The Hobbit is back! Tatum Prins has rejoined the Merrell team, bringing back with her the twinkling passion for the sport that is so evident in those who do it because they really get what Adventure Racing is all about. She competed with the Addicts from their early days in 2007 until 2012. Having now spent three years with the very different challenges of creating two mini Hobbits she’s more than prepared to deal with the rigours of heavy packs, sleepless nights and the endless chatter of Hanno and Don. She may however be inclined to throw them over her shoulder and burp them after a good freeze-dried meal and now also has a solid repertoire of nursery rhymes to throw back at the boys when they burst out with yet another eighties tune.
“I’m so excited to be out there again with my team after so long and am looking forward to being immersed in that remote wilderness that makes us so alive.”
Tatum is admired in the multi-sport world, not only for her many achievements but the infectious enthusiasm that is in her nature. She recently won the Cederberg 100km trail run and Kinetic’s 200km Double Moon adventure race and this weekend is launching an attack on Wartrail, so there is no doubt that she is back to her old form.
Young Robyn Kime Owen had a full race year, competing well in four international events with the team and really showing her strengths across all the disciplines but she has chosen to now shift her focus to other ventures with her new husband. “It’s sad to be leaving the team. This past year has been full of amazing experiences and I’m really grateful to the sponsors and to Graham for the opportunities I’ve had to taste this unique form of racing and to see such special parts of the planet.“ She has now represented South Africa at World Championships for three different sports – a remarkable achievement.
“Out with the new. In with the old!” chirps Don Sims. “We’re definitely going to miss Robyn’s youth and paddling strength, but we’ll be gaining years and years of experience from Hobbit’s side. We’re swopping one strong girl for another strong girl. The Addicts are in a good place.”
The team regroups once again in May for the World Series event; Expedition Africa in the Garden Route. With an estimated winning time of 72 hours, it’s a relatively short, fast paced event with many transitions, highlighting a lot of the stunning areas that captain Graham Bird calls home and playground. Several top and experienced racers will be hitting this course hard, and for dot watchers it could make for the most exciting race coverage of the year. Tatum will race for the first time with Grant Ross, although the two know each other well. Grant has just returned from his extended stay in South America after the Patagonia Expedition Race where he explored just that little bit more, cycling in Chile and Brazil. It’s just #MyNature for all these Merrell athletes. Don and Graham complete the team while Hanno Smit captains the Merrell Mentored Adventure Team.
The team is supported as always by their main sponsor Merrell and also PVM Nutrition, Black Diamond, Ocean Eyewear, Llama Bars, ButtaNutt Spreads, Extreme Lights, SquirtLube and Giant Bicycles.