FEAT 2015 speakers

The speakers at FEAT on Thursday, 8 October 2015 are:

  • Andrew Porter – ‘Going solo’
  • Bernie Theron – ‘An undying head wind’
  • Colin & Bianca Cooper – ‘Back to basics Qhubeka expeditions’
  • Duncan Paul – ‘A race within a race – Yukon 1000’
  • Hazel Moller – ‘Running and running’
  • Jean Craven – ‘Weather, currents, animals and politics’
  • Keegan Longueira – ‘Cairo to Cape Town in record time’
  • Nic Good – ‘Adventuretainment’
  • Peter van Kets – ‘Dogs, ice and polar bears’
  • Tim Biggs – ‘Rivers and expeditions’

Andrew has been exploring mountains his whole life. He began with orienteering in high school and varsity and only later discovered rock climbing and trail running.
Andrew’s climbing highlights include a visit to Yosemite where he free climbed the north-west face of Half Dome with Hector Pringle and also climbed The Nose in one day with Hector and Clinton Martinengo.
An accomplished mountain and ultra-distance runner, Andrew has won and held course records (since broken) at the Mnweni Marathon, Skyrun and X-Berg. In 2009 he was the first person to complete a solo speed Drakensberg Grand Traverse with a time of 61.5 hours. He returned to the DGT in June this year and completed the route solo in 45 hours.
Andrew has the ability to move swiftly on foot and to just keep going. “For some silly reason I also have the ability to put up with a degree of suffering through choosing to pack light and leave crucial gear at home,” he laughs.
Andrew’s long-term goal is to combine his two activities of climbing and running into an adventure.
At FEAT, Andrew speaks about his solo adventures and the mind games of being alone in wild places.

Bernie grew up in the flat terrain of Pretoria and over time discovered the idea of adventure through Drakensberg trips and weekends of climbing with family and friends.
“When I finished school I headed out in search for my own kind of adventures,” he says, “which led me to the Cape Fold Mountains, Iceland, the Alps and beyond.”
Bernie won Mountain Club’s Supertramp 2014 award and the Nightjar Adventurer of the Year Award 2014/2015. He received these awards for his solo, unsupported trek across Iceland in the winter of 2014. At the time Bernie was 19.
“My naivety took me through 27-solitary days of hiking and this trip tested my body, mind and skills to the utmost. It was an interesting journey with a lot of twist and turns, which made me fall even more in love with the idea of solo adventures. This leaves me with only two questions – what is next and when?”
Bernie will do a double FEATure speaking at FEAT Kids and FEAT.

In 1979 Colin escaped England for South Africa on a three-year engineering contract. He never returned to the UK and has now lived longer in Africa than in Europe. For Colin, work was a means to an end. After 30 years of hard work he retired at 50.
“This has meant,” Colin says, “that since retirement day over 10 years ago, there has not been enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.”
After three decades of long-distance running, Colin’s bones are no longer up to the impact. He started cycling and for three years he has only been riding his steel-frame, single-speed Qhubeka bicycle on which he has logged 30,000 kilometres.
Colin, with his daughter Bianca, has completed five ‘back-to-basics’ Qhubeka expeditions. “We hope to do many more,” he says.

Forced by her parents to spend as much time on outdoor activities as possible, Bianca has developed a strong ability to be able to look after herself in tough circumstances.
Bianca works extraordinary hours as an Emergency Unit Doctor and Regional Manager for ER Consulting.
She only started cycling seriously about five years ago and has developed three riding ‘styles’:
1. Qhubeka biking ridiculous distances with her Dad
2. Riding her carbon single-speed at MTB races
3. Using an indoor trainer for most of her training
When not riding her bike she can be found riding her horse, Franc.
Bianca, together with her sister Lene, maintains their website (www.heavymetalbikes.co.za) and, like her dad, she likes REAL beer, red wine, cheese, peanut butter and proper bread.

Duncan only started ‘adventuring’ 15 years ago.
“Building a career, business, family and the costs are the main reasons that I’m a late starter. What is significant is that I have lead a hugely active life since my teens, ” he explains.
Duncan has climbed Meru Peak in the Himalayas and also Kilimanjaro three times. He has skied the Last Degree to the South Pole, dog-sledded 260km to the North Pole, trekked the remote rain forests of the Congo River Basin, paddled the Arctic North on the edge of the pack ice looking for polar bears and kayaked 700km of the Zambezi River. In 2014, in a double kayak, Duncan paddled the Yukon River for the second time; this time for the Yukon 1000, a 1600-kilometre unsupported race through the Canadian and Alaskan Wilderness.
“Whilst my motto is ‘Do it while I can and it is still there’, age dictates that the pace may be slower but the distances can be longer!” he says.

Looking at her long-distance running achievements you’d never guess that Hazel wasn’t always a runner.
“I like to think that my tenacity and will to fight comes growing up on the Bluff in Durban, where everything was a struggle and nothing came naturally,” she says. She moved to Jo’burg in 1994 after graduating as a chemical engineer. “Prior to this my sporting achievements were zero,” she says.
New to Jo’burg, Hazel took up aerobics at the local gym to meet people. She loved it and within a year got her instructor qualification. To keep fit she started running on weekends.
In 1999 Hazel ran her first Comrades Marathon; she has run 14 more since. While running the Bergville to Ladysmith Ultra in 2001, she met Chris – they married three months later. They have two daughters and Hazel ran through both pregnancies, up to the day before each baby was born.
In the years since running her first Washie 100 miler in 2001, Hazel has completed 26 100-mile races! Her proudest results include the winning the Midlands 100-miler in 2005 outright – against men and women, a Washie double in 2013 (in 42 hours she covered 322km) and her Ten10 challenge this year, where Hazel ran the equivalent of 10 Comrades Marathons in 10 days.

“I am not an athletic person – I have been asthmatic since childhood. But,” she says, “I train hard because I love running.”

At FEAT Hazel speaks to us about running ultras… and getting up the next day and the next and the next to run another.

While on honeymoon in 2000, Jean stood on the Rock of Gibraltar looking across the water to Morocco. “I’m sure I can swim this,” he thought.
Nine years later, a bet of R100,000 saw him swim the 17km Strait of Gibraltar in just over four hours. He donated the money to the children’s charity fundraising NPO he founded, Madswimmer.
Since 2009, Madswimmer’s swimmers have successfully completed the six recognised intercontinental swims with Jean being the only one to do all six. He has faced freezing waters, crocodiles, sharks and killer whales.
When he’s not swimming, Jean is a husband, father and Director at two international companies in Johannesburg. The swims happen in between. “However,” he says, “these swims make up the other 100% of my life”.

Keegan’s biking expeditions began in December 2011 when he used his year-end university holiday to cycle from his home in Witbank to Cape Town, a journey that took him 22 days. He repeated the 1,800-kilometre ride the next year but with only two weeks available, he put in more mileage each day and wrapped up the journey in 10 days. And he did it again in December 2013 – meandering route that took him 14 days.
And then… Keegan announced his new project: a biking expedition from Cairo to Cape Town, which he began on 2 January this year. He was chasing Robert Knoll’s World Record of 70 days.
From early on, Keegan was plagued by injury and skin infections and by the time he reached Sudan, it looked like his record opportunity was lost. Four-days behind record pace, he cut out planned rest days to make up distance. He crossed Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana before eventually arriving back in South Africa. En-route Keegan suffered from diarrhoea, severe sun burn, cramps and dehydration, survived a near robbery at knife point (twice), was spat on in Ethiopia and hit with rocks thrown by children. 59 days, 8 hours and 30 minutes after setting off from Cairo, Keegan reached Cape Town and clocked a new World Record time.
At FEAT Kids and FEAT Keegan speaks to us about this expedition.

Nic is a directing cameraman. He is as comfortable in an editing studio as he is underwater, in the sky, on the sea or hanging on a rock face.
20-years ago Nic started his company Fresh Air Crew to shoot and direct a mountaineering expedition to Patagonia. His first documentary won at the Banff International Mountain Film Festival and led to him developing a niche in the adventure-documentary market.
Nic’s skills as a cameraman and director have been instrumental in the development and filming of numerous prestigious international adventure events and award-winning documentaries globally.
Some of his award winning films are ‘Oceans of Fear’, ‘San Valentin’, ‘Desert Friction’, ’90 Minutes Closer to Antigua’, ‘Africa Fusion’, ‘Flying Dagger’ and ‘Heaven’s Gate’.
At FEAT Nic gives us a glimpse into the making of award-winning films as he explores his theme of ‘Adventuretainment’.

Peter made his name in the world of extreme adventure by winning the pairs division of the 5500km unsupported Woodvale Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race in 2008. He returned to the race in 2010 – this time solo. He spent 76 days alone in a seven-meter rowing boat and crossed the Atlantic unsupported. Pete spoke at the first FEAT event in Jo’burg in October 2010 and at the first FEAT Cape Town in February 2011.
Together with Braam Malherbe, Pete raced across Antarctica to the South Pole during an unsupported, 888-kilometre event in 2011 that commemorated Scott and Amundsen’s journeys 100 years ago.
Only a few months ago Pete headed again for snow and ice – this time North to the Arctic. He travelled to Svalbard with his Norwegian expedition partner Håvard Svidal. They sailed across the Barents Sea and spent 12-days trekking and skiing around the Svalbard Islands with a pack of sledding dogs.
This year Pete returns to FEAT not only as a speaker, but also as our MC. We’ve given Simon Gear, who has MCd FEAT for the past three years, the night off to enjoy FEAT in the audience with his family and Pete will take the reins to guide us through this extraordinary evening of talks.

Tim’s passion – since his university days in the mid-70s – has been canoe racing. Tim represented South Africa at canoe marathon races around Europe, won the Dusi Canoe Marathon a few times and has completed numerous international kayaking expeditions.
Tim writes about some of his expeditions in his self-published book, ‘Three Rivers of the Amazon’, a story of his adventures paddling the three main tributaries of the Amazon River: Urubamba River (1981), the Apurimac River (1985) and the Maranon River (2004).
Between these expeditions Tim worked as a geologist and then as a timber farmer to raise his family – three sons and a daughter – and to fund other kayaking expeditions to Alaska, Colca Canyon, Peru, the Himalayas and a host of rivers around Africa like the Zambezi and Congo.
After 20 years of timber farming in the Natal Midlands, Tim and his wife Margie moved to Hout Bay where Tim restarted his career in Engineering Geology. He upskilled by completing an MSc in 2014 and has been working on projects in South America and Africa.
“My passion is painting, trail running in the mountains, surf skiing and kayaking,” he says. Tim is also involved with outreach projects in the Hout Bay townships.