A Cracking Start In The Karkloof For 2023 Woolworths X TRI Series

by | Mar 27, 2023 | TRIATHLON, Events, Sports, Woolworths X TRI SERIES

Karkloof kicks of 2023 Woolworths X TRI, a series growing in popularity with well organised events on some of South Africa’s finest dams and trails!

If you were on our social media channels much this weekend you would’ve seen a lot of content from the Woolworths X TRI event in the Karkloof. Our journey with WW X TRI kicked off at the end of 2021, with their Western Cape event at Paul Cluver. We’ve since been around the country with them and landed up in the Karkloof for the second year this past Sunday.

We’re really pumped on being a part of this event series because it really hits on something close to home for us and that is encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the benefits and rewards of an active lifestyle! The Karkloof is also a special place for us, and many others. To see the entries for the X TRI here double after the first year in 2022 gets us so excited for the future! Read more about the Karkloof event below.

The WW X TRI event recap

The Woolworths X TRI powered by Imperial took place at the Karkloof Country Club yesterday, with serious athletes and fun runners alike taking part in a range of off-road triathlon and trail running events to raise funds for the Woolworths Trust, Woolworths’ charitable fund that supports a range of initiatives spanning education, sustainable small-scale farming, and food solutions to feed the hungry. 

The Woolworths X Tri Off Road Triathlon Took Placemat Karkloof Country Club
The Karkloof Country Club is a prime setting for the Woolworths X Tri Off Road Triathlon

With a festive atmosphere across all events, there was a Full and a Lite event for triathletes, with both individual and team entries, with two trail running distances to cater for those wanting to be part of the action without taking on all three disciplines.

Darryn Purtell from Umdloti, and Hayley Smith from Durban North, took the wins in the Individual Full event that comprised a 1000m dam swim, a 27 km technical mountain bike ride and a 12km trail run. Purtell finished in a time of 02:38:35, followed by Bradley Center (02:40:31) and Andre Booyens (02:45:07). Despite a nearly two minute gap between first and second, Purtell, who was racing for the first time in 2023, says it was not an easy win: “My swim went well though I was not out the water first, but I managed well on the technical mountain bike sections as that is my strength, so I was ahead when we transitioned to the run, and I just held my pace. I saw Brad in the last switchback and I could feel he was about to catch me, so I had to push to stay ahead.”

Amazing Cycling Trails At The Woolworths X Tri Off Road Triathlon In Karkloof
The Karkloof is well renowned for its mountain biking and running trails and the WW X Tri Off Road Triathlon makes extensive use of them!

In the Women’s race it was Hayley Smith who managed to comfortably win the women’s race, over six minutes ahead of Johandri Leicester (03:06:54). The pair were fifth and sixth overall. Karyn Southgate was the third female in a time of 02:10:42.

Hayley says she was surprised and very happy to take the win as it was her first proper off-road triathlon, as she specialises in mountain biking: “The swim is my weakest discipline so I had time to make up on the mountain bike, where I am strong, and I reeled them in a few hundred metres from the run transition. I was in second place for most of the run, but as we approached the waterfall on the downhill, I pushed hard and passed her, as I know these trails from mountain biking and I knew there was a big hill coming. This was a fantastic experience, it was so well organised and easy to set up at the transitions. It was nice to see families getting involved, and younger kids, everyone was out having a good time.”

Runners Competing At The Woolworths X Tri Off Road Triathlon In Karkloof
The runners lapped up the Karkloof’s forest trails on the 12 and 5 km trail runs!

The WW X TRI Lite is made up of a 400m dam swim, a much less technical 12km on the mountain bike, and a 5km trail run. Keith Storey was first in the Individual Lite competition (01:35:29), and the first woman in, Lauren Longo, was also the second athlete overall. (01:42:05).

The Run for Fun 12km trail run challenged runners in breathtaking surroundings, and the Run for Fun Lite, the 5km, saw a wide range of people of all ages take part.

While the Woolworths X TRI has a long history in the Western Cape, the event expanded into other provinces last year to form a series, and the KwaZulu-Natal edition is establishing itself as a popular event in the region, with entries doubling this year. The Karkloof Country Club is situated in the Karkloof Valley in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, about 12km from Howick, and their trails are renowned amongst mountain bikers and runners across the country.

Runners Start The Trail Run At The Woolworths X Tri Off Road Triathlon In Karkloof
With the addition of the 12 and 5 km trail runs, and the 3 km WALK4GOOD, there is something for every age and ambition to get excited about at this series!

Purtell won the inaugural Individual Full event last year as well, and he says: “The route was even better than last year. There was more technical singletrack on the bike and on the run it was more varied in that there was a lot of up and down rather than the one huge uphill we had last year. There was generally more forest singletrack. Everything went so smoothly, they really brought the vibe, it was bouncy and happy. I think this space is also excellent for kids, as parents can know that children are in a safe space and not out on the roads.”

2023 WW X TRI Event Dates

Buffelspoort (Gauteng / North West) – 10 September

Paul Cluver Family Wines (Western Cape) – 3 December

Find out more about the series here: wwxtri.co.za

Karkloof Woolworths X Tri Individual Results – Full


Darryn Purtell – 02:38:35

Bradley Venter – 02:40:31

Andre Booyens – 02:45:07


Hayley Smith – 02:57:13 (fifth overall)

Johandri Leicester – 03:06:54 (sixth overall)

Karyn Southgate – 02:10:42 (eighth overall) 

Karkloof Woolworths X Tri Team Results – Full


Tri-Lab 1 – 02:32:16

Howick Falcons – 02:32:41

Change a Life – 02:42:29


Trilab Ladies – 03:09:58 (7th team)

Tri-Lab 5 – 03:46:25 (13th team)

Ann-Marie Beneke – 04:08:00 (14th team) 


Risky Biscuits – 03:13:50 (eighth team)

Hectic My Bru – 03:15:15 (ninth team)

Local Legends – 03:28:28 (twelfth team)

Karkloof Woolworths X Tri Individual Results – Lite


Keith Storey – 01:35:29

Bernhardt Philip Herbst – 01:43:56 (third overall)

Shawn Meyer – 01:54:30 (fourth overall)


Lauren Longo – 01:42:05 (second overall)

Leigh Thomas – 02:00: 48 (fifth overall)

Jeanne-Louise Wiese – 02:02:58 (eighth overall) 

Karkloof Woolworths X Tri Team Results – Lite


Jay & Sons – 01:31:21 (second overall)

Tri-Lab 3 – 01:01:49:41 (fifth overall)


De Wijn Span – 01:54:41 (sixth overall)

Young Guns – school team – 02:1029 (seventh overall) 


R&R – 01:22:45 (first overall)

Tri-Lab 10 – 01:32:43 (third overall)

The Mullers – 01:34:27 (fourth overall)

Karkloof Woolworths X Tri Run for Fun – 12 km Trail


Sboniso Khoza – 01:04:48

Marc Nel – 01:12:53

Thobani Jule – 01:23:35


Dawn Mackay – 01:29:26 (fourth overall)

Taylor McNamara – 01:39:47 (fifth overall)

Zibuyile Ebony Mdluli – 01:39:47 (sixth overall)

Karkloof Woolworths X Tri Run for Fun Lite – 5 km Trail


Sandile Mkhize – 00:31:45

Liam Saunders – 00:35:30

Thubalihle Shabalala – 00:38:40


Michelle Hayter – 00:50:39

Charmaine Chelin – 00:50:39

Centia Conco – 00:54:14

View full results here

Event Coverage