As the dust settles on the Adventure Racing World Championships, which was held in the Eastern Cape from the 17-28 October 2023, some comments from the team as they reflect back on their 11th place finish.

Graham Bird

Anticipation for the Adventure Racing World Championships was high after an exciting 17 month build up and it was great to finally be in Cape St Francis for the event. Our team had had a solid build up and were confident in our ability to race in the top 10% of the field.  So, lining up on the start line with the other 108 teams there was much excitement but also nervousness for the unknown of how things were going to pan out.

The route was long (840km-ish), made tougher by the extreme weather experienced – heat and cold.  It was a great and challenging route that tested teams, with many “high speed” legs on paths, jeep tracks and roads.  We passed through many amazing spots along the route, highlighting the diversity and beauty that South Africa has to offer.

The racecourse did not really suit our team strength’s – this aside, we had a solid, consistent, and trouble-free race – focusing on ourselves and not getting caught up in racing teams around us.  We raced well as a team and ensured we looked after ourselves, crossing the line after 151 ½ hours, in 11th position and first South African team. The three youngsters in the team taking the course in their stride, with myself hanging on for dear life 🙃.

Well done to Heidi and Stephan Muller and the whole Expedition Africa team for an amazing 12 days and hosting a truly world class event. A massive thanks to all the landowners, volunteers, sponsors, host resort.  The event was a resounding success and great showcase for South Africa.

Thanks to our product sponsors Black Diamond South Africa and Ocean Eyewear.

And finally, and MOST importantly, a huge thank you to our title sponsor, Merrell for their continued support and guidance.  Having raced as Team Merrell since 2010, it is a huge honour and privilege to represent the brand and all that they stand for.

Shale Biggs 

It’s been an absolute privilege racing with Team Merrell at this year’s ARWC. As teammates and friends, we worked together showing determination, tenacity, integrity, stamina, physical and mental strength. We covered diverse and vast landscapes of South Africa and encountered harsh weather conditions along the way. I’m so proud to be South African and to have been a part of this incredible event, with such legendary athletes by my side.

Leo Sorensen

ARWC 2023 was one for the memory bank. Long distances, hard legs and plenty of drama. It really showcased the harness of the Eastern Cape landscape and yet at the same time the hospitality and kindness of the eastern cape people and communities. I thoroughly enjoyed the race. It was hard and long but had moments of magic amidst the reality of some harsh weather conditions. Overall, it was very well organized and a big thank you to Stephan and Heidi for organizing the event. To Merrell thank you for your support and sponsorship it really is appreciated and it’s a privilege to be associated with this amazing brand. Thank you.

Craig Carter-Brown

ARWS St Francis 2023. After more than a year of preparation it was great to finally get to St Francis. The first hurdle came in the form of weight limits on bike and transition boxes and the only solution was to reduce trail food.

The race started extremely fast, however having the experience to know that an 850km race is not won on day one, saw us staying within our limits and not burning to many matches early. Over the next couple of legs a steady pace and consistent navigation saw us move up through the field. The course proved to be less technical than I would have liked, the challenge was the extreme length of all the legs.

Eventually after 6 and half days of racing we ended up in 11th position. Thanks to Merrell for all the support. Thanks to Graham, Leo and Shale for their strength and companionship. 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻👊🏼