History of Team Sanlam Painted Wolf

22 August, 2016

Team Sanlam Painted Wolf - The team that will compete in the World Championships

South African Adventure Racing Team Sanlam Painted Wolf resurfaced on the Adventure Racing Scene earlier this year by competing and winning the Expedition Africa after a few years of focusing on other endeavours.

With the financial support of the local Featherbed Company they entered a team of four strong and experienced individuals: Mark Collins -Team Captain, his brother John Collins – Navigator, Jeannie Dreyer (Bomford) – Team Mainstay and last but not least local NSRI member Darren Berry, who competed in his very first Adventure Race, replacing Team member Andre Gie who was not available to race due to other commitments. Darren proved himself incredibly strong – physically and in his mind.

The win at Expedition Africa secured the team an entry to the Adventure Racing World Championships which will take place later this year in Australia. The team is committed and is busy preparing for this big international race – however some changes in the team have had to take place.

Mark and John Collins will remain the core of the Team Sanlam Painted Wolf. Andre Gie will take his position back from Darren and Darren will be the team’s Reserve. Jeannie Dreyer injured her ankle during Expedition Africa and her ankle has not healed sufficiently to start the high impact training process that is required to prepare for World Championships. Robyn Owen will fill her position in the team.

Read below what Team Sanlam Painted Wolf Captain Mark Collins had to say when he learned that Jeannie was not able to be part of the team.

“July for me, like for many, was a feast of cycling on television. Once, whilst tuned into Super Cycling, I heard Andrew McClain make the statement that Martin Dreyer was the toughest athlete he ever met. Coming from Andrew, that is no small commendation. I got all sentimental at this statement, tears even. You see I have been privileged enough to witness Martins metal first hand and yes Martin does define the word tough for me too. If Martin is rivalled for the title of toughest athlete his greatest challenger may come from within his own home. What Jeannie Dreyer went through to finish expedition Africa this year was beyond remarkable. On the trekking leg on day one of the 500km event Jeannie sprained her ankle. This would have ended anyone else’s race. How she got up and finished the rest of the 400km of the race I will never know but it is one of the most remarkable displays of fortitude I have ever seen. And she did it all only so we could finish the race. On Monday last week Jeannie informed me that she felt her ankle still hadn’t recovered sufficiently for her to train on it and had decided to withdraw from the Team Sanlam Painted Wolf for The Adventure Racing World Championships in Australia. To me it came like a blow to the solar plexus. After the highs I had been on over the weekend since learning that a group of Knysna Businessmen had clubbed together to sponsor our team to the World Championship it dropped me right back down again. I had leveraged all my future racing aspirations on racing with Jeannie. But every cloud has a silver lining and in our case it is a very, very silver lining. Jeannie suggested that I contact Robyn Owen (Kime) to see if she was interested in racing with us.

Robyn needs no introduction from me. At twenty six she is almost half my age and already accomplished ten times what I ever did in the endurance world. With no fewer than five Duzi Canoe Marathon titles under the belt and the top finish for the South African Woman’s Trail Running Team at World Champs making up just a few of the highlights. Having raced with Team Merrell she also has raced at the top level in Adventure Racing. That said Robyn does however have some big shoes to fill. In my racing career I have been blessed with the opportunity to race with the best; Jeannie Dreyer, Tatum Loftus, Emma Roca, Robyn Benincasa and my long time team mate Michelle Lombardi. If anyone can fill these girls’ shoes however Robyn can and now absolutely I can’t wait to race with her.” - Mark Collins

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