Change a Life Academy Media Release  No: CAL1905

12 Aug 2019

 Embargo: None  Written by: Nick Tatham

Change a Life Warriors impress at SA OCR Champs

Pietermaritzburg – The Merchants Change a Life Warriors continued to show their impressive progress when they filled the top end of the respective Black Ops Elite and Commando Elite results at the recent South African Obstacle Course Racing Championships in Blythedale on KZN’s North Coast.

The Blythedale course welcomed the who’s who in obstacle course racing for the National Championships. With the nation’s best in attendance the Merchants Warriors were not intimidated and produced some top class results.

“It was the qualifier for the World Championships in the UK later this year so you can imagine the strength of the field,” Change a Life Academy founder Martin Dreyer said.

“In the Black Ops Elite race Hlelani Radebe finished fourth and Mxolisi Zondi came fifth and both have been selected for the National team!

“For Mxolisi it was a ground breaking result and to have two guys qualifying for the World Championships is inspirational for their team mates.

“Amazingly we had six in the top 20 overall in the Black Ops Elite.

Despite this strong performance in the Black Ops division, the Merchants team were even more impressive in the Commando Elite division of the event. The performances from some of the younger athletes in the team reaffirmed Dreyer’s confidence in their abilities.

“We had first and second overall in the Commando Elite race in Sphelele Hlengwa, who also won the Under 23 age category, and Thobani Mkhize, who also won the Under 18 age category.

“Commando Elite is about age group racing and to see such good results makes me feel that the foundation we building with our youngsters, is going in the right direction,” Dreyer commented.

The results achieved by the Merchants Change a Life team have been through a lot of hard work at the training base at Nagle Dam in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. There are two key ingredients that have added to the team’s success.

“Qhubeka delivered bicycles to us which have made the boys’ lives a lot easier in terms of getting to school and training.

“Current SA OCR champion Claude Eksteen has been incredibly helpful in opening up his training base in Durban North for the guys and helps them out with technique training.”

At the recent Illovo Eston Trail Challenge the Merchants Change a Life team were in fine form with the top five in the 9km trail run all coming from the squad.

Also Sphelele Gumede, who concentrates mainly on trail running, finished second in the 18km event behind 2017 champion Anele Dlamini.


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Merchants Change a Life star Hlelani Radebe recently finished the South African Obstacle Course Racing Championships in fourth place overall and qualifies for the 2019 World Championships in the United Kingdom. Supplied/
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Merchants Change a Life trail running star Sphelele Gumede cruised to second place in the 18km trail run at the recent Illovo Eston Trail Challenge. Anthony Grote/
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