FREE STATE, BLOEMFONTEIN – This past weekend, the Toyota WARRIOR Race, South Africa’s largest obstacle course race (OCR) series, travelled to Bloemfontein, for its first ever race in the Free State.
The popular series challenges athletes from all walks of life to complete a set course, which involves conquering world-class obstacles. With three categories on offer, Rookie, Commando, and Black Ops, participants have the opportunity to choose the course that best suits their fitness level.
The main event of every WARRIOR weekend is the Black Ops Elite race – a set course of 15km with, on average, 30 obstacles. Due to excessive rain in the days prior to WARRIOR #2, parts of the Black-Ops route became inaccessible and waterlogged, forcing the decision to create an exciting lap race.
Thomas van Tonder (Jeep Team SA), winner of WARRIOR #1, now faced a challenge of 13km and 54 obstacles. A tough ask for the Elite athletes. Van Tonder, hoping to make it 2 wins in a row, opened a lead of 15 seconds ahead of Claude Eksteen (Supa Mama) going into the second lap. With the change in race format, the big obstacles requiring intense grip strength, were removed, proving van Tonder’s downfall.
Van Tonder ultimately finished the race in second place in 01:30:39, just over a minute behind 2017 series champion, Eksteen. In third place, with a time of 01:31:52, was Greg Avierinos (Team Nevarest), a silver medallist at the 2017 OCR World Champs. Fellow Jeep Team athlete, Jay Jay Deysel finished the day in 12th, with a time of 01:41:09.
In the ladies’ race, Carla van Huyssteen (Team Nevarest) claimed her first win of the season ahead of Sabrina Daolio (BattleRush) in second and Trish Eksteen (Supa Mama) in third.
Says van Tonder, “Bloem promised to be new and exciting, and I think it over-delivered. Having a looped course was a very new concept to WARRIOR and to all of us as athletes. Not to mention the upgrade from 34 obstacles to 54.
“I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Having my supporters on the side-line for 80% of the course made all the difference, taking the race vibe to a whole new level, and motivating me to dig deep all the way to the end.
“What an awesome day of OCR. Taking 2nd place in an action-packed field of top-class athletes. Kudos to Claude Eksteen on coming back strong in the final stages of the race. I’m so blessed to be able to do what I do; 2018 is shaping up to be one of the biggest seasons yet.”
Results – Toyota Warrior #1
Black Ops Elite
|1. Claude Eksteen||01:29:16|
|2. Thomas van Tonder||01:30:39|
|3. Greg Avierinos||01:31:52|
|1. Carla van Huyssteen||01:38:34|
|2. Sabrina Daolio||01:49:06|
|3. Trish Eksteen||01:51:11|