Jeep Team South Africa is the most consistent Sports and Lifestyle Team in South Africa, providing a platform for athletes to grow, develop and mature to their fullest potential.
Over the past 16 years, over 300 of the country’s top athletes have been through Jeep Team with the aim to reach the pinnacle in their sport, building their individual brands, to gain meaningful recognition and sponsorship, to take them onto the world stage.
The newest addition to Jeep Team is Robyn Owen (née Kime), an adventure sport, canoeist and trail athlete. Owen joins Jeep Team SA as an Ambassador and Supported athlete, continuing her primary partnership with Best4Sports, and existing Jeep Team partner, Salomon SA.
Owen, who lives in Stellenbosch, has a Master’s degree in Water and Environmental Engineering, is currently working as a self-employed athlete, adventurer, tutor and mountain guide.
Owen has a strong athletic background on water and on foot, representing South Africa at World Championship level in canoeing, mountain running and adventure racing. She started off her athletic career with Jeep Team SA while still in school after being talent-spotted by Max Cluer (owner/manager Jeep Team SA)
Owen says on her career lift-off with Jeep Team SA, “Multisport and Jeep Team is where it all started for me – riding mountain bikes in the early mornings before school with Dad and Lance Kime (brother) and racing the odd run – bike – swim/paddle event on weekends. After a few such events, Max Cluer (owner/manager Jeep Team SA) spotted something in me and invited me to join Jeep Team, boosting my confidence as a young athlete and introducing me to the strange new world of competitive racing in the non-conventional off-road sports, and everything that goes with it. “
Since then, Owen has gone on to achieve noteworthy first-place finishes in paddling in the Fish River Canoe Marathon, Berg River Canoe Marathon, Breede River Canoe Marathon, Drak Challenge and 50 Miler Canoe Marathon, and significantly, is a 5-time winner and current female record holder of the Dusi Canoe Marathon.
Additional individual achievements comprise podium finishes at highly-contended South African trail running events such as the Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge, Old Fishermans Trail Challenge, Helderberg Extreme, Matroosberg Skymarathon and Lesotho Ultra Trail. Robyn’s sporting highlights also include the record-breaking win over the best trail athletes in the world, including American, Stevie Kremer, at the 2016 Otter Trail, a 42km marathon distance trail with four river crossings, over 2600 metres of elevation gain and 11 significant climbs.
From 2014 to 2016, Owen joined the Merrell Adventure Addicts, one of the world’s top Adventure Racing teams. During this period, the team moved up the Adventure Racing World Series rankings from 16th to 7th place. The Merrell Adventure Addicts achievements over this period include, in 2016, 3rd place at the Patagonian Expedition Race in Chile; in 2015, 2nd place at XPD in Australia, and 1st place at Expedition Africa in Swaziland in 2015.
Cementing her position as an individual world-class adventure racer, in February this year, Owen achieved 2nd female overall in the Kathmandu Coast to Coast World Multisport Championship in New Zealand. This race starts at Kumara Beach on New Zealand’s West Coast, traverses the width of the South Island crossing four stages, cycling 140km, kayaking 67km and running 36km, finishing on the East Coast in Christchurch. Owen finished the 243km race in 13:29:21 behind winner, Elina Ussher, in 13:11:39, with Hannah Wells in third in 13:50:35. Owen won both the fastest run and paddle trophies for this event.
Robyn Owen: “I later became a fervent paddler, forgetting about bikes and running shoes for a while; then a trail runner, and this is when I discovered mountain trails and travelled for a year without bike or boat, before Adventure Racing got me back onto a bike and shuffling disciplines again.”
Currently, Owen is a part of Sanlam Team Painted Wolf, an elite South African Adventure Racing team, which in November 2016, achieved a 4th place at the well-documented Adventure Racing World Championships in Australia.
In June, Owen will be leading a South African Youth Team, unsupported, in the Altay XTrail Expedition Race (Adventure Racing World Series). Her team will race across the 600km Altay Prefecture, located at the northern part of Xinjiang. To the northwest, it adjoins Kazakhstan and Russia; to the northeast, it adjoins Mongolia. The disciplines will be Trek/Run, Mountain Bike, Kayak, Ropes, and Navigation.
From 23 June to 15 July, Owen will be climbing, running and mountaineering the Alps and Dolomites, and in October, she will race the Otter Trail marathon 42km; in December, she will attempt the Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100 km, and then early February 2017, she will once again compete in the Kathmandu Coast to Coast World Multisport Championship in New Zealand, this time with more experience and gunning for the top spot.
“My re-partnering with Jeep Team SA, which has taken on different shapes over the years, closes a full circle of sorts and I am very excited about the new possibilities that it brings.”
Max Cluer: “We are delighted to have Robyn back in the team, and are super proud of her and her incredible achievements over the past few years. She is dynamic and very professional in her approach to her sport, and brings with her an incredible energy and loads of experience to share with athletes in the team. The Jeep Team has evolved substantially since she was last a member, and we are excited to grow with her and build her profile as an athlete and sports personality.”