Western Cape trail aces ready for Rhino Peak Challenge

Photo - Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media

Combining her passion for trail running, conservation and the Southern Drakensberg at the 2016 Rhino Peak Challenge on Thursday 22 September excites former paddler turned trail runner and adventure racer, Robyn Owen.

Having originally hailed from Pietermaritzburg and spent much time racing on the uMzimkhulu River during her paddling days, Owen returns from her new Stellenbosch base alongside a string of top Western Cape runners.

Owen, Christiaan and Landie Greyling – both also from Stellenbosch – as well as Cape Town’s Meg MacKenzie and Nic de Beer represent a little under half of the field of twelve elite trail runners that will join another twelve influential people on World Rhino Day for the Rhino and Bearded Vulture awareness and fund raising event.

“I’m very excited to be part of this unique event and to help support such a great cause,” explains Owen.

“Conservation is something I’m quite passionate about as I love the outdoors and I certainly don’t want my grandchildren growing up in a concrete jungle.”

Having won the Southern Berg’s region’s major canoe river marathon – the N3TC Drak Challenge – in 2012, the coveted FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon no fewer than five times between 2010 and 2014 as well as the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon in 2009 and 2010, Owen’s paddling prowess was undoubted.

Trail running and adventure racing are however where the Best 4 Sports/Team Painted Wolf athlete recently discovered her true sporting passion.

Having excelled on the trails both locally and abroad, Owen is now eager to summit the iconic landmark, this time taking in the distinctive atmosphere of the Rhino Peak Challenge along the way with her fellow trail running aces.

“I’ve been up Rhino Peak two or three times previously,” explains Owen. “When we were paddling the Drak Challenge we’d often make it a weekend of activity and combine some time on the river with a run up Rhino Peak.”

“The Rhino Peak Challenge will be a different type of event compared to the races we’re used to competing in.

“Usually you want to go as quickly as you can and for your nearest competitors to go slowly, so you often play a few mind games to try break the other runners down.

“In this event– where it’s just you against the clock rather than the other runners – you actually want everyone to go as quickly as they can though so that together, we can all raise as much money as possible.

“I think it will actually be quite a social atmosphere going up, perhaps some people may even work together a little bit, and then everyone will probably go their separate ways and look to stretch things out a bit on the way back down.”

The 2016 Rhino Peak Challenge takes place on World Rhino Day on Thursday 22 September. To submit a pledge for Robyn Owen, or any of the elite competitors or influential people, and for more information, visit www.rhinopeakchallenge.co.za.