It is with great sadness

… that I let you know of Rika’s passing.

As you know, she had been in hospital with bacterial meningitis – an infectious disease that came with really tough odds; odds everyone hoped that Rika Viljoen – a strong and healthy woman – could beat.


Rika was heavily sedated and on life support last week and an MRI on Friday indicated that all was not well. The weekend passed and another scan this evening confirmed that her brain activity had ceased, possibly because of of a stroke in the brainstem due to the severity of the infection.

Rika had been in our adventure racing family for around 12 years and in this time was a regular participant in many, many adventure races – from sprints to expeditions – as well as single discipline events. Strong and determined, you could be sure to see Rika urging her teammates to get a move on in transition. And you could usually hear her approaching – laughter ringing through the mountains. I don’t think I ever saw her without a bounce in her step, regardless of how long a race or how tired she may have been.

Rika took a bit of a break from racing when she had her two girls; she was back in the saddle this year and racing fast and strong with her husband Richard Kolbe. They were missed at this past weekend’s Swazi Adventure, in which they would have been participating.

A vibrant woman, Rika will be missed and fondly remembered by all those that had the fortune to know her. She was a bright light that stood out in every crowd – and team. Her teammates will treasure memories of races with Rika by their sides.

Our thoughts are with Richard and their two girls.

It is likely that a memorial for Rika will be held this Friday (26 September). We’ll let you know where and when as details are confirmed.


  1. Ek onthou die Viljoen dogters in die laat jare 80’s. Rika was nog op Laerskool. Ouer sus Arnel was saam met my op skool en mede student. Die tweeling was altyd baie beleefd, baie vriendelik, en regte dametjies.
    My hart is ook vanaand seer. Ek het die nuus eers Sondag 5 Julie gehoor.
    Rika se ouma se nooiensvan is dieselfde as myne. Senekal. Ons is dus “familie”.
    Die kans is groot dat Rika haar INFEKSIE by die skool gekry het.
    Dirk Senekal

  2. To a brilliant teacher. My daughter thought the world of Rika. Our thoughts are with the family. May your precious memories gathered over her lifetime be some comfort as you come to terms with your dreadful loss.

  3. I am so sorry. I’m stuck for words. Rika you didn’t know this, but you inspired me from our first meeting at G4 to keep going and love the outdoors. Thank you.

  4. What a very sad evening for every single Crawfordian tonight! RIP Mrs Kolbe, you were truly an inspiration to us all! A teacher with such a heart and huge passion for every single one of her students, her two beautiful kids and most importantly, her “liefie” – you have certainly left a huge impact on all of our lives! You were the true essence of a teacher, in every way possible. You taught us all to love life, cherish every moment and even shared some of your most dearest memories with us. Not a day would go by, without a laugh or cheer, were you warmed all our hearts immensely. You inspired us all, to never give up and always do what our hearts dreamed of, and for that we thank you! Condolences to your two beautiful daughters and Richard. The entire Crawford family are behind you, every step of the way. Heaven has gained one super sporty, ambitious angel! Rest in peace!

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