John Burnett Insurance Brokers are very proud to be a headline sponsor for one of SA’s most talented extreme mountain bikers – Glenn Harrison at the Freedom Challenge 2014. Glenn’s goal this year is to win the Freedom Challenge; a super-extreme, unassisted mountain bike race covering 2 300km of isolated countryside, which ultimately ends in Paarl in the Cape before the cut-off date on 14 July.

We look forward to following Glenn Harrison’s race preparation and progress at glennharrison.co.za for this year’s Freedom Challenge Race, which kicks off on the 7th of June in Pietermaritzburg (mid-winter). Definitely not for the faint-hearted, the Freedom Challenge route follows the Freedom trail, which was launched as part of South Africa’s “10 Years of Freedom” celebrations.

A keen mountain-biker himself, Oliver Burnett, MD of John Burnett Insurance Brokers, had the good fortune of meeting Glenn on a 7-day ride from the Vaal to the KwaZulu Natal coast in late May 2012. Glenn was using the ride as his final training for his 2012 attempt at winning the race across South Africa, more commonly known as the Freedom Challenge.

The concept of the Freedom Challenge has always intrigued Oliver and spending time with Glenn only served to peak his interest even more. “The Freedom Challenge is a truly hardcore event, demanding a huge amount from anyone attempting to just finish it, never mind win it. It is tough, uncompromising and definitely does not take any prisoners,” says Oliver.

One of the things that impressed Oliver the most about Glenn is his ability to remain calm under extreme conditions – one of the most important attributes to be successful on the Freedom Challenge. “Something WILL happen, it is how you deal with it that is important. There is no room for arrogance or tantrums because nobody is listening and it is completely up to you to get yourself through,” explains Oliver.

Glenn unfortunately got ill very early on during his 2012 Freedom Challenge ride and had to withdraw. A long period of recuperation followed. It was at this point that John Burnett decided to get involved to assist Glenn build towards the ‘perfect’ race.

“For us it is a great fit with Glenn displaying all the qualities we as a business aspire to and the Freedom Challenge being an absolutely captivating South African adventure, with its cornerstone being that of giving back to the very communities the race travels through – in the form of the scholarship fund,” elaborates Oliver.

In the meantime, Martin Dreyer pushed the boundaries of what was possible in the 2012 race by breaking the record in an amazing neck and neck duel with Alex Harris. Jeanie Dreyer, Martin’s wife, then set a truly remarkable woman’s record in 2013 and finished in the third fastest time ever! These achievements have served to fuel Glenn’s ambitions for the race and made him re-think what is possible.

It is with huge excitement that John Burnett Insurance Brokers undertake this journey with Glenn and track his preparation for the race, then closely follow his progress during the 2014 Freedom Challenge.