MEDIA RELEASE | Paarl played host to the first FISHERMAN’S FRIEND StrongmanRun, the world’s biggest cross-country obstacle race, on Saturday 1 October 2016. This is the first time this event, known as the ‘strongest race of all time’ was held outside of Europe and attracted nearly 2000 runners.
The first male hero in the 21km event was Andre Calitz and the first female hero to cross the finishing line was Michelle Rolfe. Although with Fisherman’s Friend StrongmanRun everyone is a hero, both runners will participate in the 10th anniversary event in Germany in 2017.
Calitz was a late entry and did the run for a ‘fun thing to do on a Saturday morning. According to Rolfe, the climb up to Paarl Rock was the most challenging, but the water slide along the Berg River was lots of fun and the obstacle nicknamed Mudzilla was very dirty.
German runner, Michael Lindmeyer flew to Cape Town especially for the race. He is the only person to take part in all the Fisherman’s Friends StrongmanRuns in 2016: “This is my 11th race, this year, I think I am the only runner to do so. It was the most beautiful race, Paarl is exquisite and I am really honoured to be one of the 100 runners who was able to run up to Paarl Rock,” said Lindmeyer.
Ferdinand Rabie, winner of the first Big Brother SA in 2002, played host to the event. “This has been the most incredible experience. I have loved working with the European team from Fisherman’s Friend, the local Brooks team and my team from Paarl. I think we have put together a world-class event,” he said.
“I was thrilled to see people laughing as they went through the obstacles.”
“We were honoured to have Corentin Meyer, from France participate in his 18th Fisherman’s Friend StrongmanRun,” said Rabie.
“The international race organisers have announced the South African leg of this great obstacle race will take place on the first weekend in October 2017,” he added.
“It has been awesome to see a vision come alive with a unique South African tone. I participated in the German event earlier this year to get a taste of what we have in store and we now see the fruition of that in local music, and a broader Capetonian audience being part of this growing global event,” said Julie-Ann van Niekerk, Clippasales, distributors of Fisherman’s Friend.
“Hosting the first race outside of Europe has been really exciting, we have been thrilled with the number of entrants for the first time in the world’s biggest obstacle race held in South Africa. We look forward to growing this event over the next few years,” says Paul Barrett, African representative for FISHERMAN’S FRIEND.
There were three distances: 8km with 12 obstacles, 14km with 20 obstacles and 21km with 27 obstacles.