Expedition Africa: Namaqua – KeyHealth Nevarest Team Interview


Expedition Africa Namaqua 2018 Adventure Race is due to start in a couple of days in the magnificent Namaqualand Region, South Africa


We caught up with KeyHealth Nevarest Team in order to gain some insights on their preparation and plans for EA2018.


Team Number : 47

Team Name : KeyHealth Nevarest

Team Members : Ruan Van der Merwe, Malcom Dunkeld, Carla van Huyssteen, Michael Joubert


Q – When did you your Team start racing together and share a how your team structure evolved


A –  We are a fairly young team, in terms of age and how long we have been racing together. Our first race was in March of this year, and we did another 2 races after that, one of which included the A1 Vasbyt race, which was a proper AR!


Q – How has the teams training been leading up to EA 2018?


A – All of the athletes in our team participate in quite a few disciplines, thus the training for an expedition type race is always difficult for us. 2 of our team members specialise in the shorter and more intense obstacle course racing, whilst myself and Malcom do specialise a bit more on the trail running.


Q– Was there any particular focus in your training sessions and how does this fit in with your overall race strategy for EA2018?


A – We realised that this will be quite a cycle heavy race, so we have been focusing a bit more on longer endurance cycles and our runs have included a bit more runs with heavier packs.

We have been lucky to have great sponsors which have paid for us to participate in 3 shorter AR events leading up to Expedition Africa, which has really helped our training along.


CG – Please could you expand on some of the changes within the team structure for EA 2018


A –  Whilst initially Greg Avierinos formed part of the team as lead navigator, we opted to rather go with Malcom Dunkeld for the longer races, mainly due to his experience in longer races and general endurance.

Q – With Namaqualand being fairly cold at night how do you think the team will adapt to the these weather conditions?


A –  We have been practicing spooning every weekend


Q – Were there any interesting or funny moments whilst participating in any AR events?


A  – During the Transkei Tuff race, I made a mistake with the night paddle navigation in that I wrongly identified the tributary we were on. This led to me getting the team to carry the very cumbersome fluid kayaks across a dune field and almost into the ocean.

Whilst a sea kayak would have been awesome, my team did not think this was funny at this stage in the race.

Needless to say, they did net let me hear the end of it.


Q – With the Race Logbook now available  to teams what do you expect to be the most  

        challenging on the route for EA2018?


A –  I think everyone is talking firstly about that 200km cycle, because that is never a great experience with all that kit and as we know Stephan, it will probably include quite a few hike-a-bike sections.

Secondly the 59km hike/run looks pretty intense, as the fastest predicted time is around 14 hours, meaning there is definitely a bite waiting there.


Q – KeyHealth has been a major sponsor for your your Team. How has their sponsorship assisted you guys with Adventure Racing events?.


A – KeyHealth has been such a great sponsor for many years now, which has enabled us to not only compete in a lot more AR events, but now also to host our own events as part of the A1 series.

Another benefit is that their sponsorship has enabled us to enter more youth teams for these events, which are usually a problem due to the high cost of not only the events, but also the gear that your require.

Q – Your prediction of a winning time on this course?


A  – My estimation is around 78 – 82 hours


Q – Please share an interesting fact about your Team.


A – We are still pretty sure that if we attach 3 tow ropes to Carla and she tows us, that we will move a lot faster!


We wish KeyHealth Nevarest all the best for EA2018 and looking forward to all the action out on the exciting and challenging course.

Expedition Africa Namaqua 2018 Adventure Race is part of the Adventure Racing World Series and takes place from the 20th – 26th May 2018.


Follow all the action LIVE at race start at 09H00 (SAST)  http://live.arworldseries.com/africa18/