FEAT Cape Town, 12.02.2011

  • Allyson Towle & Marc Booysens: ‘Are you ready?’
  • Benita de Witt: ‘Barefoot running’
  • Braam Malherbe: ‘A cause beyond only my own ego’
  • Hanli Prinsloo: ‘The seal within’
  • Johnny Cronje: ‘Good advice and other fallacies’
  • Monde Sitole: ‘Tall tales of tall ships’
  • Nick Bennett: ‘Survivor-style island revelations’
  • Peter van Kets: ‘Fear’
  • Tatum Prins: ‘Australia’s stinging trees’

Allyson Towle & Marc Booysen
18-months ago Allyson went through divorce; she began training in earnest. A recreational mountain biker at the time, she began speaking to her trainer, Marc Booysen, a climber, about doing ‘something’ in South America. As the months passed, they settled on combining their disciplines for a sea-to-summit attempt on Ojos del Salado (Chile), the highest active volcano in the world (6900m). Until April 2010, Allyson had never climbed much more than a flight of stairs and Marc had not been on a bicycle since tyres were solid rubber! They successfully completed their ‘Andean Giant Expedition’ in January 2011. The Andean Giant Expedition on Facebook
Benita de Witt, physiotherapist
A sports physio with extensive experience, Benita has dedicated her life to finding the best way to save athletes from chronic injuries. This journey lead her to create the Lyno Method®, a technique that finds the cause of an injury, eliminates the cause, builds up the neutral athlete and keeps them free of injury. Benita focuses on teaching the Lyno Method® to physiotherapists, chiropractors, biokineticists and massage therapists. She uses barefoot running in her injury-prevention arsenal. www.lynosport.co.za
Braam Malherbe, long-distance runner
In 2006, going against advice from top medical and sport experts, Braam Malherbe and running partner David Grier achieved a world first by running the entire length of the Great Wall of China (4218km) at a pace of a marathon a day for 98 days. This expedition funded the inaugural mission for Operation Smile in South Africa, an international charity that providing corrective surgery for children born with cleft lip and cleft palate disfigurements. Only two years later in 2008, Braam and David completed another world first by running a ‘Smile around South Africa’, following the entire coastline from Namibia to Mocambique (3278km). Through these achievements, over R2.5 million was raised for Operation Smile. Braam is an Operation Smile ambassador, a presenter on SABC2’s nature programme 50/50 and he was named the ‘Men’s Health Unsung Hero for 2010’. www.braammalherbe.com
Hanli Prinsloo, freediver
Hanli is an eight-times South African Freediving Record Holder, filmmaker and avid ocean adventurer. She has a background in acting, documentary filmmaking as well as over a decade in competitive freediving. Hanli focuses her energy on the ocean, surfing, sailing, conservation and freediving and through her sport she has trained an array of top athletes – from rugby players, to swimmers and surfers. She teaches mental toughness, mind-over-body control and mindfulness. Hanli’s work with the world’s best Big Wave Surfers has won her international recognition and acclaim. She has been nominated for the Cosmo Awesome Women of the Year Awards, Outthere Adventurer of the Year, G-Sport’s Women in Sport as well as a ‘strider’ in the Johnny Walker Celebrating Strides Awards. www.hanliprinsloo.com
Johnny Johnny Cronje, mountain unicyclist
Johnny Cronje and his Team CounterBalance teammate, Alan Read, don’t really see what the fuss is around their common interest: mountain unicycling. They are the founders of the CounterBalance Trust, an organisation that uses the sport of extreme unicycling for social development within South Africa. Their first project, The Freedom Revolution Unicycle Tour, began on 27 November 2010. They cycled from Durban to Cape Town, through the rural interior, taking 44 days to cover 2473km, almost entirely off road on specialised ‘one-wheel cycles’. With their first expeditions successfully completed, they’re already planning their next! www.counterbalance.co.za
Monde Sitole
In 2009, Monde Sitole was one of 10 young South Africans selected by the Cape Windjammers Education Trust to attend school onboard a Canadian tall ship (sails and all!), which they sailed from Cape Town to Bermuda. Along with 25 Canadian students, Monde spent three months onboard this elegant ship. On his return, he applied to be part of Mike Horn’s Pangaea Expedition Young Explorers Program (YEP). Horn selects young adults from around the world to accompany him on sections of this four-year journey across continents so that they can “experience and explore the natural world, learn about its challenges, find possible solutions, and above all, act swiftly to help change things for the better”. Monde’s application was successful and he went to Switzerland to meet Mike Horn and to participate in the 10-day YEP selection camp; he did not make the final team of eight. Monde aims to knock off the Seven Summits (he has done Kili; Aconcagua is on the cards for January 2011) as well as to ski to the North and South Poles. www.mondewalks.com
Nick Bennett, island ‘survivor’
Nick Bennett is an aspiring mountain bum from Cape Town. Until he spent 25 days on an uninhabited island with only the clothes on his back and a five-litre bag containing essentials, Nick’s greatest adventure had been summiting Mt Kilimanjaro. As a participant in ‘Life 2 the Limit’, a Survivor-style concept – sans cameracrew and games – Nick initially found himself on the South-east Asia island with nine other people; numbers diminished as the weeks passed. Even though they were in an environment that was more cooperative than competitive, food was scarce and conditions were challenging. This experience made Nick realise that he needs to be more proactive in leading an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and that much of his consumption is not based on necessity, but on the ‘distraction’ value that it offers.
Peter van Kets, Trans-Atlantic rower & adventurer
Peter is a professional adventurer and public speaker. A qualified teacher, he is married to Kim (also an accomplished athlete) and they have a daughter, Hannah. Although Peter has been part of many expeditions, he made his mark in the world of adventure by winning the 5,438km unsupported Atlantic Rowing Race 2007/8 (pairs) with friend Bill Godfrey. As if rowing the Atlantic once wasn’t enough, he returned in early 2010 to place second in the solo category and to become the first African to row any ocean solo and unsupported. He also won the prestigious Eastern Cape Sports Star of the Year (2007) Award – Premiers Award. In Nov 2010, Pete cycled 1700km through the Namib desert and in 2012 he will begin a traverse of the Tropic of Capricorn without the use of motorised transport, a 37,500km epic adventure. www.petervankets.com
Tatum Prins
In 2003 Tatum (aka Hobbit) returned from years of travel and working in the bush to wanting only one thing: to be an adventure racer. Her dream began then and still lives on as she is now one of SA’s top female adventure racers. It has taken her to five World Championships and seven countries competing against the best. She has mountain biked, trekked and paddled through jungles and deserts, over mountains and across lochs. She has endured seven days of non-stop racing with only five hours sleep as well as extreme highs and lows with her team mates in areas where people have never set foot. For Tatum, adventure racing keeps life in perspective. She has also ascended Platteklip nine times in one day – between sunrise and sunset! Racing is, for her, all about the passion and living in the now.