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New Races and a World Championship in the ARWS Africa Series Sponsored by Merrell

Adventure racing in Africa is heading for new heights in 2023.

The Adventure Racing World Championship will take place in the Eastern Cape next October, and with over 150 teams from 32 nations heading to the shores of South Africa 2023 will be a year of celebration for Adventure Racing in Africa.

The Africa Adventure Racing Series, which started in 2011, will change its format for 2023 to fit in with this bumper Adventure Racing year.

With many new teams, all the top teams in the country, and some ‘retired’ teams making a comeback, the start line for the Adventure Racing World Championship will be a reunion for all the participants who have raced in the Africa Series over the past 14 years.

For many racers, this will be one of their last chances to attend a World Championship, and for the new and young teams it will hopefully be the first of many.  A once in a lifetime opportunity to stand at the start line of an event of such magnitude in your own country should not be missed.

Six events will be presented in the ARWS Africa Series in 2023, including the Adventure Racing World Championship, which will also act as the ARWS Africa Final at the end of the racing year.

The winner of the Africa Championship will be determined on ranking points across the whole series, with the two best two placings from the first five events counting, combined with the team’s points at the Championship Final (ARWC/Exp. Africa). The new African Adventure Racing Champions will be awarded a coveted free entry at the 2024 Adventure Racing Championship in Ecuador.

With five events in 6 months leading up to the Africa Championship Final, teams will have to carefully choose their attendance to be in line for the podium spots, and the races will be more competitive than ever before.

New Races in the Series

The ARWS Africa Adventure Racing Series welcomes two new races and race organisers to the fold, which will make it a truly inclusive African Series with the best organisers in the business working together for a brighter adventure racing future.

New to the series are Damian Giulietti who will organise the Mammoth Woodridge AR close to Port Elizabeth and Robert le Brun who will organise the No Frills, No Fuss race in Montagu.

“We are thrilled to step into the realm of event organisers, to share our passion for adventure racing, and to contribute to growing this amazing sport!” said Damien Giulietti.

“This year we are partnering with Woodridge College & Preparatory School to host the inaugural event. The campus is the perfect playground for adventure, being located on the Van Stadens valley, at the foot of the Longmore Forest, and nestled between Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and Jeffreys Bay.  Route options are abundant with breath-taking landscapes, and we will craft an adventure to remember,” continued Giulietti.

Robert Le Brun said, “We are excited to see the No Frills. No Fuss race on the 2023 Africa Series calendar.  Our races typically have many route choices and tricky terrain that leaves every participant challenged, yet inspired for more.

“The race will be situated in the stunning areas surrounding Montagu, Western Cape and we promise to show you a different side of the town of milk and honey, with beautiful towering peaks, perennial rivers and gravel roads.”

The Merrell Transkei Tuff, which has been part of the ARWS Africa series for the past 3 years, will move to a new venue at The Haven Hotel, Wild Coast in 2023.

“The Haven Hotel, nestled in the Dwesa Nature Reserve, is the exciting new location to host the 2023 edition of the Merrell Transkei Tuff adventure race, offering two distances to the teams seeking a premium “Wild Cost” adventure,” said Race Director Bruce Viaene.

“Teams will have to work together to transverse the undulating terrain of the Mbashe canyon and be prepared to spend hours looking for the right cattle path to get to the next checkpoint. The Wild Coast isn’t flat unless you are running or cycling on the beach and that comes with its own challenges. With what feels like endless forests, waterfalls, and rivers, this is a truly unique section of the Wild Coast for teams to explore for the first time. The winning time is expected to be 18 hours with the last team finishing in 30 hours.”

Expedition Africa will organise the first two events on the calendar, so that the team can then shift their focus on the Adventure Racing World Championship in October.

“We are excited to revisit two venues that we last visited in 2011 and 2013 during the first and third Expedition Africa 500 km adventure races,” said Expedition Africa’s Heidi Muller.

“Mnweni Valley is a special place close to the escarpment bordering Lesotho and opens up magnificent trekking and mountain biking routes through rural villages.  Hermanus and the Stanford give us access to mountains, beaches and amazing gravel bike routes,” she continued.  

The Africa Adventure Racing Series is once again sponsored by shoe and clothing apparel company Merrell.

“We are excited and enthusiastic to sponsor the ARWS Africa Series, and look forward to conveying the Merrell brand message of “to share the simple power of being outside” with everyone.  Thus, being the catalyst for change, and helping to make the outside more welcoming, safer, and more inclusive for all.  The outside should be a place where everyone feels they belong,” enthused David Palmer, Managing Director of Medicus Shoes, distributor of Merrell footwear in South Africa.

The full calendar for 2023 is as follows:

  1. Expedition Africa – Mnweni, Drakensberg: 24 – 26 Feb
  2. Expedition Africa – Hermanus, Western Cape: 24 – 26 March
  3. Mammoth Woodridge AR – Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape: 21 – 23 April
  4. No Frills, No Fuss – Montagu, Western Cape: 16 – 18 June
  5. Merrell Transkei Tuff – The Haven, Wild Coast: 28 – 30 July
  6. Expedition Africa (Championship Final) – Kouga, Eastern Cape. 17-29 Oct

Three racing distances will be on offer to cater for all abilities at the series races to ensure there are opportunities for all skill levels to be part of adventure racing in Africa.

  1. 24 to 40 HOURS (+/- 200 KM)
  2. 12 to 24 HOURS (+/- 120 KM)
  3. 6 to 12 HOURS (+/- 60 KM)

Plan your 2023 and get your teams ready!

Its time for Africa!