Change a Life Academy Media Release  No: CAL1609

2 Aug 2016

 Embargo: None  Written by: Kyle Gilham

Merchants backing triggers Change a Life Running success

Pietermaritzburg – A spate of impressive results for Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy’s running team at the Jeep Warrior Race’s recent third and fourth legs as well as the 1000 Hills Challenge has followed a game-changing sponsorship from Merchants that is set to see the programme soar to new heights.

After the success of Dreyer’s canoeing and mountain biking teams through the aid of Computershare and RMB respectively, Merchants – a Dimension Data company and leading Customer Management Outsourcing solution provider – recently joined the Change a Life stable in an exciting development for the Valley of a Thousand Hills setup.

“Our running team has been going for a few years now however, without much input, we’ve run it very simplistically through a few school runs in the Valley of a Thousand Hills and a couple other small, local events,” explains Dreyer.

“Running is sport in its rawest form. It can impact so many more lives than any other sporting code due to the small amount of equipment needed and almost everyone’s ability to do it.

“With Merchants’ support we are now able to grow the running side of my Change a Life Academy quite substantially, which is hugely exciting for all of us and we are extremely grateful for their assistance!” he adds.

Merchants’ backing has also given Dreyer’s charges the opportunity to broaden their running horizons through participating in six events of the Jeep Warrior Race’s eight-leg National series while the Warrior Race’s organisers have welcomed Dreyer’s team, providing free entry to all of his competitors.

While the talent identification process for Merchants CAL’s running team continues, Dreyer’s enthusiastic crop has been hard at work in preparation for the South Africa’s biggest obstacle course races as well as trail running events throughout KZN and beyond.

“Our runners are very excited to be involved in the Warrior Race and the two events we’ve taken part in in Krugersdorp and Ballito so far have been such an eye opener for our Zulus,” says Dreyer.

“It’s exciting to expose our runners to such a unique event and it has been great to see how up for the challenge the guys have been.”

The Warrior Race’s Black Ops Elite event is a strenuous 15 kilometre trail run during which participants complete thirty obstacles along the way with the winner the person to successfully complete the entire course the fastest.

“The Black Ops Elite is unbelievably hard and if you can’t complete an obstacle, the marshalls remove your timing bracelet and you are out!” explains Dreyer.

“Three of our guys were thrown into the deep end and tried the Black Ops Elite event in Ballito while the other seven did the more lenient Black Ops event.

“Our running team captain, Kwanda Mhlophe did incredibly well to arrive at obstacle 22, ‘Breaking Point’, in eighth place and came within centimetres of completing it successfully.

“Unfortunately he narrowly missed out and so surrendered what ultimately would have been an unbelievable second place finish as all but one of the athletes in front of him also failed to complete it.”

So impressive was Mhlophe and the rest of the Change a Life squad’s debut effort though, that Claude Eksteen – a former South African triathlete who recently became a full time obstacle racer, and who notably also didn’t finish the Ballito event – invited the group to train at his Adventure Obstacle Training facility in Durban North.

“Claude has been extremely generous with his time and knowledge and our Zulus have thoroughly enjoyed been able train at his unique facility.

“With Merchants also funding a vehicle for us, we can’t wait to see our runners put what they’ve learned into practice when they take on the rest of the Warrior Race events around the country.”

Saturday 23 July’s 1000 Hills Challenge at the Change a Lifers’ base at Nagle Dam saw the homegrown talents again dominate the podium of a local trail running event.

Raymond and Hlelani Radebe finished first and second respectively in the 10km event, Phaka Gwala, Mthobisi Mzolo, Siyabonga Ngcongo and Sanele Maphumulo made it a Change a Life one-two-three-four in the 21km clash while Mxolisi Zondi, Nhlanhla Cele, Thulani Skhakhane and Noyo Ngubo finished second, fourth, fifth and sixth in the grueling 38km race.

1.Raymond Radebe
2.Hlelani Radebe

1.Phaka Gwala
2.Mthobisi Mzolo
3.Siyabonga Ngcongo
4.Sanele Maphumulo

2.Mxolisi Zondi
4.Nhlanhla Cele
5.Thulani Skhakhane
6.Noyo Ngubo


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Martin Dreyer's Merchants Change a Life Academy's running team has gained invaluable experience training at Claude Eksteen's Adventure Obstacle Training facility in Durban North ahead of their upcoming Jeep Warrior Race assignments. Supplied/
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Martin Dreyer's Merchants Change a Life Academy's running team captain, Kwanda Mhlophe impressive in debut effort at the Jeep Warrior Race in Krugersdorp recently. Supplied/
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One of Martin Dreyer's Merchants Change a Life Academy's running team members tackles one the many daunting obstacles at the third leg of the Jeep Warrior Race in Krugersdorp. Supplied/
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