GI Joe Race Review & Report: Stefan Lotter
While this was a busy OCR weekend in most regions, a few OCR athletes tested what central SA had to offer with the third leg of the GI Joe series (a.k.a the Bearded Vulture Clash) at Tikwe River Lodge in Virginia.
Although it did not attract the crowds some other events might have, the Commander Challenge (12km elite category) was a very balanced race between easy to difficult obstacles and a somewhat challenging running route. Among the Commander men, Louis Smit from team Neveresttook an easy win followed by myself in second and Pieter Brink in third.
Louis, who needed to defend his right to the keys of the Hyundai Creta to have a way home, broke away from the pack from the start of the race. #BeSnapped’s Kelvin van Wyk was on his heels for about the first half of the race. It was at the combination obstacles of Tarzan’s Monkey Bars and the Ninja Rings that Louis ultimately broke away.
As for the other podium spots, the majority of the race was a battle for the fifth to third places between Pieter, Bryce Moller (also #BeSnapped) and myself. When we got to the GI Joe version of the Iron Rig near the end, I was in the fifth position. Yet it was there, along with the quick succession of strength obstacles that followed, that I was able to overtake them and safely slot into second place.
A few minutes after I crossed the finish line came Pieter, followed by Kelvin and then Bryce shortly after.
The ladies also had a tough competition in the Commander Challenge with some top contenders. Hanneke Dannhauser managed to finish first, followed by #BeSnapped athletes Mandie Landsberg in second and Carika van Blerk in third.
Overall the course was well planned out and managed to optimize the use of both man made rigs and natural obstacles. Despite being the first weekend of spring the multiple water obstacles – especially the first pool crossing less than 500m into the race – assured for an icy challenge. Although the max temperature of the day reached up to 26 it was 0 when the race started. The Skyfall jump, which is an 8m high leap into the Sandriver, was also a completely cold plunger. After getting out of the river you were still left with three more tough climbing obstacles before crossing the finish.
Commander Challenge Podium stats:
1st Louis Smit
2nd Stefan Lotter
3rd Pieter Brink
1st Hanneke Dannhauser
2nd Mandie Landsberg
3rd Carika van Blerk
By Stefan Lotter