Merrell to test their mettle in volcano country
The MERRELL Adventure Addicts, arguably one of South Africa’s top adventure racing units, are back after taking time off after their seventh place finish at the Adventure Racing World Championships held in Tasmania in early November 2011.
With the unprecedented growth in mountain biking, trail running and adventure racing in South Africa over the past few years, people from all walks of life are getting off the couch and out into the great outdoors. Being OUTSIDE and enjoying all that South Africa has to offer is one of the fundamental principals of the Adventure Addicts and with this principal in mind has seen the addicts develop into one of the top multisport and adventure racing teams in the country.
As a brand Merrell understands this 100% and after joining forces with the team at the end of 2010, the Merrell Adventure Addicts enjoyed a successful 2011, winning the 500km Expedition Africa and finishing a creditable 7th out of 79 teams at the Adventure Racing World Championships. “Though we were disappointed not to have achieved our top five finish at the ARWC, it was a fantastic year for the addicts”, says Graham Bird, captain of the Merrell Adventure Addicts. “Winning the 500km Expedition Africa event, completing the Freedom Challenge are just some of the highlights.”
With the continuing support and shared vision of Merrell, the Merrell Adventure Addicts have again planned a massive year that will see them continuing to be driven by the “LET’S GET OUTSIDE” philosophies of Merrell.
February will see the team head to the small South American country of Ecuador for the HUAIRASINCHI 2012. This 350km Adventure Race forms part of the Adventure Racing World Series and will see the team visit the famous “avenue of volcano’s” as part of their acclimatisation for the conditions. “After reviewing the international AR calendar for 2012, this race grabbed our attention”, mentioned Graham Bird. “Traditionally we normally travel to an international race in the second half of each year and structure our racing calendar around that.”
Upon returning from Ecuador the Merrell Adventure Addicts will then turn their attention defending their title at the 500km Expedition Africa event in May. Now in it’s second year, the event will be staged in the Eastern Cape region surrounding Port Alfred and after the success of the 2011 edition, the event has now been recognised with Adventure Racing World Series status. “This is a tremendous achievement for the organisers, Stephan and Heidi Muller from Kineticgear.co.za, and is wonderful news for Adventure Racing in South Africa”, says Tatum Prins, the addict’s female member and motivational anchor.
The second half of the year will see the team turning its focus to the local racing scene. The Windhoek Lager Fish River Canyon Ultra which is staged along the iconic Fish River Canyon in Namibia in July; the 250km Quantum Energy Leap Adventure Race in the Western Cape, August; the Wildrun along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape in September; Merrell Eden Duo on the garden route in October and rounding out the year with the Skyrun in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg in November.
This year will also see the Merrell Adventure Addicts sharing their experiences with the outdoor sports community when they host a Merrell Adventure Weekend in early March in the beautiful town of Swellendam. The weekend, which is aimed at like-minded people, will see the addicts staging a few races and conducting a number of talks, allowing people to tap into the experiences of the Merrell Adventure Addicts.
As with previous years, the Merrell Adventure Addicts will be led by captain and navigator Graham Bird, and for him it will all be about focusing the team at the right moment. Along with Tatum Prins, stalwart Hanno Smit will continue to bring his quiet determination and wise experience to the mix, with workhorse and powerhouse Donovan Sims adding all the strength needed to pull the team through the tough situations.
Their sponsorship deal with Merrell, an internationally acknowledged leader in the footwear and outdoor apparel industry, has enabled the team to focus their energy on racing rather than procuring sponsorship. “After nearly three decades in the adventure business, we truly believe our performance products are inspired by active people like the Adventure Addicts”, says Jaco Steenkamp, spokesperson for Merrell (South Africa). “We encourage everyone to get outside, from beginner to seasoned pro, and we’ll make sure we provide the shoes and apparel to keep you going. Further, faster, and comfortably”!
For more information on Team Merrell Adventure Addicts, their sponsors and upcoming races, check out the following websites -:
Team Information – www.advaddicts.co.za
Main Sponsor – www.merrell.com/ZA/en