The season opener of the immensely popular obstacle course racing series, the Toyota Warrior Race, powered by Reebok, took place outside Pretoria this past weekend. The event is known for drawing thousands of participants to the challenge of overcoming obstacles while having some serious outdoor fun. These events are designed for the whole family and cater for various fitness levels with almost no barrier to entry, making the sport accessible to anyone with a sense of adventure. There are also competitive categories for each of the three distances on offer.

The main Black Ops elite event that covered a distance of roughly 18 kilometres and incorporated 32 obstacles, was won by power couple Claude Eksteen and Trish Bahlman in a fairytale finish for the two Durbanites. In addition to the laurels and prize purse, the two athletes each got to drive home in brand new Toyota Rav4 vehicles, theirs to drive until the next event at Emerald Casino during the second week of March.

The young Hlelani Radebe or one of the “Zulu Warriors” as adventuring legend Martin Dreyer fondly refers to his prodigies, stole the show, however, delivering a first ever podium finish for the squad of endurance athletes who turned their focus to OCR (obstacle course racing) under Dreyer’s guidance. At one stage five of Dreyer’s athletes, dressed in Merchants kit, were running in the top five, but the experienced Eksteen showed his class by calmly conquering obstacle after obstacle. And with his renowned running prowess, pulled off another superb win ahead of Radebe with Greg Avierinos rounding out the podium places in third.

In the hotly contested women’s race, Bahlman took an emotional win ahead of a motivated Dominique D’Oliveira, followed by Sabrina Daolio in third place. What makes their achievement even more impressive is that the top four women all finished in the top 20 overall.

Largely hailed as an overwhelming success, there were some noticeable changes that coincided with the new title sponsorship from leading vehicle manufacturer, Toyota South Africa. The build quality of the obstacles was significantly improved, with smoother finishes, eliminating any nails or cement surfaces. There was also a noticeable effort to reduce wastage and improve competitor and spectator safety.

“These factors are clearly also what Toyota prides itself in and it was a natural progression to apply the same principles to our event,” said Fritz Pienaar from the Warrior Company. “Safety at our events is paramount and we have all obstacles signed off by engineers before each event.”

Pienaar also added that nearly a million rand is invested in the obstacle course per event and that he takes pride in the label of ‘the biggest OCR Race in Africa’.

“The partnership with Toyota is a highly symbiotic one and we look forward to taking our events to new heights together,” he added.

Round 2 of the 2017 Toyota Warrior Race, powered by Reebok, takes place on 11 and 12 March at Emerald Casino on the Vaal and promises to be equally impressive. For more information or to enter, visit

For full list of results, visit


Trish Bahlman, overcome with emotion has she finishes first in the women’s race at WARRIOR1 Legends MX.
Photo Credit: ZC Marketing Consulting


Claude Eksteen taking on breaking Point Obstacle the 3rd last obstacle the Black Ops athletes had to complete on Sunday at WARRIOR1 Ledgends MX. Breaking point is aptly named, as it is notoriously known to be the hardest obstacle Warrior has to offer.
Photo Credit: ZC Marketing Consulting

The Black Ops Elite men’s podium. (From left to right) Hlelani Radebe, Claude Eksteen, Greg Avierinos
Photo Credit: ZC Marketing Consulting

The Black Ops Elite women’s podium. (From left to right) Dominique D’Oliveira, Trish Bahlman, Sabrina Daolio
Photo Credit: ZC Marketing Consulting



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