The X-Berg Challenge is one of South Africa’s most epic adventure races. With a variety of disciplines, strategies, and routes to choose from, this unique race welcomes athletes who like to dabble in many different forms of fitness challenges.
The X-Berg Challenge is split into two separate races – the X-Berg Extreme Challenge, a four day race, and the X-Berg Mini, which takes place over two days. Both races follow the same format through the exquisite grand plateau of the Drakensberg.
The X-Berg Challenge is an unusual yet thrilling journey, testing both physical endurance and mental capability. Participants can choose to enter as a trail runner, mountain biker, paraglider, or all three if they so wish. Mixed disciplines are welcomed and encouraged as each option allows for a new experience through the rugged and raw grasslands and mountains of the Drakensberg.
The challenge is for participants to plan their own trails before the race and self-navigate using GPS to reach pre-determined turning points leading to the finish line. Furthermore, athletes can decide to complete the race as a solo competitor or as a relay team. Support is offered in two forms, either as a second, a friend or family member that uses live satellite tracking to answer the call to aid, or athletes can make use of supply boxes located at each turning point.
“I decided to do a mixed relay purely to optimize how I could cover the terrain best,” said David Barkhuisen, a mixed discipline athlete from the 2017 and 2018 race editions. “In 2018 I kept with mixed discipline as certain sections are faster with certain disciplines and I believed it was the quickest way.”
After four demanding yet invigorating days running through pathless forests and cycling for miles across untapped natural landscapes, David and his relay partner Piers Pirow crossed the finish line in second place and won the relay mixed discipline section of the X-Berg Challenge 2017 edition.
“I was able to get to know a few parts of the Drakensberg which I had not explored and learnt that the parts where others rarely tread are sometimes the best parts…as an adventure racer I am used to multi discipline and sometimes changing from foot to bike is as refreshing as a good nap.”
The X-Berg Extreme Challenge and the X-Berg Mini will be back for the 2020 adventure race editions. The Extreme Challenge is set to kick off on the 24th to the 29th of March, and the Mini on the 26th to the 29th of March. With the awe-inspiring Drakensberg as your fitness playground, a grand voyage of self-discovery and physical achievement is on the cards.