This one’s for iron men

Mark Collins, left, will share his adventure racing story at the festival
Mark Collins, left, will share his adventure racing story at the festival

If you thought Ironman was hectic, think again because Expedition Racing is arguably “the toughest sport on earth”.

“Imagine doing the Comrades, the Duzi Canoe Marathon and the Cape Argus all back to back, without stopping, three times over and doing this all off-road where the course can include caving, climbing, glacier crossing and ocean paddling.

“That is a bit what expedition racing is like,” says Knysna-based racer Mark Collins.

Collins is captain of crack expedition racing squad Team Sanlam Painted Wolf and will talk about his racing career at the Knysna Literary Festival. The team includes Collins, his brother John, Robyn Owen and Andre Gie.

As he will explain in colourful detail on the day, adventure racing is a multi-discipline endurance sport where competitors compete in teams, navigating from control point to control point in a number of disciplines. These include mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, rope work and orienteering.

“Expedition Racing is arguably the toughest sport on earth. Typically four person teams race non-stop and unsupported for up to 200 hours over mountains, rivers, jungles deserts and in the ocean,” said Collins. “To be successful racers need to learn to race beyond their limits of physical and mental exhaustion.”

He has been racing for 18 years, and will share what he has learned along the way, the strategies and how small things make a big difference.

Collins will also recount the team’s recent performance in the Adventure Racing World Championships in Australia, how a small town got behind a team with big ambitions and the team’s ongoing quest to be the world’s number one.

The talk is on Sunday, March 19 at 11.30am at Conrad Pezula.

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