Race Report: Stefan Lotter – GI Joe #4

In what was a great race to end of my 2017 OCR season, I was fortunate enough to win this weekend’s GI JOE Fish Eagle Clash – Commander Challenge at the Tikwe River Lodge in Virginia.

Like the previous battle, this time around the Commander Challenge was again a well-planned out course, where both man made rigs and natural obstacles were well optimized. The course really does not ensure a win to either the runner, the climber or the lifter until the very end. The running might be a bit flat, but fall no short of technical with numerous zig-zagging up and down the sides of the Sand River.

As the contenders of the Commander Challenge were set off at the start it was veteran GI Joe contender Pieter Brink who took the immediate lead, followed closely by Justin Landsberg (who is only 14-years old), Bernard van der Schyff, Hanneke Dannhauser, Mandi Landsberg and myself. After the first couple of obstacles – including the boot camp course (kind of like a sprint course) – the positions were more spread out across the field. With Justin taking the lead early from here on, Pieter and I spent a small part of the race in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. It was at the Building Ruins (a series of assault walls and windows to be cleared) where I managed to overtake him. Yet the young and talented runner Justin remained in the lead for the majority of the race.

For the greater part of the course Bernard and I switched between 2nd and 3rd place – he overtaking me somewhat at the running stretches and me overtaking him at the obstacles again. But it was again at the end of the course where the final 1km had a series of about 15 obstacles that were a mix of strength, balance and wet obstacles that I was able to slot into first position. I have to say that Bernard were on my tail till the end. And if Justin were a few years older and more mature in the strength that comes with age, he would have had us both wiping his dust from our faces.

It was unfortunate though not to have former champion Louis Smit compete as he was out due to an ankle injury suffered at last weekend’s Warrior Race. Hope you recover well over the holidays and come back fighting fit in 2018 to (literally) give us a run for our money again!

Well done to all who completed the Fish Eagle clash course(s) this weekend. I am also thankful to God for this year, for His grace and mercy keeping me in shape and intact as well. And I would also like to thank my friends, family and most of all my wife and trainer, Elzani Lotter, for the support in 2017. Looking forward to some rest and recovery the next few weeks and a hard-hitting, ass-kicking OCR year in 2018!

Fish Eagle Clash – Commander Challenge Podium standings:


1st Stefan Lotter
2nd Bernard van der Schyff
3rd Justin Landsberg

4th Pieter Brink

5th Conrad van der Schyff


1st Hanneke Dannhauser
2nd Mandie Landsberg
3rd Michelle Koch


 By Stefan Lotter

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