9Peaks Challenge

What is the 9Peaks Challenge?

  • The objective of the 9Peaks Challenge is to successfully ascend the highest point in each province of the Republic of South Africa, and in the fastest possible time.
  • The 9 Peaks Challenge is a test of your endurance and includes travel on foot and on the national roads network.
  • The previous record for the challenge was 4 Days, 15 Hours, 58 Minutes.
  • Our time was 2 Days, 16 Hours

What did the Challenge involve?

The non-stop endurance challenge involved:

  -2834km of driving (only athletes drove)

  -121km of Mountain running (self navigating over harsh terrain)

  -7888 meters of elevation gain

The Plan

The team started in the early hours of the 23rd of August and rotated driving and sleeping shifts as they make their way through the 9 South African provinces to check the highest peak in each province.

It made for an interesting challenge as the efforts to the peaks were intense while traveling between the peaks presented its own challenges, but did offer the team a chance to refuel and recuperate before the next peak.

The clock ran non-stop, even whilst driving, so minimising stops was of the essence.

Meerhof School

Donate to the wonderful Meerhof School, helping students move from Dependence to Independence.


The Peaks

Iron Crown (Limpopo)                                – 2126m

De Berg (Mpumalanga)                             – 2331m

Toringkop (Gauteng)                                  – 1913m

Nooitgedacht-west (North-West)               – 1806m

Namahadi (Free State)                              – 3275m

Mafadi (Kwazulu-Natal)                             – 3451m

Kwaduma (Eastern Cape)                         – 3019m

Murch Point (Northern Cape)                    – 2156m

Seweweekspoort Peak (Western Cape)   – 2325m

Team Members

Ruan van der Merwe

Adventure Racer and Ultra Trail Runner

6th at the Salomon Skyrun

Greg Avierinos

Obstacle Course Racer

2nd at OCR World Championships

Ryno Griesel
(On loan from Salomon)

Ultra Trail Runner

Current Drakensberg Grand Traverse record holder with Ryan Sandes.

Our Attempt

“With our combined knowledge and different backgrounds we feel our individual strengths will compliment each other to not only break the record but set a new record that will not be broken for years to come!”

The Keyhealth Nevarest Team, featuring Ruan van der Merwe, Greg Avierinos and Ryno Griesel (Team Salomon), broke the 9 Peaks Challenge record in an official time of 2 days and 16 hours. The previous record was held by South African mountaineering legends, Tian Liebenberg, Alex Harris, Adrian Saffy and Sean Disney!

This incredible feat is no small task, the trio drove 2834km, run 121km, and climbed 7888m in order to break the #9PeaksChallenge record.

As a task within the challenge, the team set out to break as many FKT’s (Fastest Known Times) as humanly possible. The team has succeeded in not only breaking the #9Peakschallenge record by 47 hours 58 min but also have succeeded in claiming each individual FKT along the way.

This challenge was not only a grueling physical feat, but also tested the emotional and mental limits of each team member as they made no stops to sleep or eat, resorting to rotating team members within the vehicle to balance out enough sleeping time, eating time, and driving time per athlete. This keen combination of race strategy, effective planning, and incredible team-work gave the team the advantages that they needed in order to be successful.


Below are the times that the team achieved for each peak:
Iron Crown – 24 minutes, 10 seconds
De Berg – 41 minutes, 19 seconds
Nooitgedacht – 17 minutes, 45 seconds
Toringkop – 4 minutes, 23 seconds
Namahadi – 5 hours, 11 minutes, 45 seconds
Mafadi – 9 hours, 35 minutes, 10 seconds
Kwaduma – 6 hours, 52 minutes, 58 seconds
Murch Point – 55 minutes, 14 seconds
Seweweekspoort – 1 hour, 57 minutes

Overall time: 2 days, 16 hours.

None of this would be possible without the following sponsors:
The KeyHealth Nevarest Team
KeyHealth Medical Scheme
Toyota SA
The Daily Coffee Café – Menlo Park
Stanford Lake College
SPOT Africa
Adventure Life
Inov-8 South Africa

We’d like to thank Terence Vrugtman from Adventure Life for the awesome photographs he took of the team and all the effort he put into the challenge! If you wish to get the high-res images or use these photos for editorial use please contact him via – terence@adventurelife.co.za

Live Tracking

We carried a Spot Tracker with us throughout the trip as well as had one mounted to our Fortuner. This enabled you to be able to see how we were doing no matter the weather or the time of day.

We had a dedicated Media team that followed us in a Toyota Hilux.

They kept everyone updated on our progress as we go via



We have chosen to support Meerhof School, a school aiding children with disabilities.

Challenge Sponsors




If you require any further information on COVID-19, visit the sacoronavirus.co.za