Warrior #8

The Warrior Nationals are a very big event, with the obstacles bigger and badder than they’ve been at any point during the year. The series winners are also announced and decided by this event. We had a fairly large group of athletes participating in every discipline. Black Ops Elite was Greg, Michelle, Louis and Cobus. Commando Elite was Zander and Calen and Rookie Elite was Givemore, Tumi, Joshua and Zander. We got a number of podium positions:

Greg and Michelle got 2nd place in the Black Ops Elite men’s and ladies’.

Calen came third in the Commando Elite men’s.

Givemore came first in the Rookie Elite Men’s.

Greg and Michelle both came first and set the record for the men’s and women’s sprint race, and Greg, Michelle and Louis also came first in the sprint relay event.


Calen’s race report: 

Finally, the 8th and last warrior race for the year 2016. The course did not fall short of expectations and lived up to its warrior name. The atmosphere was ecstatic with thousands of racers challenging themselves on the day. To top that, the weather bliss. The sun blazing while we were racing.

I was ready. More physically ready than the previous Warrior. Most of my niggles had disappeared and I felt positive and ready for a good performance. Everything played out perfectly. The only niggle that was playing on my mind on the day was a couple of blisters on my ankle (we all know how that can just be a pain). In my head I was holding thumbs hoping that anything water (or should I say mud) related would remain near the end. Well, that didn’t play out. Warrior is known for its course changes thanks to Jonathen Hart; well done. All the mud had to come early. Like 3rd obstacle kind of early. I feared this would hamper my running because of my blisters. That was not the case, to my surprise, it helped a great deal with the blisters… just not the speed.

Coming through the first mud obstacle I was in fourth place with another warrior hanging on. This continued up until the mud monster. The previous night’s rains had only made this monster more hungry; sucking in its victims into what looked like a concrete mix. I arrived and knew I had a chance to make some ground so I plunged in. the mud monster was thicker than expected but I managed to pull off the stunt thanks to my inov8’s. I sped out with some good lead time leaving my tag along in the concrete.


Following this there were a few other obstacles and then came the wall of china. A little higher than expected, but with a few try’s I was over. Warrior number three was just ahead (Angus Watson) but was keeping a strong pace. Eventually, the split arrived for the Rookie, Commando and Black Ops. The final 5km was an incredibly flat route that was on an airstrip piece of land. Managing to pass Angus I was determined to keep pace on the flat.

Finally, coming from the flat into the final collection of obstacles I had managed to create a good gap and slipped through the final obstacles and off tower of rage into the landing strip; finishing 35 or so seconds behind number 2 with a third place finish.

As a racer, I can definitely see improvements in my racing and obstacle techniques as well as my general strength. Next year is going to be big!


A big thank you to the team for their support and to Alec for organising us so well. Well done to my team members for their respective positions. A big thank you to our sponsors Keyhealth, Columbia, PS Shade, Inov8, Rockets and Nevarest for keeping us going. Also to Ric for his enthusiasm and his encouraging words and spirit for being such a great part of what OCR is to this country.


Michelle’s Race Report:

I could not have imagined the year of OCR Warriors ending off any better! 

I must admit that the whole race is a little bit of a blur, except for that loop we had to run before coming into the race village, that part I remember very clearly – it was dreadful. I got through the hanging-tyres that were at the turn off to do the last running loop, but only after a good struggle. It is not like it was something new, but my arms felt so heavy, not to mention how heavy my body felt! The rest of that run just had me doubting every step I got closer to those last obstacles waiting at the end of the race, what if I can’t do it!

Luckily after going down the big slide and spotting my mom, gran, all the friendly faces and the excitement happening at the Iron-rig and Breaking-Point, I was ecstatic – excited about the obstacles like I usually am from when WarriorRic sets us off at the start! They usually can’t come fast enough – or rather…I can’t get there fast enough!! Knowing that all the heavy carries and running was (mostly) over, the fun part could finally begin. Dom and I went through the Iron-rig and with a close call for me on the chained-monkey bars just before ringing the bell, we went on to find Sabrina, Trish and Carina at Breaking-point. Seeing everyone there, except for Hanneke who was long gone to take the win (well done HD!), I knew that I still had a chance to get on the podium.. if I could just get through these obstacles. I was just about to start on the big gumpoles when Trish slipped on the net and I knew I was now chasing Sabrina who had a good start on the obstacle, just ducking under the cliffhanger board to go on to the next section. The gumpoles had some descent gaps between them, well done to the guys who made it up there without using any feet!

DSC_3497 Sabrina and I ended up next to each other in the rings 5 meters from the bell! I tried to stretch out some of the pump in my forearms and then just went for it! I must say I did not give it much thought and before I knew it, I was swinging on zero-gravity, not sure if my fingers are even properly on the bar anymore but managed to ring that last bell!!! What a feeling of relief it was to run up the avalanche, which instantly stretches out cramping calves (thank goodness…) otherwise I might not have made it out of the Tower of rage’s water…! Coming into the finish in 2nd place was a little surreal, but amazing nonetheless!

Thank you to every person who was cheering me on, it makes this experience unforgettable! 

Big thank you to KeyHealth Nevarest Team, for letting me race all of these amazing races throughout the year! And with that, thank you to our sponsors: inov-8 South Africa for my X-Talon 200’s which worked great on all the terrain changes we had along the route, Rockets for our trusty kit as well as KeyHealth Medical Scheme, our title sponsor.

Greg’s Race Report:DSC_3270

What an awesome way to end off the Warrior series this past weekend!! Started off the day feeling a bit off, couldn’t get into my warm-up properly or get into “the zone”… None the less, before I knew it, I was on the start line and after a few word with Michelle I decided that ultimately I was just going to go out there and have fun and whatever happens happens. I’ve realised before that often we get so caught up in racing we often forget why we started and that ultimately we are meant to be having fun!!


So I’m not going to go into to much details but I started the race off slightly slower than usual with the idea I’d see how I feel warm up and work my way up… This new approach seemed to work pretty well and before I knew it I was carrying logs up on top of the mountain in 3rd place 😃

One thing I did notice from the race is that my strength coming out of the obstacles was way higher than normal, there wasn’t the usual need to ease back into the running! This I think I can tie down to some of the new OCR specific sessions I’ve been doing through Yancy Camp…

Anyway, back to the racing! I managed to hold 3rd for a large part of the first half of the race but nearing the race village and entering the open fields I just couldn’t hold the pace and felt fatigue starting to set in. I popped a goo and told myself I just had to hold out a bit longer; excited for the obstacles that lay ahead! Heading back into the race village, I had dropped back to 5th with Trevor and Bradley now just ahead of me. Maintaining composure I knew I needed to conserve energy and hit these obstacles hard, and I was ready!


Getting to Iron rig I had a quick recap walk through of the obstacle, shook out my arms and went for it… Getting out the other side ringing the bell I knew the race was still far from over! Taking on breaking point I had the same approach, fast but conservative. Being back in 3rd now I was probably taking too long of a rest at the two rest points, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have a re-run of the 2014 Nationals… But I managed to get that one down with only the eliminator in the way and Cluade just ahead of me. I was quietly hopeful on possibly still getting a 2nd 😋 After stretching out my legs in the water pit under the rope climb and a short break I started the eliminator just before Claude although hearing the commotion I was pretty sure that Claude had just started it just behind me too! Ringing that bell I knew that race was on and I needed all the head start I could get and with only about 100m to go!

Managed to cross that finish line keeping the 2nd place behind Mr Thomas, who had a beast of a race!! Sadly a few minutes later we learnt that Claude had possibly pulled his hamstring jumping off of the obstacles on the sprint to the finish, wish you a speedy recovery and congrats on the 3rd place!!


All in all, it was a tough day out but I couldn’t be happier with the result, and to share the 2nd step with Michelle made it that much better 😋😬

I’d like to thanks all my sponsors for the year for all their help and support, without them this wouldn’t have been possible!! #Nevarestteam #KeyHealth #Rockets #Inov8 #completephysiomccordandrepton #YancyCamp

Louis’ Race Report:

The last warrior event of the year has finally come and there was super excitement during the build-up of this race. There was a R25 000 grand prize purse for the win on the day and also a 25 000 grand purse for the series winner that was pretty much already wrapped up by Thomas van Tonder. So there was definitely incentive to race hard and go for the win and everybody had a chance as these obstacles at the end were really daunting and tough.


Warrior Rick got us all excited as we lined up and soon we were under way, I started my race at an okay pace and was in the lead right from the start. This was rather short lived as the first mud pit was about 2km out from the start and felt heavy and slow after that, the inov8 race ultra gave me great support on the dry run but they seem to get really heavy when wet and don’t drain well at all.

I tried to push things and also wasted a lot of energy on my weaker attributes like the carries and strength related obstacles and soon payed the price as I got passed by about 8 athletes. Soon Joshua Masudi passed me as well down a very technical downhill and my mind shifted from going as hard as I could to just getting my running rhythm right. The tyre flip was the last real weighted obstacle and things got rather flat on the trails as well.

This was where I needed to make up on the mistakes I made in the start of the race, soon my running speed increased as I got more comfortable and easily caught Joshua and another Merchants athlete. I started to gain on the front runners, Bradley Claase, Greg Avierinos, and Trevor Langerway was now in sight.

This was actually where the real race started for most of us. I caught up to them all at Iron rig, only Claude Eksteen, Thomas and Greg had made it through Iron rig I gave it my first go almost over confident and made an error in judgement as the barrels we needed to go underneath moved more than anticipated and I slipped off. I could already feel the pump in my arms and saw Jay Jay Deysel who came from behind me get through on his first attempt and also another Merchants athlete as well. I tried again and got through but with seriously pumped fore arms I was in no rush to get to breaking point.


We were six athletes through at Iron Rig and now another mammoth obstacle was in front of me BREAKING POINT. I rested as long as I felt I needed to and I took things slow and got through this thing at last next was the eliminator which was two rope hangs combined with a net and zero gravity all in one, Jonathan Heart what were you thinking I already had no grip left after Iron Rig. I almost missed the bell but just got it, I felt so happy and glad that this was over and done with and that I got through that I sprinted over the warped wall and straight to the last obstacle Tower of Rage.

As I got there Max Cluer mentioned my name and team I was representing and that just put the icing on the cake. I am usually not very happy with a 6th place as I set my expectations really high but I am really content with this performance, believe me just finishing this particular race was a great achievement and being in the top 10 was good enough.

I definitely learned a lot this year and I want to thank each and every person who supported me through the 2016 OCR Season. I can only grow and get even better from here and I can start my 2017 season injury free for once. Have a wonderful rest everyone and hope to see you all soon.