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Overcoming obstacles

This past weekend I took on the Challenge of the Warrior Race with a team of 16 other brave and high-spirited Sleekgeeks. I took away a few lessons from the experience which I wanted to share with you.


If you were not aware obstacle racing has become all the rage. We raced as a team over 10km and 20 military style obstacles. To date we have only had Impi and Warrior Challenge available in SA. Very exciting new is that Sleekgeek partners Reebok are sponsors of the newly launched Spartan race. Entries are still open and it kicks off November 1 in JHB.  I will be there without a doubt!


So what did I learn this race with my awesome team?

  • You are probably capable of more than you think that you are

Many people believe they have certain limitations and often say things like “I could never do X”. Never is a long time. Erase the concept of never being able to so something from your internal monologue. We hear it all the time. We say it all the time. The fact is we often surprise ourselves when we realize we are more than capable. You are only allowed to say you have not done something yet.

Fiona Kritzinger, one of our warriors was so surprised at the end of the race that she remarked “wow I did not realize I was so strong.”

All through the day people achieved more then they thought that they could.

I personally conquered a few obstacles that were terrifying to me. The highlight was leaping across a muddy ditch to grab hold onto rope netting. The distance may have been 2 meters but in the run-up in looked like a canyon! I sprinted up and with all my might leapt and grabbed hold of the netting. I was so surprised when I had caught hold. After the shock of realizing I succeeded I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and accomplishment.

  • With a great team behind you, you can achieve more

My favourite aspect of these obstacle races is that unless you are elite the majority do these races in teams. For good reason. Some obstacles are simply beyond the reach of some individuals. Literally and figuratively. There is a “Chinese wall” for example that you need to climb over and if you are short it is very difficult to jump up and climb over alone. Especially for women with less upper body strength. With a team behind you, working with you and supporting they will lift you up and make sure you conquer the obstacles in your journey.

This is a key theme in the Sleekgeek community and one of our core principles. If you get involved with and commit to the Sleekgeek family you will not have to overcome your obstacles alone.

We are always here to lift you up.

  • Leave no Sleek behind

Sadly we did have one serious injury on the day. Sureen Herbst broke her arm in a rope climb. It was a freak thing but accidents do happen. After Sureen had fallen the entire team did not move or continue on the course while waiting for the medic van to arrive on the scene. Sometimes people in your team will stumble or falter and need your assistance. Make sure we never leave those people behind. Picking someone up is probably the greatest gift you can give them.

In the days after while Sureen was in hospital recovering from her operation quite a few sleeks and their families went along to pay her a visit. That is what Sleekgeek is all about! (link to SG code)

  • The best way through an obstacle is straight through it

I hate heights. Very much. Jumping off a high platform into a man made pit of muddy water is not my idea of fun. The platform jump at the Warrior race is intimidating and strikes fear in the hearts of many. The last time I did the Warrior last year it took me about 15 mins to talk myself off the very same platform. I very nearly never did it.

This time I was equally frightened. But I decided I needed to take control and this was not going to beat me. You can rationally think to yourself other people have jumped off there and nobody has died. But when you standing on that ledge all those rational thoughts disappear and your body and mind start to send you signals that say very loudly “NO WAY!”

This time I decided to just stop thinking. Step up and do it. No looking down. No hesitation. No pause. Just straight through it. It worked. After leaving the ledge I screamed with terror but once again I was overwhelmed with a feeling of achievement. I had the hugest smile on my face.

I left that mud pit feeling amped like a champ!


  • Being healthy is fun.

Do an obstacle race and you can fill in the blanks on this one 🙂

But seriously doing these things is such a rush and this includes less extreme activities like hiking too. Depending on your personal level a world of wonderful opportunities open up to you when you are fit and healthy.

Get healthy and explore that world!

Just a cautionary note that events like obstacle races do have their risks and like with many sports accidents can happen if you are not prepared. Keep it sensible.


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