Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge a muddy success

Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge 2014 by Jacques MaraisSabrina Love MTB by Jacques MaraisFew backdrops can compare with the scenic natural grandeur of Plettenberg Bay, and so it’s no wonder that a record field flocked onto the Garden Route to take part in the ever-popular Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge. Thousands of athletes, weekend warriors, and celebrity sports stars lined up for the eleventh Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge, competing in a diverse range of events, including open-ocean swimming, trail running, mountain biking, beach walks, and a Kids of Steel mini-duathlon.

The annual Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge, sponsored by Stonehage and Discovery, once again enthralled locals and visitors to Plettenberg Bay. This premier Bitou town has firmly established itself as an unparalleled adventure centre along the Garden Route, with the multi-day Sabrina Love event further confirming its status as a tourism town for outdoor enthusiasts of _DSC7057all ages.

Presented every year at the end of December by the respected event-coordination team of Magnetic South, the Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge offers family fun to outdoor-minded residents and visitors. With a total of eight events over two days, it delivers fresh air fun for all levels and ages of sport lovers.

The event was first conceptualised by local business entrepreneurs Tony and Suzy Lubner in 2003, in memory of their daughter Sabrina who passed away after succumbing to a rare bone-marrow disorder. More than a decade on, Sabrina Love has become one of the premier fundraisers supporting families and children with physical disabilities in the Bitou Region.

Sabrina Love Foundation children give out medals

Athlete Chantel Nienaber explains why she is a dedicated Sabrina Love participant: “One of the reasons why the Sabrina Love foundation is so close to my heart, is because my husband also struggles with a disability. I think that we able-bodied people generally take so much for granted, assuming that we’ll wake up tomorrow being able to do all of what we did today. I’ve come to realise that it can all be taken away from us the blink of an eye. Many of these children may have been neglected at home, not having the necessary resources and infrastructure to support and educate them.

“Tony and Suzy are doing an awesome job. Their commitment and passion for the charity is evident in their personal involvement with many of the kids.”

TSabrina Love trail run by Glenn Murraywo events centres – Central Beach and the prestigious Kurland Polo Estate – boast routes perfect for trail running, mountain biking, surf-ski paddling and open-ocean swimming. In the words of event director Mark Collins, of Magnetic South: “Few other destinations in South Africa offer such varied and naturally scenic landscape as Plettenberg Bay, and it is easy to see why so many people return again and again to participate in the Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge”.

Competitors and supporters could rub shoulders with South Africa’s outdoor sporting elite: Ryan Sandes, Vanessa Haywood, Gary Player, Chad Ho, Chantel Nienaber, Nick Bester. The gold around the edges of an already fantastic event.

Chantel Nienaber made the biggest splash, coming second in the women’s 10km trail (48 minutes) and 10km road (44 minutes). Yet again, Chad Ho won the 5km ocean challenge in 1 hour 7 minutes. Aside from winning, Chad shared his swimming tips with other swimmers on the main beach as a swimming clinic.

Well done to the organisers and swimmers for staying safe. Guiding and monitoring 200 competitors in the ocean is difficult to pull off.

The runs had the biggest fields, with 800 competitors on the road and 600 on the muddy trails.

The cherry on top after two perfect days of outdoor fun was a performance by Tigger of the Sabrina Song, ably accompanied by the celebrated Plett Field Band. Although all the moneys raised need to still be tallied, Event Organiser Christine Collins expects that the event to raised well over R1,000,000 for charity in total.

_DSC5386Day 1 Results

10km Run Male

1. Ryan Eichstadt 41:33
2. Mark Tatlow 41:39
3. Kei Heyns 42:41

10km Run Female

1. Kate Dixon 42:09
2. Chantel Nienaber 44:43
3. Mitsie van der Westhuizen 46:10

15km Paddle Single

1. Michelle Eray 1:07:43
2. Ted Walburger 1:12:00
3. Simon Grout 1:12:14

15km Paddle Double

1. Giovanni Primo & Andrew Beverage 1:03:10
2. Nick Bester & Danie van Wyk 1:06:13
_DSC56263. Andreas Van Tonder & Greyling Viljoen 1:06:47

6km Ocean Swim – Unassisted

1. Chad Ho 1:07:38
2. Terry Heller 1:12:37
3. Rudi Schoeman 1:19:05

6km Ocean Swim – Unassisted Female

1. Emma Kiely 1:18:52
2. Carlyn Fischer 1:25:04
3. Jodie Winterton 1:27:49Chad Ho winner of 6km Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge

5km Ocean Swim – Assisted

1. Berenice Chabanel 1:00:28
2. Roger Bester 1:25:25
3. JC van Wyk 1:27:24

Day 2 Results

10km Trail Run Male

1. Andrew Le Roux 42:39
2. Adam Reilly 44:18
3. Murray Beattie 45:38

10km Trail Run Female

1. Megan Leslie 48:04
2. Chantel Nienaber 48:32
3. Liza Kingston 50:34

6km Trail Run

1. Daniel Viljoen 25:16
2. Carina Viljoen 25:39
3. Oliver Pritchard 26:35

25km MTB Male

1. Matthew Beers 1:02:55
2. Kevin Evans 1:11:33
3. Daniel Newman 1:16:53

25km MTB Female

Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge by Glenn Murray1. Amy Williams 1:38:14
2. Malandi Du Toit 1:43:03
3. Fiona Nichol 1:59:11

900m Lake Swim

1. Sarah-Jane Walker 11:26
2. Rudi Schoeman 12:02
3. Eune Odendaal 12:04

For the full results, visit esctiming

Official website of the Sabrina Love Foundation

Images courtesy of Jacques Marais and Glenn Murray

Sabrina Love MTB by Jacques Marais

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