Change a Life Academy
30 Aug 2018
Written by: Nick Tatham
Brilliant SA Champs performance from Merchants CAL stars
Pietermaritzburg – Merchants Change a Life Academy athlete Hlelani
Radebe snatched a stunning fifth at the recent South Africa Obstacle
Course Racing Championships, race five of the Toyota Warrior Race
Series, and with it a qualifying slot for the World Championships in the
The result and an opportunity to represent South Africa is a defining
moment for Radebe who, along with the rest of the CAL team, has come a
long way since they took on their first Warrior Race in 2016.
Change a Life Academy founder Martin Dreyer has never cotton-wooled his
athletes and it didn’t come harder than a Black Ops Elite race to start.
“In Black Ops Elite if you cannot do an obstacle then you are
disqualified,” Dreyer said. “I threw the team right into the deep end
and none of them managed to finish their first race. I under estimated
truly how tough it was.”
“We realised then that this was no tea party!
“After that first race we went home and worked harder for the next one,
but again no one was able to finish that race either!”
Having been unable to complete their first two races the team returned
to the drawing board; however a wonderful opportunity arose after Dreyer
met with Warrior Race star Claude Eksteen.
“On the way home from our second race I met Claude (who had just won the
race) and he told me that he had his own obstacle course.
“Adventure Obstacle Training is where he hosts team building and
training groups and he generously offered my guys an opportunity to
train there once a week.
“After a lot of strength and technique training we went to the third
race of the series ever hopeful. What a relief, two guys successfully
completed the brutal Black Ops Elite course.
The hard work paid off and by the end of 2016, we had eight of the ten
guys finishing!” Dreyer added.
The improvement from the Change a Life athletes has been exponentially
consistent, with 2017 witnessing some podium finishers from the Change a
Life camp a feat that Dreyer is proud of.
“All of the Warrior Races are unique. Different trail running terrain,
obstacles and conditions.
“We have been producing consistently good results and to have a bunch of
guys in the top 10 and everyone finishing shows how much they have
All of the hard work and training from the team built up to the recent
national championships which saw three of the Merchants Change a Life
stars finish in the top ten.
Radebe finished in fifth place overall with Maswenkosi Mtolo in seventh
and Mzamo Zondi coming home in tenth place.
Radebe will now join the rest of the South African team for the World
Championships and following his incredible rise through the ranks he
wants to continue improving.
“My life has changed a lot because I am more independent now and I
support my family at home” he said.
“My brother Raymond and I get support from the team through food parcels
and that helps a lot at home. In my community there are less kids
getting involved in drug use and more kids getting involved in sport,
following our footsteps.
“I am so grateful to those people and my sponsors that have supported me
and I am proud of my result at the South African championships.
“I hope to eventually win a Warrior race, as I’ve come close on numerous
occasions. Then encourage others to come try it out.”
download the hi-resolution pic
Change a Life
Academy logo - jpeg
Young Merchants Change a Life
athlete Hlelani Radebe has qualified for the South African team to go to
the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in the United Kingdom
later this year.
It has been a quick rise to
the top for Merchants Change a Life athlete Hlelani Radebe who has
qualified for the South African team to go to the Obstacle Course Racing
World Championships in the United Kingdom.
Pictured with Merchants Change
a Life Academy founder Martin Dreyer is Warrior Race star Hlelani Radebe,
who has qualified for the South African team for the Obstacle Course
Racing World Championships in the United Kingdom later this year.
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