Adventure Sport

Team Merrell leaves for ARWC

2011-10-25 14:13
Team Merrell Adventure Addicts (File)
Burnie - Team Merrell Adventure Addicts set course for Burnie, Tasmania's western-most city on Wednesday to take part in the Adventure Racing World Championships (ARWC), with nearly a hundred four-man teams from 23 countries aiming for top spot.

This 700km, non-stop race starts on the 2nd of November, and the winning teams will take at least 5-6 days to complete the course.

According to Race Director Craig Bycroft, “The remote terrain of the West Coast is the perfect destination for a true expedition race and it promises to be an experience like no other. It will definitely suit the physically and mentally tough teams, and like all XPD Races, this will be a true expedition-style race through genuine wilderness conditions”.

Adventure racing is a multi-discipline endurance sport where endurance athletes (usually both male and female) compete as four-person teams.

They have to navigate using map, compass and landmarks via a series of control points in a range of disciplines, including mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, swimming, rope work and orienteering.

Teams will race non-stop along a 700km ARWC course, deciding if and when to rest, with the first team to complete all the race legs declared the winner.

The Merrell Adventure Addicts have been competing together as a team for more than four years, and have developed a detailed understanding of their individual strengths and weaknesses to shape a powerful racing unit.

The team is led by captain and navigator Graham Bird, and for him it will all be about focusing the team at the right moment.

Stalwart Hanno Smit, one of the original war horses, will once again be at Bird’s side, contributing quiet determination and experience to the mix.

Tatum Prins, the ‘girl power component’ of the team, brings true grit, dedication, commitment and motivation to the team.

Completing the foursome is Donovan Sims, an adventure racer at the top of his game.

 “I’m ready to lay down life and limb to help this team make it to the finish”, Sims said as the team completed final preparations for their trip Down Under.

Bird stated that the ARWC was the team’s main goal for 2011 and is optimistic about their chances.

“We seem to get stronger the longer and tougher the race is. After competing in the 2010 Australian race by the same organiser, we hope the 2011 race will be just as tough and hard,” Bird added.

Each member of the team has all come off strong individual performances over the past few months.

Sims and Smit jointly won the 120km 3-day Wild Run, while Bird and Prins staked their claim as two of only ten people to have ever completed the ‘Race across South Africa’, which is a gruelling multi-sport event that constitutes an 80km trail run, a 2300km MTB ride from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town, and finally the 4-day, 230km Berg River Canoe Marathon.

According to Bird, it is well worth the pain.

“We love testing ourselves, pushing our bodies and minds to the absolute limit, and come out on the other side stronger, but humbled by the camaraderie and friendship we experience every time we get outside!”


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