The Warrior Race with a twist

    Obstacle course racing with a view! Meerendal’s #WARRIOR7 2016. Credit:

    The Warrior Race is about to take over the Western Cape, and with an unexpected twist…

    Adventure-seekers are in for a treat as the penultimate round of South Africa’s largest obstacle course racing (OCR) series comes to Meerendal this weekend.

    The Meerendal Wine Estate will host the event, one of South Africa’s leading wine farms that boasts over 300 years of history. Situated on the slopes of Tygerberg Hills, the esteemed venue offers spectacular vineyard views and glimpses of the Boland mountains.

    Some exciting additions have shaken the Black Ops Elite category to the core. To complete the testing course, athletes are usually only required to conquer every obstacle unassisted or their DQ band is cut. But the Warrior Race has taken things up a notch – not only will the challenge be to finish the race with a DQ band that is fully intact, but earn the DQ by successfully completing a specific obstacle.

    The Black Ops Elite route will also incorporate the popular sprint obstacle course for the first time. This will make for nothing less than spectating heaven as onlookers sit back and enjoy the action-packed loop. The category now boasts 38 obstacles, more than it ever has before.   

    In the Rookie event, the best and most challenging obstacle will be saved for last. The never seen before ‘Rookie Rig’ will be the final obstacle of the course.

    As the series starts to draw to a close, all eyes will be on Thomas van Tonder in Meerendal, who is a mere 400 points behind Claude Eksteen on the series standings.

    It has been a busy few weeks for the elite athlete who recently competed in OCR World Championships in Canada. Van Tonder will be confident after his official 9th place in the pro elite category, the first time he managed to break the top ten in two years.

    Van Tonder had not intended to participate in the Meerendal event after a testing international season.  He has gone out of his way to attend the race, however, with the Warrior Race championship title at stake.

    “This race very important to me – if I win I might be able to narrow the gap on Claude and keep the series alive for Warrior Race Nationals at the end of the year,” said van Tonder.

    Tensions are not as high in the race for the women’s elite championship title. Claude Eksteen’s newlywed wife, Trish Eksteen, has a comfortable gap on her competitors.

    Warrior legend Hanneke Dannhauser has been forced to sit many of the races out this season due to an illness and injury, but has made a recovery and will return soon:

    “I cannot confirm whether I’ll be able to attend the Meerendal race just yet. But I will definitely be back for Nationals,” said Dannhauser.

    The event is by no means reserved for the elite, however. Everyone can be a Warrior, and that’s the beauty of this sport! With the difficulty of the obstacles, intensity of the trail run, and different categories on offer, every person will have an equal opportunity to defy their limits in the way that suits them best.

    Participants that do not enter Black Ops Elite can also assist each each other over the obstacles and enter as a team.

    The Warrior Race has gone to great lengths to take the Cape’s water restrictions into consideration. Because of the serious drought the area is facing, the series has chosen not to include any water obstacles in the Meerendal event this year. This will certainly not take from the race by any means, and participants can expect the same challenging obstacles, the same camaraderie, and the same lekker vibe.

    Don’t miss out on the action! Entries are still available at