Neil Blignaut a member of the Nevarest Team writes a report of the most recent Jeep Warrior Race in South Africa. Read his full report below…
We came, we saw, we conquered.
The Nevarest Team were at The Jeep Warrior Race in force! The race was hosted in Krugersdorp, about an hour away from the capital, Pretoria. We were a large crowd from Nevarest Team with Greg Avierinos, Michael Joubert, Michelle Meyer, Joshua de Jager, Kirsten Avierinos, Ruth Avierinos and Calen Hastie all competing. Greg, Michael, and Michelle did the Black Ops Elite, 15 km with 32 obstacles. This is the most difficult category with the biggest prize.
Calen and Ruth did the Commando Elite, 10km with 22 obstacles. Joshua and Kirsten did the Rookie Elites, 5km with 15 obstacles. We are exceptionally proud to say that we took home a podium position in each of these categories, 5 of our seven athletes were on the podium. Michael made a stunning comeback since he won the Nationals finals at the end of 2014, and took first place in the Black Ops Elite Men. Greg, not to be outdone, also joined Michael on the podium in third place. Calen came second in the Commando Elite. Kirsten came first in the Rookie Elite lady’s, with Joshua de Jager coming second in the men’s category, only a few seconds behind first place. Ruth and Michelle also carried the Nevarest Team name high, Michelle coming 7th in the ladies and being one of the few among the Black Ops Elites (men and women) to get through Breaking Point on her first try.
The race day itself was a typical South African autumn day, cool in the morning but heating up to a hot and sunny afternoon. The athletes started the race by running through a large puddle of muddy water not 50 metres from the start line, so running in wet and muddy shoes was guaranteed from the beginning. The rest of the terrain was dry with some fairly technical running for all the athletes. Joshua held a firm first position for most of his race, but fell on one of the more technical downhills and moved down to third, eventually taking second right behind first place. This addition of more technical running shows how OCR is constantly growing and evolving in South Africa.
The highlight (for spectators and the team) of every Black Ops Elite race is Breaking Point. This obstacle is designed to only allow the strongest athletes through, and it proved its mettle at Jeep Warrior 3 once again. By the time the athletes get to breaking point, they’ve already done several grip and upper body strength intensive obstacles, so arms and hands are no longer fresh. When Michael got to Breaking Point, he was lying in third place, behind Jeep Team athlete Thomas van Tonder, second, and Adventure Obstacle Training athlete Claud Eksteen, first. Both had already tried and failed on the obstacle. The intense concentration and determination on Michael’s face completely hushed the roaring crowd of spectators who had been cheering van Tonder and Eksteen on. In a rushed silence he made his way through the entire obstacle and landed at the end after ringing the bell to a roar of triumph. Michael said that he was so overwhelmed with joy that he almost forgot to run again afterwards.
Breaking Point started out with a pole climb, followed by an inverted cargo net “hang.” Then the athletes had to get across swinging monkey bars, and finally a cliff hanger. Finger and grip strength was really what made or broke the athletes on the cliff hanger, where many top athletes failed. The women athletes were allowed to rest between the cargo net and the monkey bars but still completed the obstacle as is. Nevarest Team is proud to say that all three of our Black Ops Elites athletes made it through the obstacle on their first try, and we are so proud of the first and third place we achieved in the Black Ops Elite as well as the other podium positions achieved by the younger athletes. We’ll be back at the next Jeep Warrior Race in July in Durban, ready to do our best once again.