Merrell prepare for UPHILL challenge at Champs

©Xavier Briel

Merrell Adventure Addicts will be lining up amongst the world’s finest Adventure Racing teams at the start inside an old volcano on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion for the AR World Championships on 9 November.

The team has had a focused build up as they prepared for what promises to be a tough and technical race.  Pre-race statistics reveal a course of just 430km with 17,000m of elevation gain and an expected winning time of 5 days.  The organisers Raid in France has repeatedly warned competitors to “forget your usual reference of progression times”.

“With a wide range of disciplines being listed for the event – Trekking, MTB, Canyoning, Caving, Ropework, Sea kayak and Packrafting – we have concentrated our training on improving our skills in each discipline and practising going slow-fast”, comments the Team Captain Graham Bird, one of South Africa’s most experienced Adventure Racers.

Joining Bird in the Merrell team for the event will be Hanno Smit, the stalwart Oom of the Addicts and veteran of over 20 expedition length races. His unconventional preparation for the event has involved fighting fires, fending off sharks and a life-threatening blood infection, complemented by a few stitches from a rogue stick that went sideways through his leg.

Having helped the team to podium at several local and international races as well as making sure Springbok rugby star Stefan Terblanche survived the team’s 9-day epic ordeal of GODZone in February, Grant Ross gets his first shot at a World Championship. Tracey Campbell, a small package with a huge smile that barely conceals her fierce competitiveness, joins the team for her first expedition with Team Merrell having competed locally with Team Castle Lite.

With the ongoing support and shared vision of Merrell, the Addicts continue to be driven by the “Create Your Trail” philosophy of Merrell. Other valuable product sponsors include Black Diamond head torches, Giant Bicycles, Ocean Eyewear, Squirtlube, NUUN Hyrdration, Trail Nuggets and BackCountryCuisine

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