Staged in the South African winter the race must surely be one of the most testing mountain bike races in the world. Some riders race against each other; others just simply look to finish within the 26 day cut off.
Riders will battle with the elements, including freezing winter temperatures and snow. Others will battle with injuries or mechanical failures. All of them tested physically and emotionally in ways that they have not previously experienced, whether they be Freedom Challenge novices or veteran campaigners. The true test of each of them lies in how they respond to the challenge. So not only is it a journey across the country but it is a journey into the soul.
The one particular section of the race is only 6 km long but routinely takes 7-11 hours to traverse. Routinely is perhaps not the best word as only 40 riders have ever finished the race to claim a blanket. A Basutu initiation blanket is given to all finishers of the race, whether you are first in 15 days or crawl home just inside the 26 day cut-off. With a blanket as the only reward, it is not the purse that attracts riders to this race but the challenge of pushing your mind and body to their limits. The true satisfaction of this race is not always realised during the event but afterwards when you realise that you have been a part of something special. Its a journey into the soul.”
Marnitz achieved this in more ways than one, he made his journey count, he made a difference. His journey raised enough funds to put 2 children through surgery and give them back their right to a Smile
But it does not stop this year – he is now upping the game and competition.
“ It will be a stiff challenge this year as I will be competing against Tim James the current record holder, Glenn Harrison single speed record holder and seven summits Alex Harris and a bunch of other guys. All of them very tough competitors, physical and mental wise, we all treat each other with great respect and it is a great honour to compete against them.”
Lets make Marnitz journey count – support him in this massive challenge setting out to once again make a difference.