR in South Africa. It is the most balanced course there is, a lot of running and big obstacles – it is a leading course. Well done to all the guys involved, from Toyota Warrior, SAOCR and the OCR World Champs, for putting together a magnificent event. A huge shout out to all the athletes who came out to Warrior 5 and laid their hearts on the battlefield.”
Trevor Lagerwey, who placed 3rd in the Pro Championship said, “There is no doubt about it, this course was tough from every angle. The guys did well, from the ocean to the sugar cane, the water, the mud and the tough obstacles, the course was the full deal. This was awesome.”
In the women’s Black Ops Elite/Pro Championship race, Trish Eksteen (Supa Mama) put up a hard-fought battle against Sabrina Daolio, Nedene Cahill and Catherine Robson. Despite falling behind after the Drum Carry, Eksteen dug deep to finish on top, crossing the line in 02h11m49s, with Daolio in second with a time of 02h13m50s, and third was Dominique D’Oliveira in 02h26m18s.
After her massive Black Ops Elite/Pro Championship victory, Trish Eksteen remarks, “This was like racing World Champs right here in our own backyard. It was incredible. What more do you want – you’ve got the beach, forest and amazingly tough obstacles.”
In the 10km Commando Elite with 22 Obstacles (SA CHAMPS & ELITES), it was Brandon Hulley who took the SA OCR Championship win with a time of 59m13s, with Louis Smit in a close second in an hour exactly and Egor Oussov in third with a time of 01h03m52s.
In the women’s race, the top 3 fought a big battle with Naomi Maujean taking the SA OCR Championship victory in 01h35m04s ahead of Jodi Davidson in second in 01h35m25s and Alicia Cawood in third in 01h35m45s.
The top male and female athletes from each age group in the Commando Elite race also received cash prizes, and an entry into the Age Group division of the 10km 2018 OCR World Championships later this year in the UK.
Taking the podium in the men’s 5km with 15 obstacles Rookie Elite race were Cayde de Waal with a time of 47m18s, Tiago Goncalves in second in 48m49s, and Alessandro Cossa in 51m07s.
The women’s 5km with 15 obstacles Rookie Elite race was won by Hanneke Dannhauser in 55m17s, Megan van Tonder in second in 58m29s, and Taryn Strydom in third in 59m45s.
Dannhauser is no stranger to OCR with approximately 17 Warrior Elite Black Ops wins under her belt. She has also won the SA national title two years in a row and won the World Champion OCR Short Course in 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio, also achieving the ‘Best of the Best’ trophy.
The Individual OCR South African Sprint Championships, which took place on the Saturday, 14 July 2018, is a short course with 10 obstacles and competed at high-speed for big prize money. This highly-contested race requires explosive power at full speed, so it was no surprise that the SA OCR South African Sprint Champions (Individual) went to Trevor Lagerwey and Dominique D’Oliveira who proved their superior strength and speed on the day.
Age category winners for the Reebok Sprint Race included Vaughn Proctor and Sam Gilchrist (Over 40), and Megan van Tonder and Justin Landsberg (Under 19).
On Sunday, the South African Team Sprint Race Championship saw the best of the best battle it out with Team Liquid Speed – Thomas van Tonder, Dominique D’Oliveira and Jack “JP” Mare – taking the Reebok Sprint Team SA Championship Title.
The next event is TOYOTA WARRIOR #6, which takes place on the 11th of August 2018 in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga – all the excitement of The Warrior Race compressed into a single day.
Results – Toyota Warrior #5 / SA OCR Championships
15km Black Ops Elite / SA OCR Championship
1. Thomas van Tonder 01:44:19
2. Claude Eksteen 01:50:26
3. Trevor Lagerwey 01:51:37
15km Black Ops Elite / SA OCR Championship
1. Trish Bahlmann 02:11:49
2. Sabrina Daolio 02:13:50
3. Dominique D’Oliveira 02:26:18
10km Commando Elite / SA OCR Championship
1. Brandon Hulley 00:59:13
2. Louis Smit 01:00:00
3. Egor Oussov 01:03:52
1. Naomi Maujean 01:35:04
2. Jodi Davidson 01:35:25
3. Alicia Cawood 01:35:45
5km Rookie Elite
1. Cayde de Waal 00:47:18
2. Tiago Goncalves 00:48:49
3. Alessandro Cossa 00:51:07
1. Hanneke Dannhauser 00:55:17
2. Megan van Tonder 00:58:29
3. Taryn Strydom 00:59:45
Reebok Sprint Race / Individual SA OCR Sprint Championship
1. Trevor Lagerwey
1. Dominique D’Oliveira
Teams / Team SA OCR Sprint Championship
1. Team Liquid Speed
2. AOT Supa Mama
3. BeSnapped #2