The Merchants Change a Life Running Team comprises of talented young athletes from the Valley of a Thousand Hills, KwaZulu-Natal who compete in the extreme ‘Black-Ops Elite’ category of the National Warrior Race Series. Change a Life sponsor, Merchants, commenced its support in 2016, providing additional funding and a vehicle to take the team to compete in events beyond KwaZulu-Natal.
Conquering Black Ops Elite
Having shifted their focus from the smaller local events to the Warrior Race Series across South Africa, the running team made impressive progress. The Black Ops Elite obstacle course involves 30 obstacles which pose the ultimate test of endurance and strength over a distance of 15 kms. From humble beginnings in 2016, when none of the athletes were able to complete the Black Ops course, the entire team has now mastered it.
The training is intense, flipping tyres, carrying drums, traversing across soccer goal posts, pullups in trees, jumping off Dam walls and hill repeats. Team members also train once a week at a Durban-based obstacle course run by SA triathlon Olympian Claude Eksteen which offers valuable technical training and team-building. The team also participates in local trail runs to allow runners a chance to compete who are not obstacle course specialists.
The team uses USN Cyto Power and Sports EnerG gels to refuel glycogen stores and increase stamina and endurance during training during racing.
The beneficiaries of Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy receive support and empowerment at a number of other levels apart from sport, including skills transfer and career development. The older participants play a valuable role supporting Martin in the management of sports events and as mentors to younger newcomers. Their association with the academy tends to improve their access to income-earning employment opportunities. All participants in the Change a Life Academy are role models in their communities, and their families benefit from monthly food parcels.
Martin and his team are immensely grateful for the support provided by USN.