The Adventure Race World Championships (ARWC) are on the horizon, the pinnacle of adventure racing will take place at Kouga, in the Eastern Cape, starting on 16 October. At the race, Bloemfontein will be represented by a singular team made up of Jan Meiring, Shaun Schoeman, Johan Fouché, and Van Eck Zwiegers, making their debut at the Adventure Race World Championships.
The World Championships will take place over nine days, with a distance of over 700 kilometres and multiple disciplines to be conquered, including mountain bike, trail running, river kayaking, and navigation.
Meiring, who serves as the team captain, said that they are excited, but nervous going into the World Championships. “We have not competed in a race of this distance before, so racing for such a long time will be challenging,” he said. Meiring also explained, “Most of the guys on our team have been involved in adventure racing for a few years now, and normally complete in one or two 24-hour races per year.”
Fouché and Schoeman won the male pairs category in the Drakensberg 200 km race in February, while the current four-man team also finished 6th in the Woodridge Mammoth 200 km adventure race in April.
Schoeman explained that he is looking forward to “being able to compete in such a beautiful landscape with my teammates and being exposed to experienced, as well as novice, adventure racers from across the globe.”
“First prize for the team would be to finish within the time with all the checkpoints found,” said Fouché , “but I think we will be more than satisfied to just finish with all members still healthy and moving, even if we have to short-course.”
The gruelling race takes place in some of the country’s most inhospitable conditions, where competitors will not only have to face the course during the day, but also navigate by night. Fouché explained that “the lack of sleep and fatigue after a couple of days is bound to provide some form of entertainment.”
“The four of us lean on each other at different times, and in that way, we are able to push forward,” Schoeman added, while Meiring believes “our team also works together very well and adventure racing is all about teamwork. Like the old proverb goes: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. And we are going very far.”